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Krugmar
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Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:26 pm

And the Political map has been updated, with the NPCs for Northern Minilar added. I will be adding them to the OP to flesh them out as I update it, but feel free to ask me any questions about them. And of course to anybody thinking of applying, feel free to app for their territories, or multiple territories.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Rodez
Diplomat
 
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Founded: Oct 18, 2016
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Rodez » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:24 pm

Krugmar wrote:
Marzarbul wrote:-snip- Dwarves


Both apps accepted!

Benuty wrote:-snip- All of Benuty's Apps


Accepted!

Rodez wrote:-snip- Kallias and Fleet


Kallias accepted. Fleet accepted also, though I think the number of men in it will need to come down quite a bit.

Liecthenbourg wrote:-snip- some elves


Accepted.

How does 3,800 men sound? That’s down two thousand. War galleys require pretty hefty complements.
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Sraelyn
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Founded: Jan 02, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby Sraelyn » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:41 pm

I believe my app is missing from the map and the OP

Sraelyn wrote:

Essential Details

Name of Realm: The Wyrne Dominion | Wyrnetyr

Rulers: High Prince Urien Rhaenuhr – Ruler of the Dominion and head of High Kin Rhaenuhr. The High Prince is technically elected by and from the Princes of the High Kin to rule over the Dominion as a whole until it’s death, however the title has been firmly held by the Princes of the Great Kin Rhaenuhr for over 140 years. The High Prince has the authority to place taxes, declare war, request soldiers and levies from the Kin, and enforce the law to an extent, but the Princes are overall quite autonomous in the way they rule their territories.
Prince Eurig Marthen – Head of High Kin Marthen
Prince Andras Cymaron – Head of High Kin Cymaron
Siors Hier – Grandmaster of The Red Carvers

Cultures and Races:
Wyrne: The Wyrne are the dominant culture in the Dominion. This highly militaristic society displays hostility towards non-human races and weariness towards strangers. So far they have kept themselves as a fairly homogeneous people, most of them having pale skin combined with dark eyes and hair.

Society in the Dominion is separated into three strata, slaves, free men, and members of a Kin. Slaves are generally prisoners of war, taken from the continuous skirmishes and campaigns against the Arall tribes. Free men belong to no Kin, and most of them work the land in service of one, while a minority works in the cities or owns a plot of land of their own. Kin are the basic form of organization in the Dominion, there are 64 Kin plus the 7 High Kin in Wyrnetyr, with every Prince having a few Kin within their domains. A person can belong to a Kin by birth or be brought into one after performing a ritual known as Communion, gaining the rights of any other Kin member.

Wyrne are rather practical in nature, a trait that is seen in their architecture and clothing being mostly functional. The only exception to this would be the renowned pieces of elaborate silverwork, used both for religious purposes and as a way to show belonging to a specific Kin. Other details include, having a diet heavily centered around meat, the great value as a status symbol given to Aderyn birds by the Kin, their nearly fanatical adherence to Bloodpacts and their obsession with ritually executing their enemies by bleeding them out alive and ritually drinking, then boiling, their blood.

Arall: This is the name given to the collection of tribes native to the region where the Dominion stands today. Most Arall within the Dominion are slaves, taken when their respective tribes were conquered, with a smaller amount of them being free men. Most Arall tribes worshiped a pantheon of gods led by Queikar, something still done by the unsubdued tribes, but those within the Dominion have been forcefully converted and made to assimilate into Wyrne culture and speak the language.

Religion: “The holy scriptures of Gwaed and it’s secrets as told by the Ceisiwr of the Cysguduw”, also simply known as “The scriptures of Gwaed”, is the core text of the religion followed in Wyrne, the Cult of Gwaed. The scriptures were written by The True Prince Rhys, in accordance to the wisdom given to him by the Ceisiwr or 'seekers'. According to the texts, Cysguduw the first being, created the universe and the Ceisiwr to keep him company, and gave mankind their blood essence or Gwaed to make them different from the beasts. For eons Cysguduw watched over his creations and saw them grow until one day he mysteriously vanished, the Ceisiwr took it upon themselves to find him, yet the world suffered with no one to look after it. In Rhys’ visions, the Ceisiwr claimed to have founded the creator in a deep slumber, and asked for offering of Gwaed in order to reawaken him.

Some of the most important beliefs of the Cult of Gwaed are the following:
The sins against the blood, such as incest or killing a fellow Kin member are considered specially heinous.
Gwaed can be returned to the Cysguduw by a ritual process of bleeding out a person and burning their blood, so that its essence may return to him.
Communion is a ritual in which blood from the head of a Kin is poured into the open wound of another person. With the Gwaed of the Kin coursing now through them they will be considered as part of the Kin for the remainder of their life.
Bloodpact is a sacred and binding way to perform contracts and oaths. In it, both parties will cut into their hand and mix their blood with the others, then proceed to sign and seal the contract, and lastly drink half of he remaining blood each. This act signifies the commitment to it, as their Gwaed is both in the contract and inside the other person. Breaking a blood pact is one of the worst offences, and most Wyrne will go to great lengths to recover their lost Gwaed from the other person.

History:
All historical records within the Dominion begin with the arrival of the True Prince Rhys to Wyrnetyr, claiming that there is no history of Wyrnetyr before the Wyrne. In the same fashion, all mentions to their origin or the True Prince's past or previous name have been long purged from all records and accounts.

The Conquest
A noble from a realm afar, the True Prince began it’s voyage to Wyrnetyr after hearing voices that commanded him to set sail South if he wished to avoid his demise, and so he did. Gathering all the loyal men he could, he assembled a rudimentary fleet and embarked towards an unknown destiny, sure that he was hearing the voices of he gods. After a long journey through the increasingly cold waters, and nearly out of supplies, they came unto a the shores off a peninsula with a suitable landing place and arable land. There, the Prince announced to his men that they had arrived at the land he heard about where they would grow and prosper.

Soon thereafter they made contact with one of the tribes inhabiting the area, which was promptly subdued. With his small yet superior forces, the Prince occupied the tribe's small settlement, forcing the remaining members to accept his rule in exchange of their lives, erecting fortifications with what they salvaged from the ships, and would later become Kairgwyn.

During the following years, the Prince would contact the rest of the native groups, which would be known to the Wyrne as the Arall tribes, and demand they surrender to him. If they refused, they would be forcefully conquered, their men enslaved, and their women taken. Yet if they accepted, they would be allowed to remain mostly free, be granted riches, and their tribal enemies would be crushed.

The Prince scored victory after victory against those that dared oppose him, his domain growing and his army swelling each year. The remaining multitude of tribes that had yet to be on the warpath of him, decided to put and end to their continuous fighting, and formed an unholy alliance against the invaders from the sea. This new coalition managed to beat him in the field, and started to retake the land they had lost.

Now as the loosing side, and many of the conquered tribes on the brink of rebellion, the realm they had build was suddenly on the verge of total collapse. Yet, as their fall looked ever closer and their enemies marched on to Kairgwyn, the Prince started hearing the voices once again, and was led into a cave complex where he remained on his own for three days. Upon his return he spoke of the visions he received, he imparted to his followers the wisdom he was given by the Ceisiwr, messengers of Cysguduw the slumbering creator. The taught his men about Gwaed, made Communion with his closest followers, and named himself Rhys Mawrdyn, casting aside his old one, as he promised a great victory for them on the following days.

Mustering all their remaining forces, they readied for a last stand at Kairgwyn. After a long, grueling battle where hey were severely outnumbered, they managed to emerge triumphant. Victorious yet greatly weakened, they turned their attention inwards, securing their territory and rule, while developing their settlements. Rhys declared himself Prince, only second to Cysguduw, and that from now on they would be called Wyrne and their new land Wyrnetyr, and compelling his followers to leave behind any memory of their previous lives.

Principality of Wyrnetyr
The descendants of Rhys continue consolidating the realm and expanding across the shores, valleys and rivers, this period was marked by the process of transitioning their subjects from their tribal society. To better do this, the families that originally came with The Prince and performed the Communion were given their own territory to rule and aristocratic privileges in exchange of developing the land that they are given, thus beginning the Kin system. Although skirmishes against the Arall coalition continued, there was no open war, and as such, the alliance slowly broke apart as the tribes began warring amongst eachother once more. Overall, the realm developed rapidly as new settlements were created, the new language grew in popularity, and the Red Carvers were established, first to record Bloodpacts and then knowledge in general.

The Age of Princes
117 years after first landing on what would be Wyrnetyr, the last male descendant of Prince Rhys Mawrdyn, Aeron, dies childless from a seizure. The Kin found themselves unable to agree on a successor, and eventually the Princedom fractured into a myriad of small warring territories, all vying for power and claiming to be the rightful Prince of the Wyrne. The realm entered a long period of infighting, famine, and overall decline as the Arall tribes, although no longer united, pushed the Wyrne back to their core lands. From this period emerged eight Princes, who collectivelly managed to subdue most of the others and carved up the realm amongst them. These six Prices would each become the head of one a High kin, in contrast to the lower kin that were now subjects to them.

The Wyrrne Dominion
After 23 years of infighting, Prince Gawain Marthen managed to gather the Princes of the other seven High Kin. Through alliances, persuasion, and threat of force, he was able to convince them into electing him as High Prince, unifying the realm once again under the Dominion, and stoppping the brunt of the fighting ravaging Wyrnetyr. In exchange for their loyalty and armies to push back the Arall incursions, the Princes were given virtually free reign to rule their lands as they pleased.

Rhaenuhr Consolidation
144 years before the present, Arwel Rhaenuhr the Great is elected as High Prince and throughout his rule and those of his descendants, begins a process of slow centralization of power into the position of the High Prince. Gradually, the autonomy of the Princes is reduced, while greatly pressuring them to stop their occasionally petty fighting, and focusing it on the development of the somewhat backwards realm.

Dominion Ascendant
The consolidation of power being a great success, High Kin Rhaenuhr transformed the position of High Prince into a de facto hereditary title, as the Dominion entered a golden age of rapid growth and renewed prosperity. At the beginning of his reign, High Prince Urien Rhaenuhr launches the Southern Campaign, an intermittent war on the remaining, and much weakened, Arall tribes. The objective of which, was to push them further south every year, out of he forests and into the steppes. All the while settling the land conquered, taking slaves, and erradicating the Arall threat once and for all.


Assets


Notable Cities:
Kairgwyn (capital)
Talgarth
Nargarth
Penrhyn
Lanharbwr

Economy: The Dominion’s economy is mostly a self sufficient one, and trade with other realms is of a limited nature, although this has begun to change in the recent years. On the northern parts of the country, wheat and barley are common produce, along with fish, cattle, and salt. Meanwhile, the southern regions are more oriented towards producing timber, mining iron and silver, and herding sheep and goats. Wyrnetyr's manufacturing revolves around either the capital or one of the three largest cities, although their quality is mostly just functional. What trade they do have often revolves around selling slave and their renowned pieces of elaborate silverwork.

Population: 3.8 million, including 400000 slaves


Military


Command: The armies of the Dominion led by either the High Prince, or one of the Princes from the other High Kin. Each Kin is expected to maintain and train it’s own small standing army in times of peace, and bring their banners and corresponding levies when called for war. Currently, they are generally lead by Prince Eurig Marthen.

Strength: The army of Wyrnetyr is formed by the combined standing armies of the Kin, plus all the levied men across the Dominion. Under normal circumstances, this can amount to 8 men from the various Kins, plus and additional 26000 levied men. In addition, between all the Kin, there are about 1200 Reidiwr, elite soldiers that fight atop their Aderyn mounts both on land sky. They are armed with a spear, a shield, a sword, and a couple of javelins, and are mainly deployed for skirmishes or to deal a finishing blow and create a rout.


Diplomatic Relations

Interests: Pacification of their territories and further expansion.

Rivals: The remaining Arall tribes.


Other Information

Location:(Image)



Essential Details


Name of House: High Kin Rhaenuhr

Leader: High Prince Urien Rhaenuhr

Family Members:
Nerys Marthen (wife)
Leolin Rhaenuhr (son)
Aeron Rhaenuhr (son)
Vaughn Rhaenuhr (son)
Eirian Rhaenuhr (daughter)
Eifion Rhaenuhr (brother)

History: The recorded history of High Kin Rhaenuhr begins with the Prince Rhys's conquest, as some of the original followers that arrived on Wyrnetyr with him. For their service they were granted their own territory to rule in the northwest, and where they’ve built castle Rhayadar during the Princedom.

During the Age of Princes, High Kin Rhaenuhr managed to assert their dominance over the nearby Kin, and remain influential. Although not the most powerful militarily during this era, their fertile lands, shrewd management, and rulership over the growing city of Nargarth, gave them the economic power to keep their enemies at bay.

They were one of the main proponents for the reunification of Wyrnetyr under Gawain Marthen, and held great sway in the election of the High Princes thereafter, remaining mostly as key players and rarely in the spotlight. It was with Prince Arwel the Great that things would become to change, he managed to get himself elected as High Prince at a young age, and began the process of centralization that would bring High Kin Rhaenuhr to he forefront of power. Before him, the High Prince had little power outside of the territory that he directly ruled over, and any sort of central administration has almost non-existent. During his reign he would continuously wrestle power away from the Princes through concessions and political maneuvering, something that his successors would follow upon.

Presently, High Kin Rhaenuhr has secured their position as High Princes due to their good governance and influence. The current head, Urien, is ruling during an unprecedented golden age of progress and expansion, while having three strong sons to carry on his legacy. Hopefully, they will be able to resolve their brotherly rivalry before it escalates any further.


Assets

Home: Kairgwyn (Capital of Wyrnetyr)

Fiefs:
Rhayadar Castle (Ancestral Home)
Nargarth (City)

Retinue: They have a standing army of 1400 plus an additional 300 Reidiwr, and can levy up to an additional 8000 men in their territories.



Essential Details

Name of Organization: The Red Carvers

Leader(s): Siors Heir

Description: The Red Carvers started as an organization meant to spread the knowledge of Gwaed as well as to keep track of Bloodpacts, which would be carved into stone tablets, and to master the crafts of magic. However, with the passing years have also taken scholarly aspects, gathering and preserving knowledge, advising Princes and Kin on Religious and academic subjects, as a place of magic training, and even apprehending and passing judgement to those who attempt against Gwaed. The Red Carvers do not actively participate in most wars in a combat manner, instead fulfilling mostly religious tasks.

All people that display magic potential are heavily pressured to join the Red Carvers, where they focus on Conjuration, Evocation and Haematurgy magic. So far, they have chosen to remain aside from both the Convocation and the Colegiate, but their presence in Wyrnetyr is tolerated.

Assets: Gardgarreg, a large fortified estate known for its large garden of massive stone pillars which serves as a carved library, with history, knowledge, and the most important Bloodpacts to have happened carved on them.

Strength: 800 Red Keepers, a force of warriors/scholars/priests/sorcerers, that operate and guard Gardgarreg as well as smaller estates across the Dominion, and hunt down those who have greatly sinned against the Gwaed.

Relations: Loyal to the Dominion and nominally to the High Prince.



Essential Details

Name of Creature: Aderyn

Appearance: (Image)

Description: Aderyn are large, bird-like creatures native to the area that can reach 2,5 meters in height, 3,5 meters in length and are capable or carrying a person on their back both while flying and on the ground due to their powerful legs and large wingspan. They can live up to 80 years, generally lay three eggs at the start of summer each year, and hunt by swooping down or pouncing on their prey with their deadly talons and strong beaks. Aderyn are known for their terrifying screeches, speed and power, yet are rather susceptible to blunt attacks due to their fragile bones.

Location: Southeastern areas of South Minilar.



Essential Details

Name: Aelor Rhaenuhr

Appearance: (Image)

Age: 22

Gender: Male


Legacy

Allegiance: High Prince Urien Rhaenuhr and his Kin

Profession: Noble, Reidiwr, Military Commander

Background: Aelor Rhaenuhr is the second son of High Prince Urien Rhaenuhr and his second wife Nerys Marthen. He was raised with his siblings at Rhayadar castle, the Ancestral home of Great Kin Rhaenuhr, and is where he would start developing what would be a long lasting rivarly with his older half-brother. Leonis is the heir to the Kin and the position of High Prince, and born to his father’s first wife, Ceinwen Cymaron, and is known to be a charming, kind and brave young man, as well as an accomplished warrior and statesman.
What appeared like a blessing in the form of a perfect son and heir to their father, felt like a curse to Aelor, who grew under the ever-present shadow of Leonis, always being bested by him, even for the their father’s affection. This somewhat soured the relation between Aelor and his father as he felt he simply could not compete, instead taking refuge with his mother with whom he became close and they were rather similar, both in appearance and personality.
During the following years he would start vigorously training in order to become a warrior and reidiwr, whom he greatly idolized, as well as developing great interest in the Cult of Gwaed. Once he turned 16, he started accompanying his uncle, Prince Eurig Marthen, who become a sort of mentor for him, personally taught him how to command units in the field, and how to master riding Aderyn.
Currently he is once again campaigning in the West, next to his Uncle and his close friend Prince Delwin Nyth


Beliefs

Religion: Cult of Gwaed and the True Prince Rhys

Motivation: To see the Dominion prosper and grow, defeating his older brother Lionis, enhancing his Gwaed, and to crush the rebellious Arall tribes.


Inventory


Items: Spear, longsword, shield, chainmail and gambeson

Skills: Great Aderyn rider, good fighter and commander, decent singer.

Magical Ability: No


Added a character and modified the organisation a bit, although the rest was accepted.
I can change the name of the nation if having two realms calling themselves The Dominion is an issue.
That God's name is Abraxas

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Elerian
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 11347
Founded: Aug 31, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby Elerian » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:47 pm

What's the stance on slavery in the world? I think I've only seen one nation with slaves so far.

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Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States
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Founded: Feb 20, 2012
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Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:47 am

Elerian wrote:What's the stance on slavery in the world? I think I've only seen one nation with slaves so far.

Jovhak Tor-La has slaves, but you might be referring to them.
The name's James. James Usari. Well, my name is not actually James Usari, so don't bother actually looking it up, but it'll do for now.

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Krugmar
Minister
 
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Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:41 am

Sraelyn wrote:-snip- apps
Added a character and modified the organisation a bit, although the rest was accepted.
I can change the name of the nation if having two realms calling themselves The Dominion is an issue.


Ah my mistake, will add them.

No that's fine, only the same as having multiple kingdoms, duchies, etc.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Sarderia
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Founded: Jun 26, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Sarderia » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:28 pm

Krugmar wrote:And the Political map has been updated, with the NPCs for Northern Minilar added. I will be adding them to the OP to flesh them out as I update it, but feel free to ask me any questions about them. And of course to anybody thinking of applying, feel free to app for their territories, or multiple territories.

Things are looking rather interesting for russia the Kniazite League and the southern states.. I'll drop a post probably on the weekend.

Also by the way because there are no NPCs on the remaining continents, could I make a post about sending a merchant expedition, probably to found a colonial/trading outpost down south?
    So comrades, come rally,
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Krugmar
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Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:26 pm

Sarderia wrote:Things are looking rather interesting for russia the Kniazite League and the southern states.. I'll drop a post probably on the weekend.

Also by the way because there are no NPCs on the remaining continents, could I make a post about sending a merchant expedition, probably to found a colonial/trading outpost down south?


Well further NPCs will be added for those continents, likely this weekend. However I don't see why not, as long as there are references to the idea that states do exist there.

Also not sure if you noticed but I gave the League an enclave down south-west already, though it's quite difficult to make out.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Reverend Norv
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:14 am

I believe Kerwick and the Mootland are NPCs; could I reserve them for a nation of my own? I am thinking of a classic sort of border-march society, closely culturally tied to the Ajakir on the other side of the border, and centered on the high moorland south of the Balor Mountains. Their land - save for exceptionally high-quality iron - is quite poor, but they have stubbornly defended it against Nekhur since the Eighteenth Dynasty, using the finest cavalry in northern Minilar. They regard themselves, with some justification, as the shield of the other Southron realms. That identity is clearly about to be tested as never before.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
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Krugmar
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Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:04 am

Reverend Norv wrote:I believe Kerwick and the Mootland are NPCs; could I reserve them for a nation of my own? I am thinking of a classic sort of border-march society, closely culturally tied to the Ajakir on the other side of the border, and centered on the high moorland south of the Balor Mountains. Their land - save for exceptionally high-quality iron - is quite poor, but they have stubbornly defended it against Nekhur since the Eighteenth Dynasty, using the finest cavalry in northern Minilar. They regard themselves, with some justification, as the shield of the other Southron realms. That identity is clearly about to be tested as never before.


Certainly, that pretty much aligned with the loose ideas I had for the NPC so it's perfect.

The original idea for the Mootland was a fertile Halfling land which had been carved up between Tervain, Kerwick, Valamir, and Serebyan, with Kerwick taking the largest chunk. You're free to scrap that however, just let me know if you do.
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Reverend Norv
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:10 am

Krugmar wrote:
Reverend Norv wrote:I believe Kerwick and the Mootland are NPCs; could I reserve them for a nation of my own? I am thinking of a classic sort of border-march society, closely culturally tied to the Ajakir on the other side of the border, and centered on the high moorland south of the Balor Mountains. Their land - save for exceptionally high-quality iron - is quite poor, but they have stubbornly defended it against Nekhur since the Eighteenth Dynasty, using the finest cavalry in northern Minilar. They regard themselves, with some justification, as the shield of the other Southron realms. That identity is clearly about to be tested as never before.


Certainly, that pretty much aligned with the loose ideas I had for the NPC so it's perfect.

The original idea for the Mootland was a fertile Halfling land which had been carved up between Tervain, Kerwick, Valamir, and Serebyan, with Kerwick taking the largest chunk. You're free to scrap that however, just let me know if you do.


I like the notion. I think I will keep it, with my country serving in the role of a sort of paramount protective power for the whole of the Mootland, but allowing other southern realms to retain claims of different kinds. It's not going to be a particularly fertile or prosperous country, so it would make sense to form a symbiotic relationship with a more enterprising community.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:45 pm

Making steady progress on the app. I will leave the halflings of the Mootland a little undefined, since I'd be happy to work from whatever notes you have for them.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:03 pm

All finished!


Essential Details

Name of Realm: Generally simply called the Ironmark. More formally the March of Ealliren (lit. all-iron). Colloquially, in northern Minilar on both sides of the border, simply called the March or the Mark. Residents are Markers or Marchers.

Rulers: The Warden of the Mark is Aedelfrid Brandling. The Warden is an elected monarch, chosen by the Eórodmot. This is an assembly of all the Eórodain, adult male Markers capable of supplying their own lance, bow, cuirass, and hwiða. It meets every five years, or upon the death of the Warden. The Warden's responsibility is to organize and lead the Ironmark in wartime, to coordinate its foreign relations, to protect domestic minorities like dwarves and halflings, and to oversee the Forge of Colborn. All other responsibilities of government administration are in the hands of the Witangemot, a smaller deliberative body of wise men, priests, old war leaders and other dignitaries who are chosen by the Eórodmot. It does must of the practical lawmaking. The Eórodmot must itself agree to all taxes every five years, and can, when in session, absolutely overrule either the Warden or the Witangamot. In an ultimate sense, therefore, the Mark is a kind of democracy, and this principle - the sovereignty and individual equality of the Eórodain - is known as the Uncéas: the oath-pact that creates the polity.

Cultures and Races:
The dominant culture of the Ironmark is the Aðadain, whose name in most of Minilar is simply the Markers. They are close cultural kin to the Ajakir on the other side of the Nekhur border - indeed, their name is almost identical save for differences of pronunciation and a different collective suffix - and share many features with their estranged kin. They are, both men and women, a generally tall and muscular people, strong-boned and imposing. They tend to be pale, with dark hair and blue or green eyes. Like the Ajakir, too, they are traditionally a warrior culture, with traditions of honor and discipline and loyalty that go back millennia.

Centuries of resistance to Nekhur have honed this tradition into something very close to a totalizing identity: the paradigm of Aðad-ness is the eórod, the armored horseman mounted on a hwiða, possessed of enough cunning to outwit a Kisharite general, enough toughness to outfight a Balorene barbarian, and enough self-sacrificial courage to face down a legion of Nasaru alone. For every Aðad boy, training in tactics and horsemanship, the sword and the lance and the bow, begins early in childhood. The result of this cultural militarization is a tremendously rich reservoir of cultural wisdom concerning warfare, but a relatively poorer artistic tradition, and one in which women are distinctly excluded from the central locus of power and respect.

This has given Markers their reputation both as the continent's military elite, and as semi-literate horse people. The latter is only half-true; for generations, ironically, many of the Mark's more prosperous families have sent their children to study in Nekhur as young men and women, and the Aðadain likely have more insight into Nekhur culture than any other Southrons. Aðadain even appreciate art, culture, and sophistication all the more for their sense that they have somehow failed in these areas. Still, they are proud of their warrior tradition, and they are proud of their unique egalitarianism: of the Uncéas, the collective vow of a self-governing people to defend their homeland to the end.

The Ironmark has two important minorities. One is the dwarves of the southern Balor Mountains. This community dates back more than a thousand years, and has formed - among the Folk of Devara - a uniquely close bond with their human neighbors. From the Balorian dwarves, the Aðadain acquired their runic script, their fantastic ability to work steel, and much of their love of sagas and melodrama. From the Aðadain, the dwarves received military protection, a respected access point for the commerce of northern Minilar, and control of the Forge of Colborn - the central arms and armor manufactory of the Mark, fed by volcanic fire and legendary for both the quality and quantity of its output. The dwarven community retains a high level of self-government, and the Warden of the Mark swears an oath to protect its rights. Perhaps the relationship is best illustrated by the honorary title traditionally awarded any dwarf by any Aðad: "elder brother."

Finally, the halflings of the Mootland are a relatively more recent addition to the Ironmark. Over the last two hundred years, as the Wardens have extended their protection - and imperfect control - over the rich farmland of the Mootland, halfling traders have become a more common sight throughout the freeholds and ranches of the March. Industrious both in trade and agriculture, with a long tradition of argument rather than of warfare, possessed of a cultural sprightliness and irony that evades but delights the honor-bound Aðadain, they have benefited from the tradition of tolerance engendered by the Mark's long reliance on its dwarvish population. In fact, as many Aðadain are aware, it is the halflings who account for most of the Ironmark's agricultural output, and the dwarves who account for most of its industrial output. It is the nonhumans' economic excellence that allow the Aðadain to focus so intently on military excellence, and thereby to hold the northern menace at bay.


Religion: Both dwarves and halflings follow their own traditional faiths. The Aðadain religion is known as Ymbren. Transcribed using the dwarven-derived runic script and strongly influenced by dwarven monotheism, Ymbren emphasizes a single unnamed God. It is broadly pantheistic, for God is present in all life, and life is defined as anything that moves: wind, water, animals and plants. The supreme mobility of the hwiðas, their grace in motion, is what makes these horse-kings sacred. But all that lives must die: plants wither, animals perish, water dries out, wind blows no more. And so God is constantly dying, and constantly being reborn. This experience - hope and loss, each inevitable - defines Ymbren spirituality; to be close to God is not to "live forever," but to be ever oscillating between life and death. He who can do this without fear, with honor and clarity and charity, will upon death become one with God, to live and die forever in some exalted state where both are equally welcome, and equally sacred. Ymbren churches are community-run, and their priests frequently lack much formal training; the faith is only a few steps removed from a folk religion. But many an eórod has whispered Ymbren's most ancient prayer moments before a violent end: "God, flow with me into dark. Flow with me into light."

History:
The Ironmark's prehistory is longer than its history. Some time in the immediate aftermath of the Dragonwake, Kisharite records first make mention of the Ajakir/Aðadain: a tall, fair people whose warrior tradition, even then, was well-established. In the chaos of that time, they moved into the area around the Balor mountains, probably after having been gradually displaced by the Talassians to the west. After a series of bitter wars against the ancestors of the modern Balorenes, the newcomers succeeded in driving the Balorenes back into the highest mountains, and settled down to a meager existence herding goats and cattle in the high moorland of the foothills.

At this time, the proto-Aðadain made a hugely significant discovery that would set them on a different trajectory from their northern kinfolk: the hwiðas, kings among horses. This subspecies - endemic to the southern Balor highlands - possessed speed, stamina, beauty, strength, and most of all intelligence far in excess of the average horse, so much so that scholars have generally agreed that their very existence is explicable only by reference to some ancient magic. It is as fair to say that the hwiðas created Aðad society as it is to say that the Aðadain remade themselves by discovering the hwiðas. From the hwiðas, the Aðadain learned new ways to herd and to wage war - for a horse that can intellectually understand its rider's intent, and act accordingly, is among the most powerful battlefield weapons imaginable. From their new companions' grace, the Aðadain even deduced the experiential basis of the Ymbren faith.

The arrival of Dwarven refugees from Dirovar added the last main element to the Aðadain's cultural evolution. Marveling at the craft and skill of these newcomers, the Aðadain permitted them to settle in the southern Balor foothills, and to build a city there under the mountains. They even committed to protecting this city from the Balorenes, and from their own northern Ajakir kin. There, in the new city of Colborn, the dwarves too made two crucial discoveries. First, they found vast iron deposits. Iron is among the most common of metals, to be sure, but this was special: natively intermingled with other minerals, like chromium and vanadium, that made the iron uniquely suitable for smelting into exceedingly hard, high-quality steel. And the dwarves also found a volcanic hotspot, where extreme heat from the core of the Earth made possible industrial-scale metal manufacturing without the need for an industrial-scale supply of charcoal. Thus was born the famous Forge of Colborn.

The next century, while nobody really noticed it at the time, marked the birth of the Ironmark as it exists today. From the dwarves, the Aðadain learned writing, and refined their religion, and gained tremendous facility with metalworking - though in this, they never quite matched the elder brethren. Numerous and confident, they spread out across the moorland, using their peerless steel and horses to raid steadily in every direction, and expanding their cattle herds. Aðadain society turned increasingly hierarchical, with traditional clan arrangements hardening into annual tithes of livestock and steel to quasi-feudal lords. They were well on their way to becoming yet another Southron principality.

The Mark was saved from this, ironically enough, by the arrival of its great historical enemy: the modern empire of Nekhur. The renaissance of Kishar under the Eighteenth Dynasty put an end to centuries of chaos in the north, and for the first time subdued the Ajakir beneath the banner of the bull: imposing a border where previously Aðadain and Ajakir had been divided by culture and religion, but still spoken mutually intelligible languages and thought of each other as brothers gone astray. Seeing no reason to stop halfway, Emperor Tar-Ninurta pressed on south of the Balor Mountains with an army of seventy thousand men. After two crushing defeats, Aðadain society collapsed almost overnight.

At this moment, a young commander - known to Ironmark oral history as Brand Brandling [lit. Sword Sword-son] rose to prominence as the leader of a company of horsemen who had achieved some of the Aðadain's few victories. He had trained his riders and their hwiðas to a unique level: they were equally effective with recurve bows from a distance, with the couched lance at a charge, and with the sword in a swirling melee. This versatility allowed them to outmaneuver, split up, and destroy much larger Nekhur forces. Brand commended this way of war to the council of the clan elders, but he did not stop there. He also asserted that only as free men, equal before God in life and death and life returned, could the Aðadain hope to triumph over such long odds.

According to legend, the council was so moved by Brand's words that each man swore that henceforth, he would exercise no power save by the consent of those men whose blood was shed for the defense of their common homeland. Upon hearing this, the warriors outside the command tent made their own oath in return: that so long as their rights were held equal, and their leaders served at their will, they would die to a man before they fled the field. This mutual oath-giving was the Uncéas: the fundamental constitutional compact that created the Ironmark as a polity, the foundation of its stratocratic/democratic system.

Over the next five years, Brand Brandling revolutionized the training and equipment of the Mark's riders, combining three crucial advantages: arms and armor from the Forge of Colborn, the extraordinary abilities of the hwiða, and the training of the eórod - the armored medium cavalry equally adept with bow, lance, and sword. At the Battle of Beckesford, eleven thousand eórodain defeated sixty-eight thousand Nekhur troops, including twenty thousand Nasaru. It was the worst defeat the Eighteenth Dynasty ever suffered, and contributed directly to its fall. Tar-Ninurta, as he watched his troops flee, remarked: "This nation is made of iron." The new polity created by the Uncéas had its new name: the Ironmark. And it had its new purpose: the vastly outnumbered guardian, standing in the breach, of the Southron lands against the superpower to the north.

The subsequent eight hundred years have not changed that fundamental identity. The Ironmark has fought seventeen wars, large and small, with Nekhur - along with essentially constant raiding in between. The Mark claims, reasonably, to have won all of them, on the grounds that it still exists. Nekhur, equally reasonably, characterizes all of the conflicts as draws. The eórodain's battlefield record, in either case, is unimpeachable. In the last two hundred years, the Mark has also fought three wars with Tervain and three with Valamir. These, almost everyone admits that the Ironmark won, and their prize for military success (albeit only on land) has been control of the Mootland: the long-disputed, highly fertile halfling lands that are now functionally a protectorate of the Wardens. At home, the ritual oaths of the Uncéas have stabilized - at the cost of two major civil wars, but only two - into hallowed institutions: the elected Wardens, the Witangemot of the elders, and the final voice of the Eórodmot.

In the tense way of borders everywhere, the Markers have continued to raid their neighbors even as they learn from them. Dwarvish craft, Aðadain traditions, and the divine gift of the hwiða have all contributed to almost a millennium of military tradition, which no Southron lord or Nekhur tyrant challenges lightly. But Marker students, clad in the leather and steel of their people, are a common sight at great Nekhur universities, and as far afield as the cities of the Kniazite League. Like most borderlands, the March is both a backwater and a ferment of cultural contact and accommodation, somehow at the same time.

Over the last ten years, Warden Aedelfrid - widely considered a weak man, a compromise political choice made by a divided Eórodmot - has temporized over renewed aggression from the north. He made no move to challenge Nekhur's war on Seher, or its suzerainty over the tribes of the Balor - though local leaders in the northern Mark have cheerfully continued raiding the mountain barbarians anyway. Aedelfrid did send eórod advisers and a limited quantity of Colborn steel arms to support the Imbro-Tervine war effort, and these may have made the difference at the Battle of Varla and, more recently, the Battle of Torrel. But it has escaped no one's notice that the fall of Tervain leaves the Mark's eastern flank exposed as never before, and an increasing number of influential voices warn that the Markers cannot afford to wait: that the eórodain must ride again, once more - while they still can...



Assets


Notable Cities: The Markers, in general, are not a city-dwelling people. Traditionally pastoral, the Aðadain continue to live overwhelmingly on small homesteads and ranches, in extended clan systems, deriving their wealth from cattle, sheep, and goats. The halflings, too, prefer small agricultural communities. And so the Ironmark has only two major cities:

  • Ethandune is the capital city of the Ironmark, and the seat of the Wardens. It is located toward the center of the Mark, north of the headwaters of the rivers of Severa. It is, by most standards, a fairly poor and mean place: about fifteen thousand people in a sprawling complex of wooden buildings, livestock sheds, and stables, protected by a few ramshackle palisades. Ethandune lies on a gently sloping moorland hill, and at the top is a large wooden mead-hall with an impressive stone tower attached, from which one can see for many miles. This is the Warden's headquarters, where he can entertain his eorls and shore up support among the eórodain - though even the Warden is expected to spend most of the year in the saddle. Ethandune's main virtues are a large market, which is lively and bustling, and the omnipresence of music: the city is as close as the Mark comes to an artistic center.

  • Colborn is the one truly great city of the Ironmark. Built by the dwarves a thousand years ago in the foothills of the Balor Mountains, it now lies just twenty-eight leagues from the border with Nekhur. It is a spectacular underground city housing more than a hundred thousand of the Folk of Devara in neighborhoods carved into the living rock, with their own shops, schools, and granaries. Beneath it lie the richest iron mines in northern Minilar, perfect for the production of world-class steel. And deep in the city's heart is the Forge of Colborn: fed by the heat of a volcanic hotspot, capable of producing a million pieces of arms and armor a year through manufacturing practices honed for the last millennium. The acquisition of Colborn-forged arms, whether by wealth or by valor, is part of what qualifies a man to be an eórod. The forge is central to the Ironmark's identity and political order, and its defense is the one non-negotiable strategic imperative of the realm.

Economy: The Ironmark is not an economic powerhouse. Its military prowess has been achieved largely by outsourcing economic activity to the dwarven and halfling communities. The latter feeds the country; the former keeps it supplied with manufactured goods. This leaves the Aðadain free to train their children for war, and to keep themselves in fighting shape by maintaining large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. The result is an economy in which most families can eat meat several times a week, and the people grow large and strong - but imported goods are a rarity, luxuries are practically unheard-of, and barter remains common in areas where there are too few precious silver coins to go around. On the other hand, the Mark is remarkably economically equal for a country of its era - the average Aðad is a freeholding rancher-soldier, not a serf - and it boasts one of the continent's only true military-industrial complexes in the famous Forge of Colborn.

Population: About 5.5 million, of whom 700,000 are dwarves and 1.1 million are halflings of the Mootland.


Military


Command: In principle, the Warden of the Mark is the supreme commander of the Eórodain, and this has usually been true in practice as well. But in moments of comfort or overconfidence, the Eórodmot is prone to elect Wardens unable to bear this responsibility. At such time, or when the Warden is in control of a different army, battlefield command usually falls to the eorls: clan leaders who are heir to millennia of Aðadain military wisdom. The decision to put a specific eorl in command of an army can be taken by the Warden, but a general can also be removed by the Witangemot. At present, Warden Aedelfrid's chief general is his cousin Hereward, also of the Brandling line. He was an instrumental adviser at the Battle of Varla, and at the age of thirty-six is already one of the most influential men in the Mark.

Strength: The Ironmark's entire culture, economy, and polity are geared toward military preparedness. Because halfling agriculture keeps the country fed and dwarven industry keeps it armed, every human boy begins learning horsemanship and tactics in early childhood. The Ironmark fields, by general admission, the finest cavalry in northern Minilar: the eórodain. Each man is equally adept with the recurve bow, the nine-foot lance, and the sword. Each wears at least a cuirass and helmet of Colborn-forged steel over a thick buff leather coat; many have pauldrons and vambraces and greaves as well, relics inherited from past generations of eórodain. Most importantly, each is mounted on a hwiða. While a few hundred of these men guard the Warden at any given time, this honor is not considered to place such men in a different category of service; they are not regulars as opposed to levies. Rather, every able-bodied eórod is a soldier first. His singular responsibility is to remain trained and equipped and ready for military service; all else, his ranch and cattle and family, are secondary. After generations of war, the Ironmark's mobilization procedures are finely honed: the realm can muster six thousand eórodain within a week, and the maximum force of about 120,000 within six weeks. At full strength, over more than twenty wars and eight hundred years, the full Host of the Eórodain has never been defeated in pitched battle.


Diplomatic Relations

Interests: The Ironmark's foreign policy, in principle, is very simple: the Markers want to remain independent of Nekhur, and are happy to work with anyone inclined to help them achieve that unlikely goal. For this reason, they have longstanding ties with Koinon. On the other hand, the Markers also have close and sincere ties with Nekhur - the paradox of all borderlands - and have real contacts in Eatar characterized by the grudging respect born of centuries of principled and successful defiance. The Mark regards itself as the protector of all the Southron realms, though it regards their general orientation toward commerce and wealth as bewildering, and has repeatedly tried and failed to rally southern coalitions against the enemy to the north, which the Mark has been obliged to face more directly than its southern neighbors. Among Warden Aedelfrid's true talents is diplomacy, and the last few years have seen a frenzy of Marker embassies seeking to consolidate support against any further Nekhur aggression.

Rivals: Nekhur. In some sense, this rivalry is so lopsided as to be absurd. In another sense, the Ironmark has been determinedly, and fairly successfully, sticking its thumb in the Empire's eye for the last eight centuries: the eórodain are clearly the most dangerous foe, man-for-man, that Nekhur has ever faced. Despite its utter inability to compete economically, culturally, or politically - and despite the fact that it has never seriously threatened any Nekhur city - the Ironmark remains embarrassingly indigestible for its much larger neighbor, and that wary, respectful rivalry defines the two nations' relationship.


Other Information

Location: Currently marked as "Kerwick" on the map, including the whole of the Mootland.



Essential Details

Name of Creature: The Hwiða, known to non-Ironmarkers as Horse-Kings or Horse-Lords.

Appearance: The hwiða are horses, usually about eighteen hands in height and 1,500 pounds in weight. Their coats are typically white, roan, or pale gold, with white markings on the face or chest or fetlocks. Almost everyone finds them remarkably beautiful, though no one can completely explain why, and their movement is graceful enough to inspire poets.

Description: The hwiðas' name - the Horse-Kings - is well-deserved. Fed only on the grass and heather of the Ironmark, they can cover fifty and sometimes eighty miles in a day, and arrive with enough stamina to fight a battle at the end of it. They are freakishly strong; Nekhur battlefield accounts corroborate their ability to knock several men flying with a single kick, or to shatter siege equipment with a steel-shod hoof. They have been known to reach top speeds of over sixty miles per hour for up to a mile at a time. They live for close to forty years. And most importantly, the hwiðas are remarkably intelligent: closer to a hound than to a horse. They have an intuitive ability, like many dogs, to understand their riders' mind and emotional state, his intent and his plans. Ironmarkers, for whom the hwiða is a religious symbol as well as a constant companion in war and peace, talk about this bond in spiritual terms: horse and rider are emotional, psychic partners, sharing hopes and dreams. But even outsiders cannot deny that hwiðas seem to have some rudimentary sense of tactics and forethought, an ability to predict and respond to dangers, a sense of the objectives that they are asked to perform. This makes them vastly more useful - and more dangerous - than any ordinary horse, and the extraordinary abilities of these animals have been essential to the Ironmark's long, stubborn resistance.

Location: For reasons that no one really understands, but that many scholars suspect is related to the effect of some ancient spell or curse, the hwiðas are found only in the southern foothills of the Balor Mountains - the area that is now the Ironmark. If removed for this area for more than a few years, they tend to go terrifyingly insane, or simply to die. This is yet another mystery of these already mysterious creatures.



Essential Details


Name of House: The House of Brand, also known as the Line of Brand or the Brandlings. It should be noted that this is a clan rather than a dynasty per se, one of twelve to which almost all Markers of the eórod class belong. It has over a hundred thousand members, concentrated in the north-central Ironmark. Its members are disproportionately likely to be elected as Wardens, but no one branch of the clan is singularly powerful.

Leader: Aedelfrid Brandling, Warden of the Mark.

Family Members:
  • Aedelfrid Brandling, age 47. Warden of the Mark. Educated in Salatiwara, elected as Warden in 1425 as a compromise candidate. A friendly, diplomatic, timorous man, well-liked and little-respected.
    • Wulfrun Ethundling, age 41. His wife; despite their exclusion from most social power, Marker women keep their name and property after marriage. A cultural traditionalist and patron of music.
    • Osred Brandling, age 20. His son, of late returned from school in Salatiwara, early and against his father's wishes. A brave youth, reckless even by the standards of the death-loving Ironmarkers.
    • Cynfflaed Brandling, age 18. His daughter. A quietly beautiful young woman, unmarried, much in the mold of her mother, but with a strong streak of Ymbren piety.


    • Hereward Brandling, age 36. "Cousin" of the Warden, meaning in Marker terms that they share a common ancestor somewhere in the last six generations. Educated in Myrrha, distinguished himself in 1422 campaign against Balorenes and in 1428 conflict with Valamir over the eastern Mootland. Named to the Witangemot in 1430 and led eórodain advisers at the Battle of Varla. Known to have visited Monroyal within the last six months, and thought to have been present at the Battle of Torrel. The country's greatest living commander: intelligent, honorable, pious, an aficionado of Nekhur culture and a sworn foe of the Tyrant. A man respected even by his enemies.
      • Leofflaed Sumorling, age 34. His lover; a beauty of middling renown, and - unusually - an unmarried woman of trade, who makes her living as an importer of foreign goods to the few in the Ironmark who have the coin to buy them. Their relationship is trusting, but not close, and neither believes that it amounts to a lifelong commitment.

    • Breguwise Brandling, age 62. One of the very few female members of the Witangemot; daughter of one Warden and widow of another. Thought to have the Second Sight, a pre-Ymbren superstition still alive and well in the modern Mark. A wisdom-figure for her clan, and for the whole country, whose voice carries a great deal of weight.

History: The Brandlings are, in theory, the lineal descendants of Brand Brandling: a figure quasi-mythical to the Markers (though quite well-attested in Nekhur histories) who invented the eórodain and brokered the Uncéas. They boast more than sixty Wardens - far more than any other clan - and were instrumental in both of the Ironmark's civil wars: advocates of quasi-royal power defeated in the first conflict, they became staunch constitutionalists and succeeded in the second, ushering in centuries of political stability. They tend to educate their children in Myrrha or Salatiwara, and most are fluent in Kisharite, but they also have trading contacts in the Southron realms of the coast, which has brought them slightly more wealth than the average clan. A strong tradition of Ymbren piety coexists with a high frequency of the Second Sight, especially (though not exclusively) among Brandling women. The clan straddles the center of Ironmark politics in a variety of ways, and this has been crucial to its prominence.


Assets

Home: At present, the Warden's Meadhall in Ethandune. When the clan does not hold the wardenship, its stronghold is Brandceaster: a hill-fort three leagues from Colborn and seven from the Nekhur border.

Fiefs: None per se; the Uncéas means that the Ironmark is not a feudal system, and its society is based on freeholding eórod-ranchers. But about a hundred thousand souls, spread across the north of the Marches, carry the Brandling name, and all of these do something - more out of kin solidarity than legal duty - to support the clan's leadership.

Retinue: About twelve thousand eórodain are Brandlings: roughly one-tenth of the country's total strength. How many of these would side with their clan no matter what is an open question. The clan leadership has no salaried - mercenary, in dismissive Marker parlance - retinue.



Essential Details

Name: Hereward Brandling

Appearance: Among Hereward's advantages is that he looks the part of the eórod general: tall and long-shanked, with broad shoulders and overdeveloped wrists. It is the horseman's build, and the swordsman's. His hair is worn in the traditional short eórod crop, and is Aðadain-dark, but is already going steel grey at the temples. He has a deep scar on his left cheek, and his face has the typical Aðadain boniness: stubborn jaw, chiseled cheekbones, heavy brow. The eyes are surprising: pale green, the color of grass. His skin, like that of most eórodain, is a pale gold: a fair complexion moderately tanned by years under the week moorland sun. Like most Ironmark leaders, he wears armor even when there is little risk of battle, as a reminder of the reason for his status: a long coat of heavy buff leather, with a cuirass and pauldrons and vambraces of shining Colborn steel. It is the same armor any eórod would wear into battle, and its aggressive simplicity is a quiet claim to public legitimacy under the Uncéas.

Age: Thirty-six.

Gender: Male.


Legacy

Allegiance: The Ironmark. Secondarily - and this is an important order of allegiances - the Line of Brand Brandling.

Profession: Eorl of the Mark. In essence, Hereward has made a name for himself among the Brandlings, entitling him to be regarded as a clan leader - an eorl. This position qualifies him to lead Ironmark armies, and Warden Aedelfrid has commissioned him for this purpose. He also serves on the Witangemot as a military expert, helping to administer the realm.

Background:
The Brandlings have many distinguished branches. Hereward comes from not the least of these; four of his ancestors served as Wardens. He grew up with some more creature comforts than many in the Mark, but still experienced the grueling training of every boy of the eórod class: tactics and logistics, the lance and sword and bow, and most of all horsemanship - hours spent in the saddle, running drills or herding cattle. At home, his tutors were largely dwarves, and even among the broad-minded Markers, Hereward has long been noted for his affection for the Folk of Devara and other non-humans.

At sixteen, Hereward was sent to Myrrha to get his education. There, he learned fluent - even elegant - Kisharite and Koinon, and developed a lifelong respect for the cultural achievements and ancient wisdom of Nekhur. He also gained a clearer sense of his own identity as a Marcher: he wrote a treatise on the Uncéas that was nearly barred from the city's great library as intolerably politically subversive.

Upon his return, Hereward's cousin Aedelfrid - then angling to be elected Warden at the 1425 Eórodmot - offered Hereward a company of eórodain in the Mark's 1422 punitive expedition against the Balorene tribes of the mountains. This was the experience in which Hereward discovered his unexpected and extraordinary talent for violence; leading a flying column of horsemen north, he encountered a Balorene force four times his numbers. Hereward split his eórodain and had them race down each flank of the enemy force, enfilading them with arrows and throwing the tribesmen into chaos. Then he reunified his riders in the enemy rear and made a knee-to-knee charge with the lance, splitting the Balorene formation in half and causing the foe to flee. He went on to win three more battles and slay a Balorene chieftain in single combat. When the expedition ended, Hereward's reputation had already been forged. At twenty-three, he was an eorl of the Brandlings.

In part on the strength of that successful campaign, Aedelfrid won election as Warden, and he rewarded Hereward with a generalship when the Mark's gradual assertion of suzerainty over the Mootland provoked last-ditch resistance in Valamir. The war lasted two years, and taught Hereward a costly lesson: the eórodain are exceptionally difficult to defeat in the open field, but have no talent for siege warfare. After finally abandoning his attempts to push into Valamir itself, Hereward succeeded in luring the principality's army back out into the Mootland, where he cornered it and very nearly annihilated it. At the 1430 Eórodmot, he was acclaimed to the Witangemot. Soon after, he began an on-again, off-again relationship with an eccentric but beautiful trader named Leofflaed Sumorling; among other things, this was taken as a signal that Hereward did not want to be Warden, since he was clearly avoiding the inter-clan political marriages necessary to secure a majority of the Eórodmot.

For the last six years, Hereward's movements have been more veiled. On the Witangemot, he spoke strongly but privately of the need to support Imbar and Tervain, while Warden Aedelfrid temporized and sought common ground with other Southron realms. On the basis of his education in Myrrha, he emerged as the most knowledgeable and respectful, but still determined, opponent of appeasement of Nekhur. After the Battle of Veren, as it became clear that the Ironmark's eastern flank was under serious threat, Aedelfrid sent Hereward and two hundred eórodain advisers to assist King Imirian; the mission was officially deniable, but the appearance of men riding hwiðas and clad in Colborn steel was difficult to miss.

At the Battle of Varla, Hereward was instrumental in orchestrating the fast-moving, deceptive, hard-hitting tactics that won the day - all the hallmarks of eórod warfare. Recalling his experience in the Valamir campaign, he warned against besieging Imbar, but was ignored. When the Tervine Army was shattered, Hereward led a column to fall back on Monroyel, instead of on Varla, and thereby managed to evacuate three thousand Tervine veterans who would otherwise have been lost with their capital. After several trips back and forth to Ethandune, the nature of which are not fully known, Hereward resurfaced in Monroyel with a reinforced group of advisers, rendezvoused with Queen Aliana, and was present at the Battle of Torrel. He is now somewhere in western Tervain, fighting a shadow war to which the rest of the Ironmark has yet to awake.



Beliefs

Religion: Ymbren. Hereward is, in fact, notably pious; Ymbren requires no sacrifices or rituals, but he is often found at prayer in quiet moments.

Motivation: Hereward is motivated in large part by a central contradiction: he has a deep knowledge and a profound sympathy for Nekhur, and has spent much of his life studying it. Because of this, he knows exactly how dangerous it is to those things that he most loves about his home: its stubborn egalitarianism, its principled defiance, its youthful hopefulness. He knows that the great challenge of his life is to play his cards exactly right, without hubris but also without fear, so as to ensure that the Ironmark survives the coming storm.


Inventory


Items: The typical recurve bow and Colborn steel armor, sword, and lance of an eórod. As with any eórod, Hereward's most prized possession is his hwiða: a white-gold stallion with white markings on his face, and a white mane and tail. The hwiða's name is Feácandel [lit. Joy-candle], and for twenty years he has been Hereward's most constant friend and most faithful companion.

Skills: Hereward is intelligent and classically educated in the Nekhur tradition; he can speak Koinon and Kisharite. He possesses a level of horsemanship that few outside the Mark can even begin to approach. He is skilled with the three primary weapons of the eórod, though especially with the recurve bow and the sword. Most of all, he is the Mark's greatest living battlefield commander.

Magical Ability: Not in any internationally recognized sense; both the Convocation and the Collegiate have little presence in the Ironmark, with its scattered population and low levels of formal education. But like many Brandlings, Hereward shows signs of the Second Sight: instinctive deja vu-like premonitions of imminent danger, and dreams that seem to show, in some vague manner, the shape of things to come.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:22 pm, edited 10 times in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:20 pm

Nation app is complete. I will work on the rest over the next few days.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:41 am

Finished but for the character.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

User avatar
Krugmar
Minister
 
Posts: 2114
Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:24 pm

Caltarania wrote:-snip Sand Elves


I look forward to taxing them heavily, accepted!

Reverend Norv wrote:-snip Ironmark


Fantastic apps, accepted! Presume the character app accepted upon completion unless I say otherwise.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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The Holy Dominion of Inesea
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14646
Founded: Jun 08, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Holy Dominion of Inesea » Sun Mar 01, 2020 3:41 pm

Reverend Norv wrote:Obviously a huge WIP.


Essential Details

Name of Realm: Generally simply called the Ironmark. More formally the March of Ealliren (lit. all-iron). Colloquially, in northern Minilar on both sides of the border, simply called the March or the Mark. Residents are Markers or Marchers.

Rulers: The Warden of the Mark is Aedelfrid Brandling. The Warden is an elected monarch, chosen by the Eórodmot. This is an assembly of all the Eórodain, adult male Markers capable of supplying their own lance, bow, cuirass, and hwiða. It meets every five years, or upon the death of the Warden. The Warden's responsibility is to organize and lead the Ironmark in wartime, to coordinate its foreign relations, to protect domestic minorities like dwarves and halflings, and to oversee the Forge of Colborn. All other responsibilities of government administration are in the hands of the Witangemot, a smaller deliberative body of wise men, priests, old war leaders and other dignitaries who are chosen by the Eórodmot. It does must of the practical lawmaking. The Eórodmot must itself agree to all taxes every five years, and can, when in session, absolutely overrule either the Warden or the Witangamot. In an ultimate sense, therefore, the Mark is a kind of democracy, and this principle - the sovereignty and individual equality of the Eórodain - is known as the Uncéas: the oath-pact that creates the polity.

Cultures and Races:
The dominant culture of the Ironmark is the Aðadain, whose name in most of Minilar is simply the Markers. They are close cultural kin to the Ajakir on the other side of the Nekhur border - indeed, their name is almost identical save for differences of pronunciation and a different collective suffix - and share many features with their estranged kin. They are, both men and women, a generally tall and muscular people, strong-boned and imposing. They tend to be pale, with dark hair and blue or green eyes. Like the Ajakir, too, they are traditionally a warrior culture, with traditions of honor and discipline and loyalty that go back millennia.

Centuries of resistance to Nekhur has honed this tradition into something very close to a totalizing identity: the paradigm of Aðad-ness is the eórod, the armored horseman mounted on a hwiða, possessed of enough cunning to outwit a Kisharite general, enough toughness to outfight a Balorene barbarian, and enough self-sacrificial courage to face down a legion of Nasaru alone. For every Aðad boy, training in tactics and horsemanship, the sword and the lance and the bow, begins early in childhood. The result of this cultural militarization is a tremendously rich reservoir of cultural wisdom concerning warfare, but a relatively poorer artistic tradition, and one in which women are distinctly excluded from the central locus of power and respect.

This has given Markers their reputation both as the continent's military elite, and as semi-literate horse people. The latter is only half-true; for generations, ironically, many of the Mark's more prosperous families have sent their children to study in Nekhur as young men and women, and the Aðadain likely have more insight into Nekhur culture than any other Southrons. Aðadain even appreciate art, culture, and sophistication all the more for their sense that they have somehow failed in these areas. Still, they are proud of their warrior tradition, and they are proud of their unique egalitarianism: of the Uncéas, the collective vow of a self-governing people to defend their homeland to the end.

The Ironmark has two important minorities. One is the dwarves of the southern Balor Mountains. This community dates back more than a thousand years, and has formed - among the Folk of Devara - a uniquely close bond with their human neighbors. From the Balorian dwarves, the Aðadain acquired their runic script, their fantastic ability to work steel, and much of their love of sagas and melodrama. From the Aðadain, the dwarves received military protection, a respected access point for the commerce of northern Minilar, and control of the Forge of Colborn - the central arms and armor manufactory of the Mark, fed by volcanic fire and legendary for both the quality and quantity of its output. The dwarven community retains a high level of self-government, and the Warden of the Mark swears an oath to protect its rights. Perhaps the relationship is best illustrated by the honorary title traditionally awarded any dwarf by any Aðad: "elder brother."

Finally, the halflings of the Mootland are a relatively more recent addition to the Ironmark. Over the last two hundred years, as the Wardens have extended their protection - and imperfect control - over the rich farmland of the Mootland, halfling traders have become a more common sight throughout the freeholds and ranches of the March. Industrious both in trade and agriculture, with a long tradition of argument rather than of warfare, possessed of a cultural sprightliness and irony that evades but delights the honor-bound Aðadain, they have benefited from the tradition of tolerance engendered by the Mark's long reliance on its dwarvish population. In fact, as many Aðadain are aware, it is the halflings who account for most of the Ironmark's agricultural output, and the dwarves who account for most of its industrial output. It is the nonhumans' economic excellence that allow the Aðadain to focus so intently on military excellence, and thereby to hold the northern menace at bay.


Religion: Both dwarves and halflings follow their own traditional faiths. The Aðadain religion is known as Ymbren. Transcribed using the dwarven-derived runic script and strongly influenced by dwarven monotheism, Ymbren emphasizes a single unnamed God. It is broadly pantheistic, for God is present in all life, and life is defined as anything that moves: wind, water, animals and plants. The supreme mobility of the hwiðas, their grace in motion, is what makes these horse-kings sacred. But all that lives must die: plants wither, animals perish, water dries out, wind blows no more. And so God is constantly dying, and constantly being reborn. This experience - hope and loss, each inevitable - defines Ymbren spirituality; to be close to God is not to "live forever," but to be ever oscillating between life and death. He who can do this without fear, with honor and clarity and charity, will upon death become one with God, to live and die forever in some exalted state where both are equally welcome, and equally sacred. Ymbren churches are community-run, and their priests frequently lack much formal training; the faith is only a few steps removed from a folk religion. But many an eórod has whispered Ymbren's most ancient prayer moments before a violent end: "God, flow with me into dark. Flow with me into light."

History:
The Ironmark's prehistory is longer than its history. Some time in the immediate aftermath of the Dragonwake, Kisharite records first make mention of the Ajakir/Aðadain: a tall, fair people whose warrior tradition, even then, was well-established. In the chaos of that time, they moved into the area around the Balor mountains, probably after having been gradually displaced by the Talassians to the west. After a series of bitter wars against the ancestors of the modern Balorenes, the newcomers succeeded in driving the Balorenes back into the highest mountains, and settled down to a meager existence herding goats and cattle in the high moorland of the foothills.

At this time, the proto-Aðadain made a hugely significant discovery that would set them on a different trajectory from their northern kinfolk: the hwiðas, kings among horses. This subspecies - endemic to the southern Balor highlands - possessed speed, stamina, beauty, strength, and most of all intelligence far in excess of the average horse, so much so that scholars have generally agreed that their very existence is explicable only by reference to some ancient magic. It is as fair to say that the hwiðas created Aðad society as it is to say that the Aðadain remade themselves by discovering the hwiðas. From the hwiðas, the Aðadain learned new ways to herd and to wage war - for a horse that can intellectually understand its rider's intent, and act accordingly, is among the most powerful battlefield weapons imaginable. From their new companions' grace, the Aðadain even deduced the experiential basis of the Ymbren faith.

The arrival of Dwarven refugees from Dirovar added the last main element to the Aðadain's cultural evolution. Marveling at the craft and skill of these newcomers, the Aðadain permitted them to settle in the southern Balor foothills, and to build a city there under the mountains. They even committed to protecting this city from the Balorenes, and from their own northern Ajakir kin. There, in the new city of Colborn, the dwarves too made two crucial discoveries. First, they found vast iron deposits. Iron is among the most common of metals, to be sure, but this was special: natively intermingled with other minerals, like chromium and vanadium, that made the iron uniquely suitable for smelting into exceedingly hard, high-quality steel. And the dwarves also found a volcanic hotspot, where extreme heat from the core of the Earth made possible industrial-scale metal manufacturing without the need for an industrial-scale supply of charcoal. Thus was born the famous Forge of Colborn.

The next century, while nobody really noticed it at the time, marked the birth of the Ironmark as it exists today. From the dwarves, the Aðadain learned writing, and refined their religion, and gained tremendous facility with metalworking - though in this, they never quite matched the elder brethren. Numerous and confident, they spread out across the moorland, using their peerless steel and horses to raid steadily in every direction, and expanding their cattle herds. Aðadain society turned increasingly hierarchical, with traditional clan arrangements hardening into annual tithes of livestock and steel to quasi-feudal lords. They were well on their way to becoming yet another Southron principality.

The Mark was saved from this, ironically enough, by the arrival of its great historical enemy: the modern empire of Nekhur. The renaissance of Kishar under the Eighteenth Dynasty put an end to centuries of chaos in the north, and for the first time subdued the Ajakir beneath the banner of the bull: imposing a border where previously Aðadain and Ajakir had been divided by culture and religion, but still spoken mutually intelligible languages and thought of each other as brothers gone astray. Seeing no reason to stop halfway, Emperor Tar-Ninurta pressed on south of the Balor Mountains with an army of seventy thousand men. After two crushing defeats, Aðadain society collapsed almost overnight.

At this moment, a young commander - known to Ironmark oral history as Brand Brandling [lit. Sword Sword-son] rose to prominence as the leader of a company of horsemen who had achieved some of the Aðadain's few victories. He had trained his riders and their hwiðas to a unique level: they were equally effective with recurve bows from a distance, with the couched lance at a charge, and with the sword in a swirling melee. This versatility allowed them to outmaneuver, split up, and destroy much larger Nekhur forces. Brand commended this way of war to the council of the clan elders, but he did not stop there. He also asserted that only as free men, equal before God in life and death and life returned, could the Aðadain hope to triumph over such long odds.

According to legend, the council was so moved by Brand's words that each man swore that henceforth, he would exercise no power save by the consent of those men whose blood was shed for the defense of their common homeland. Upon hearing this, the warriors outside the command tent made their own oath in return: that so long as their rights were held equal, and their leaders served at their will, they would die to a man before they fled the field. This mutual oath-giving was the Uncéas: the fundamental constitutional compact that created the Ironmark as a polity, the foundation of its stratocratic/democratic system.

Over the next five years, Brand Brandling revolutionized the training and equipment of the Mark's riders, combining three crucial advantages: arms and armor from the Forge of Colborn, the extraordinary abilities of the hwiða, and the training of the eórod - the armored medium cavalry equally adept with bow, lance, and sword. At the Battle of Beckesford, eleven thousand eórodain defeated sixty-eight thousand Nekhur troops, including twenty thousand Nasaru. It was the worst defeat the Eighteenth Dynasty ever suffered, and contributed directly to its fall. Tar-Ninurta, as he watched his troops flee, remarked: "This nation is made of iron." The new polity created by the Uncéas had its new name: the Ironmark. And it had its new purpose: the vastly outnumbered guardian, standing in the breach, of the Southron lands against the superpower to the north.

The subsequent eight hundred years have not changed that fundamental identity. The Ironmark has fought seventeen wars, large and small, with Nekhur - along with essentially constant raiding in between. The Mark claims, reasonably, to have won all of them, on the grounds that it still exists. Nekhur, equally reasonably, characterizes all of the conflicts as draws. The eórodain's battlefield record, in either case, is unimpeachable. In the last two hundred years, the Mark has also fought three wars with Serebyan and two with Valamir. These, almost everyone admits that the Ironmark won, and their prize for military success (albeit only on land) has been control of the Mootland: the long-disputed, highly fertile halfling lands that are now functionally a protectorate of the Wardens. At home, the ritual oaths of the Uncéas have stabilized - at the cost of two major civil wars, but only two - into hallowed institutions: the elected Wardens, the Witangemot of the elders, and the final voice of the Eórodmot.

In the tense way of borders everywhere, the Markers have continued to raid their neighbors even as they learn from them. Dwarvish craft, Aðadain traditions, and the divine gift of the hwiða have all contributed to almost a millennium of military tradition, which no Southron lord or Nekhur tyrant challenges lightly. But Marker students, clad in the leather and steel of their people, are a common sight at great Nekhur universities, and as far afield as the cities of the Kniazite League. Like most borderlands, the March is both a backwater and a ferment of cultural contact and accommodation, somehow at the same time.

Over the last ten years, Warden Aedelfrid - widely considered a weak man, a compromise political choice made by a divided Eórodmot - has temporized over renewed aggression from the north. He made no move to challenge Nekhur's war on Seher, or its suzerainty over the tribes of the Balor - though local leaders in the northern Mark have cheerfully continued raiding the mountain barbarians anyway. Aedelfrid did send eórod advisers and a limited quantity of Colborn steel arms to support the Imbro-Tervine war effort, and these may have made the difference at the Battle of Varla and, more recently, the Battle of Torrel. But it has escaped no one's notice that the fall of Tervain leaves the Mark's eastern flank exposed as never before, and an increasing number of influential voices warn that the Markers cannot afford to wait: that the eórodain must ride again, once more - while they still can...



Assets


Notable Cities: The Markers, in general, are not a city-dwelling people. Traditionally pastoral, the Aðadain continue to live overwhelmingly on small homesteads and ranches, in extended clan systems, deriving their wealth from cattle, sheep, and goats. The halflings, too, prefer small agricultural communities. And so the Ironmark has only two major cities:

  • Ethandune is the capital city of the Ironmark, and the seat of the Wardens. It is located toward the center of the Mark, north of the headwaters of the rivers of Severa. It is, by most standards, a fairly poor and mean place: about fifteen thousand people in a sprawling complex of wooden buildings, livestock sheds, and stables, protected by a few ramshackle palisades. Ethandune lies on a gently sloping moorland hill, and at the top is a large wooden mead-hall with an impressive stone tower attached, from which one can see for many miles. This is the Warden's headquarters, where he can entertain his eorls and shore up support among the eórodain - though even the Warden is expected to spend most of the year in the saddle. Ethandune's main virtues are a large market, which is lively and bustling, and the omnipresence of music: the city is as close as the Mark comes to an artistic center.

  • Colborn is the one truly great city of the Ironmark. Built by the dwarves a thousand years ago in the foothills of the Balor Mountains, it now lies just twenty-eight leagues from the border with Nekhur. It is a spectacular underground city housing more than a hundred thousand of the Folk of Devara in neighborhoods carved into the living rock, with their own shops, schools, and granaries. Beneath it lie the richest iron mines in northern Minilar, perfect for the production of world-class steel. And deep in the city's heart is the Forge of Colborn: fed by the heat of a volcanic hotspot, capable of producing a million pieces of arms and armor a year through manufacturing practices honed for the last millennium. The acquisition of Colborn-forged arms, whether by wealth or by valor, is part of what qualifies a man to be an eórod. The forge is central to the Ironmark's identity and political order, and its defense is the one non-negotiable strategic imperative of the realm.

Economy: The Ironmark is not an economic powerhouse. Its military prowess has been achieved largely by outsourcing economic activity to the dwarven and halfling communities. The latter feeds the country; the former keeps it supplied with manufactured goods. This leaves the Aðadain free to train their children for war, and to keep themselves in fighting shape by maintaining large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. The result is an economy in which most families can eat meat several times a week, and the people grow large and strong - but imported goods are a rarity, luxuries are practically unheard-of, and barter remains common in areas where there are too few precious silver coins to go around. On the other hand, the Mark is remarkably economically equal for a country of its era - the average Aðad is a freeholding rancher-soldier, not a serf - and it boasts one of the continent's only true military-industrial complexes in the famous Forge of Colborn.

Population: About 5.5 million, of whom 700,000 are dwarves and 1.1 million are halflings of the Mootland.


Military


Command: In principle, the Warden of the Mark is the supreme commander of the Eórodain, and this has usually been true in practice as well. But in moments of comfort or overconfidence, the Eórodmot is prone to elect Wardens unable to bear this responsibility. At such time, or when the Warden is in control of a different army, battlefield command usually falls to the eorls: clan leaders who are heir to millennia of Aðadain military wisdom. The decision to put a specific eorl in command of an army can be taken by the Warden, but a general can also be removed by the Witangemot. At present, Warden Aedelfrid's chief general is his cousin Hereward, also of the Brandling line. He was an instrumental adviser at the Battle of Varla, and at the age of thirty-six is already one of the most influential men in the Mark.

Strength: The Ironmark's entire culture, economy, and polity are geared toward military preparedness. Because halfling agriculture keeps the country fed and dwarven industry keeps it armed, every human boy begins learning horsemanship and tactics in early childhood. The Ironmark fields, by general admission, the finest cavalry in northern Minilar: the eórodain. Each man is equally adept with the recurve bow, the nine-foot lance, and the sword. Each wears at least a cuirass and helmet of Colborn-forged steel over a thick buff leather coat; many have pauldrons and vambraces and greaves as well, relics inherited from past generations of eórodain. Most importantly, each is mounted on a hwiða. While a few hundred of these men guard the Warden at any given time, this honor is not considered to place such men in a different category of service; they are not regulars as opposed to levies. Rather, every able-bodied eórod is a soldier first. His singular responsibility is to remain trained and equipped and ready for military service; all else, his ranch and cattle and family, are secondary. After generations of war, the Ironmark's mobilization procedures are finely honed: the realm can muster six thousand eórodain within a week, and the maximum force of about 120,000 within six weeks. At full strength, over more than twenty wars and eight hundred years, the full Host of the Eórodain has never been defeated in pitched battle.


Diplomatic Relations

Interests: The Ironmark's foreign policy, in principle, is very simple: the Markers want to remain independent of Nekhur, and are happy to work with anyone inclined to help them achieve that unlikely goal. For this reason, they have longstanding ties with Koinon. On the other hand, the Markers also have close and sincere ties with Nekhur - the paradox of all borderlands - and have real contacts in Eatar characterized by the grudging respect born of centuries of principled and successful defiance. The Mark regards itself as the protector of all the Southron realms, though it regards their general orientation toward commerce and wealth as bewildering, and has repeatedly tried and failed to rally southern coalitions against the enemy to the north, which the Mark has been obliged to face more directly than its southern neighbors. Among Warden Aedelfrid's true talents is diplomacy, and the last few years have seen a frenzy of Marker embassies seeking to consolidate support against any further Nekhur aggression.

Rivals: Nekhur. In some sense, this rivalry is so lopsided as to be absurd. In another sense, the Ironmark has been determinedly, and fairly successfully, sticking its thumb in the Empire's eye for the last eight centuries: the eórodain are clearly the most dangerous foe, man-for-man, that Nekhur has ever faced. Despite its utter inability to compete economically, culturally, or politically - and despite the fact that it has never seriously threatened any Nekhur city - the Ironmark remains embarrassingly indigestible for its much larger neighbor, and that wary, respectful rivalry defines the two nations' relationship.


Other Information

Location: Currently marked as "Kerwick" on the map, including the whole of the Mootland.



Essential Details

Name of Creature: The Hwiða, known to non-Ironmarkers as Horse-Kings or Horse-Lords.

Appearance: The hwiða are horses, usually about eighteen hands in height and 1,500 pounds in weight. Their coats are typically white, roan, or pale gold, with white markings on the face or chest or fetlocks. Almost everyone finds them remarkably beautiful, though no one can completely explain why, and their movement is graceful enough to inspire poets.

Description: The hwiðas' name - the Horse-Kings - is well-deserved. Fed only on the grass and heather of the Ironmark, they can cover fifty and sometimes eighty miles in a day, and arrive with enough stamina to fight a battle at the end of it. They are freakishly strong; Nekhur battlefield accounts corroborate their ability to knock several men flying with a single kick, or to shatter siege equipment with a steel-shod hoof. They have been known to reach top speeds of over sixty miles per hour for up to a mile at a time. They live for close to forty years. And most importantly, the hwiðas are remarkably intelligent: closer to a hound than to a horse. They have an intuitive ability, like many dogs, to understand their riders' mind and emotional state, his intent and his plans. Ironmarkers, for whom the hwiða is a religious symbol as well as a constant companion in war and peace, talk about this bond in spiritual terms: horse and rider are emotional, psychic partners, sharing hopes and dreams. But even outsiders cannot deny that hwiðas seem to have some rudimentary sense of tactics and forethought, an ability to predict and respond to dangers, a sense of the objectives that they are asked to perform. This makes them vastly more useful - and more dangerous - than any ordinary horse, and the extraordinary abilities of these animals have been essential to the Ironmark's long, stubborn resistance.

Location: For reasons that no one really understands, but that many scholars suspect is related to the effect of some ancient spell or curse, the hwiðas are found only in the southern foothills of the Balor Mountains - the area that is now the Ironmark. If removed for this area for more than a few years, they tend to go terrifyingly insane, or simply to die. This is yet another mystery of these already mysterious creatures.



Essential Details


Name of House: The House of Brand, also known as the Line of Brand or the Brandlings. It should be noted that this is a clan rather than a dynasty per se, one of twelve to which almost all Markers of the eórod class belong. It has over a hundred thousand members, concentrated in the north-central Ironmark. Its members are disproportionately likely to be elected as Wardens, but no one branch of the clan is singularly powerful.

Leader: Aedelfrid Brandling, Warden of the Mark.

Family Members:
  • Aedelfrid Brandling, age 47. Warden of the Mark. Educated in Salatiwara, elected as Warden in 1425 as a compromise candidate. A friendly, diplomatic, timorous man, well-liked and little-respected.
    • Wulfrun Ethundling, age 41. His wife; despite their exclusion from most social power, Marker women keep their name and property after marriage. A cultural traditionalist and patron of music.
    • Osred Brandling, age 20. His son, of late returned from school in Salatiwara, early and against his father's wishes. A brave youth, reckless even by the standards of the death-loving Ironmarkers.
    • Cynfflaed Brandling, age 18. His daughter. A quietly beautiful young woman, unmarried, much in the mold of her mother, but with a strong streak of Ymbren piety.


    • Hereward Brandling, age 36. "Cousin" of the Warden, meaning in Marker terms that they share a common ancestor somewhere in the last six generations. Educated in Myrrha, distinguished himself in 1422 campaign against Balorenes and in 1428 conflict with Valamir over the eastern Mootland. Named to the Witangemot in 1430 and led eórodain advisers at the Battle of Varla. Known to have visited Monroyal within the last six months, and thought to have been present at the Battle of Torrel. The country's greatest living commander: intelligent, honorable, pious, an aficionado of Nekhur culture and a sworn foe of the Tyrant. A man respected even by his enemies.
      • Leofflaed Sumorling, age 34. His lover; a beauty of middling renown, and - unusually - an unmarried woman of trade, who makes her living as an importer of foreign goods to the few in the Ironmark who have the coin to buy them. Their relationship is trusting, but not close, and neither believes that it amounts to a lifelong commitment.

    • Breguwise Brandling, age 62. One of the very few female members of the Witangemot; daughter of one Warden and widow of another. Thought to have the Second Sight, a pre-Ymbren superstition still alive and well in the modern Mark. A wisdom-figure for her clan, and for the whole country, whose voice carries a great deal of weight.

History: The Brandlings are, in theory, the lineal descendants of Brand Brandling: a figure quasi-mythical to the Markers (though quite well-attested in Nekhur histories) who invented the eórodain and brokered the Uncéas. They boast more than sixty Wardens - far more than any other clan - and were instrumental in both of the Ironmark's civil wars: advocates of quasi-royal power defeated in the first conflict, they became staunch constitutionalists and succeeded in the second, ushering in centuries of political stability. They tend to educate their children in Myrrha or Salatiwara, and most are fluent in Kisharite, but they also have trading contacts in the Southron realms of the coast, which has brought them slightly more wealth than the average clan. A strong tradition of Ymbren piety coexists with a high frequency of the Second Sight, especially (though not exclusively) among Brandling women. The clan straddles the center of Ironmark politics in a variety of ways, and this has been crucial to its prominence.


Assets

Home: At present, the Warden's Meadhall in Ethandune. When the clan does not hold the wardenship, its stronghold is Brandceaster: a hill-fort three leagues from Colborn and seven from the Nekhur border.

Fiefs: None per se; the Uncéas means that the Ironmark is not a feudal system, and its society is based on freeholding eórod-ranchers. But about a hundred thousand souls, spread across the north of the Marches, carry the Brandling name, and all of these do something - more out of kin solidarity than legal duty - to support the clan's leadership.

Retinue: About twelve thousand eórodain are Brandlings: roughly one-tenth of the country's total strength. How many of these would side with their clan no matter what is an open question. The clan leadership has no salaried - mercenary, in dismissive Marker parlance - retinue.



Essential Details

Name:

Appearance:

Age:

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Legacy

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Profession:

Background:


Beliefs

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Inventory


Items:

Skills:

Magical Ability: (Yes/No, if yes then what specialisations, grade, Convocation, Collegiate, or something else?)


I'd like to rework that Serebyan-Ironmark history with you. The Mootland wasn't really a desired expansion of the dominion beyond what we hold . I don't think we'd be the ones to fight three wars with
I'm really tired

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Reverend Norv
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Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:39 pm

The Holy Dominion of Inesea wrote:
Reverend Norv wrote:Obviously a huge WIP.


Essential Details

Name of Realm: Generally simply called the Ironmark. More formally the March of Ealliren (lit. all-iron). Colloquially, in northern Minilar on both sides of the border, simply called the March or the Mark. Residents are Markers or Marchers.

Rulers: The Warden of the Mark is Aedelfrid Brandling. The Warden is an elected monarch, chosen by the Eórodmot. This is an assembly of all the Eórodain, adult male Markers capable of supplying their own lance, bow, cuirass, and hwiða. It meets every five years, or upon the death of the Warden. The Warden's responsibility is to organize and lead the Ironmark in wartime, to coordinate its foreign relations, to protect domestic minorities like dwarves and halflings, and to oversee the Forge of Colborn. All other responsibilities of government administration are in the hands of the Witangemot, a smaller deliberative body of wise men, priests, old war leaders and other dignitaries who are chosen by the Eórodmot. It does must of the practical lawmaking. The Eórodmot must itself agree to all taxes every five years, and can, when in session, absolutely overrule either the Warden or the Witangamot. In an ultimate sense, therefore, the Mark is a kind of democracy, and this principle - the sovereignty and individual equality of the Eórodain - is known as the Uncéas: the oath-pact that creates the polity.

Cultures and Races:
The dominant culture of the Ironmark is the Aðadain, whose name in most of Minilar is simply the Markers. They are close cultural kin to the Ajakir on the other side of the Nekhur border - indeed, their name is almost identical save for differences of pronunciation and a different collective suffix - and share many features with their estranged kin. They are, both men and women, a generally tall and muscular people, strong-boned and imposing. They tend to be pale, with dark hair and blue or green eyes. Like the Ajakir, too, they are traditionally a warrior culture, with traditions of honor and discipline and loyalty that go back millennia.

Centuries of resistance to Nekhur has honed this tradition into something very close to a totalizing identity: the paradigm of Aðad-ness is the eórod, the armored horseman mounted on a hwiða, possessed of enough cunning to outwit a Kisharite general, enough toughness to outfight a Balorene barbarian, and enough self-sacrificial courage to face down a legion of Nasaru alone. For every Aðad boy, training in tactics and horsemanship, the sword and the lance and the bow, begins early in childhood. The result of this cultural militarization is a tremendously rich reservoir of cultural wisdom concerning warfare, but a relatively poorer artistic tradition, and one in which women are distinctly excluded from the central locus of power and respect.

This has given Markers their reputation both as the continent's military elite, and as semi-literate horse people. The latter is only half-true; for generations, ironically, many of the Mark's more prosperous families have sent their children to study in Nekhur as young men and women, and the Aðadain likely have more insight into Nekhur culture than any other Southrons. Aðadain even appreciate art, culture, and sophistication all the more for their sense that they have somehow failed in these areas. Still, they are proud of their warrior tradition, and they are proud of their unique egalitarianism: of the Uncéas, the collective vow of a self-governing people to defend their homeland to the end.

The Ironmark has two important minorities. One is the dwarves of the southern Balor Mountains. This community dates back more than a thousand years, and has formed - among the Folk of Devara - a uniquely close bond with their human neighbors. From the Balorian dwarves, the Aðadain acquired their runic script, their fantastic ability to work steel, and much of their love of sagas and melodrama. From the Aðadain, the dwarves received military protection, a respected access point for the commerce of northern Minilar, and control of the Forge of Colborn - the central arms and armor manufactory of the Mark, fed by volcanic fire and legendary for both the quality and quantity of its output. The dwarven community retains a high level of self-government, and the Warden of the Mark swears an oath to protect its rights. Perhaps the relationship is best illustrated by the honorary title traditionally awarded any dwarf by any Aðad: "elder brother."

Finally, the halflings of the Mootland are a relatively more recent addition to the Ironmark. Over the last two hundred years, as the Wardens have extended their protection - and imperfect control - over the rich farmland of the Mootland, halfling traders have become a more common sight throughout the freeholds and ranches of the March. Industrious both in trade and agriculture, with a long tradition of argument rather than of warfare, possessed of a cultural sprightliness and irony that evades but delights the honor-bound Aðadain, they have benefited from the tradition of tolerance engendered by the Mark's long reliance on its dwarvish population. In fact, as many Aðadain are aware, it is the halflings who account for most of the Ironmark's agricultural output, and the dwarves who account for most of its industrial output. It is the nonhumans' economic excellence that allow the Aðadain to focus so intently on military excellence, and thereby to hold the northern menace at bay.


Religion: Both dwarves and halflings follow their own traditional faiths. The Aðadain religion is known as Ymbren. Transcribed using the dwarven-derived runic script and strongly influenced by dwarven monotheism, Ymbren emphasizes a single unnamed God. It is broadly pantheistic, for God is present in all life, and life is defined as anything that moves: wind, water, animals and plants. The supreme mobility of the hwiðas, their grace in motion, is what makes these horse-kings sacred. But all that lives must die: plants wither, animals perish, water dries out, wind blows no more. And so God is constantly dying, and constantly being reborn. This experience - hope and loss, each inevitable - defines Ymbren spirituality; to be close to God is not to "live forever," but to be ever oscillating between life and death. He who can do this without fear, with honor and clarity and charity, will upon death become one with God, to live and die forever in some exalted state where both are equally welcome, and equally sacred. Ymbren churches are community-run, and their priests frequently lack much formal training; the faith is only a few steps removed from a folk religion. But many an eórod has whispered Ymbren's most ancient prayer moments before a violent end: "God, flow with me into dark. Flow with me into light."

History:
The Ironmark's prehistory is longer than its history. Some time in the immediate aftermath of the Dragonwake, Kisharite records first make mention of the Ajakir/Aðadain: a tall, fair people whose warrior tradition, even then, was well-established. In the chaos of that time, they moved into the area around the Balor mountains, probably after having been gradually displaced by the Talassians to the west. After a series of bitter wars against the ancestors of the modern Balorenes, the newcomers succeeded in driving the Balorenes back into the highest mountains, and settled down to a meager existence herding goats and cattle in the high moorland of the foothills.

At this time, the proto-Aðadain made a hugely significant discovery that would set them on a different trajectory from their northern kinfolk: the hwiðas, kings among horses. This subspecies - endemic to the southern Balor highlands - possessed speed, stamina, beauty, strength, and most of all intelligence far in excess of the average horse, so much so that scholars have generally agreed that their very existence is explicable only by reference to some ancient magic. It is as fair to say that the hwiðas created Aðad society as it is to say that the Aðadain remade themselves by discovering the hwiðas. From the hwiðas, the Aðadain learned new ways to herd and to wage war - for a horse that can intellectually understand its rider's intent, and act accordingly, is among the most powerful battlefield weapons imaginable. From their new companions' grace, the Aðadain even deduced the experiential basis of the Ymbren faith.

The arrival of Dwarven refugees from Dirovar added the last main element to the Aðadain's cultural evolution. Marveling at the craft and skill of these newcomers, the Aðadain permitted them to settle in the southern Balor foothills, and to build a city there under the mountains. They even committed to protecting this city from the Balorenes, and from their own northern Ajakir kin. There, in the new city of Colborn, the dwarves too made two crucial discoveries. First, they found vast iron deposits. Iron is among the most common of metals, to be sure, but this was special: natively intermingled with other minerals, like chromium and vanadium, that made the iron uniquely suitable for smelting into exceedingly hard, high-quality steel. And the dwarves also found a volcanic hotspot, where extreme heat from the core of the Earth made possible industrial-scale metal manufacturing without the need for an industrial-scale supply of charcoal. Thus was born the famous Forge of Colborn.

The next century, while nobody really noticed it at the time, marked the birth of the Ironmark as it exists today. From the dwarves, the Aðadain learned writing, and refined their religion, and gained tremendous facility with metalworking - though in this, they never quite matched the elder brethren. Numerous and confident, they spread out across the moorland, using their peerless steel and horses to raid steadily in every direction, and expanding their cattle herds. Aðadain society turned increasingly hierarchical, with traditional clan arrangements hardening into annual tithes of livestock and steel to quasi-feudal lords. They were well on their way to becoming yet another Southron principality.

The Mark was saved from this, ironically enough, by the arrival of its great historical enemy: the modern empire of Nekhur. The renaissance of Kishar under the Eighteenth Dynasty put an end to centuries of chaos in the north, and for the first time subdued the Ajakir beneath the banner of the bull: imposing a border where previously Aðadain and Ajakir had been divided by culture and religion, but still spoken mutually intelligible languages and thought of each other as brothers gone astray. Seeing no reason to stop halfway, Emperor Tar-Ninurta pressed on south of the Balor Mountains with an army of seventy thousand men. After two crushing defeats, Aðadain society collapsed almost overnight.

At this moment, a young commander - known to Ironmark oral history as Brand Brandling [lit. Sword Sword-son] rose to prominence as the leader of a company of horsemen who had achieved some of the Aðadain's few victories. He had trained his riders and their hwiðas to a unique level: they were equally effective with recurve bows from a distance, with the couched lance at a charge, and with the sword in a swirling melee. This versatility allowed them to outmaneuver, split up, and destroy much larger Nekhur forces. Brand commended this way of war to the council of the clan elders, but he did not stop there. He also asserted that only as free men, equal before God in life and death and life returned, could the Aðadain hope to triumph over such long odds.

According to legend, the council was so moved by Brand's words that each man swore that henceforth, he would exercise no power save by the consent of those men whose blood was shed for the defense of their common homeland. Upon hearing this, the warriors outside the command tent made their own oath in return: that so long as their rights were held equal, and their leaders served at their will, they would die to a man before they fled the field. This mutual oath-giving was the Uncéas: the fundamental constitutional compact that created the Ironmark as a polity, the foundation of its stratocratic/democratic system.

Over the next five years, Brand Brandling revolutionized the training and equipment of the Mark's riders, combining three crucial advantages: arms and armor from the Forge of Colborn, the extraordinary abilities of the hwiða, and the training of the eórod - the armored medium cavalry equally adept with bow, lance, and sword. At the Battle of Beckesford, eleven thousand eórodain defeated sixty-eight thousand Nekhur troops, including twenty thousand Nasaru. It was the worst defeat the Eighteenth Dynasty ever suffered, and contributed directly to its fall. Tar-Ninurta, as he watched his troops flee, remarked: "This nation is made of iron." The new polity created by the Uncéas had its new name: the Ironmark. And it had its new purpose: the vastly outnumbered guardian, standing in the breach, of the Southron lands against the superpower to the north.

The subsequent eight hundred years have not changed that fundamental identity. The Ironmark has fought seventeen wars, large and small, with Nekhur - along with essentially constant raiding in between. The Mark claims, reasonably, to have won all of them, on the grounds that it still exists. Nekhur, equally reasonably, characterizes all of the conflicts as draws. The eórodain's battlefield record, in either case, is unimpeachable. In the last two hundred years, the Mark has also fought three wars with Serebyan and two with Valamir. These, almost everyone admits that the Ironmark won, and their prize for military success (albeit only on land) has been control of the Mootland: the long-disputed, highly fertile halfling lands that are now functionally a protectorate of the Wardens. At home, the ritual oaths of the Uncéas have stabilized - at the cost of two major civil wars, but only two - into hallowed institutions: the elected Wardens, the Witangemot of the elders, and the final voice of the Eórodmot.

In the tense way of borders everywhere, the Markers have continued to raid their neighbors even as they learn from them. Dwarvish craft, Aðadain traditions, and the divine gift of the hwiða have all contributed to almost a millennium of military tradition, which no Southron lord or Nekhur tyrant challenges lightly. But Marker students, clad in the leather and steel of their people, are a common sight at great Nekhur universities, and as far afield as the cities of the Kniazite League. Like most borderlands, the March is both a backwater and a ferment of cultural contact and accommodation, somehow at the same time.

Over the last ten years, Warden Aedelfrid - widely considered a weak man, a compromise political choice made by a divided Eórodmot - has temporized over renewed aggression from the north. He made no move to challenge Nekhur's war on Seher, or its suzerainty over the tribes of the Balor - though local leaders in the northern Mark have cheerfully continued raiding the mountain barbarians anyway. Aedelfrid did send eórod advisers and a limited quantity of Colborn steel arms to support the Imbro-Tervine war effort, and these may have made the difference at the Battle of Varla and, more recently, the Battle of Torrel. But it has escaped no one's notice that the fall of Tervain leaves the Mark's eastern flank exposed as never before, and an increasing number of influential voices warn that the Markers cannot afford to wait: that the eórodain must ride again, once more - while they still can...



Assets


Notable Cities: The Markers, in general, are not a city-dwelling people. Traditionally pastoral, the Aðadain continue to live overwhelmingly on small homesteads and ranches, in extended clan systems, deriving their wealth from cattle, sheep, and goats. The halflings, too, prefer small agricultural communities. And so the Ironmark has only two major cities:

  • Ethandune is the capital city of the Ironmark, and the seat of the Wardens. It is located toward the center of the Mark, north of the headwaters of the rivers of Severa. It is, by most standards, a fairly poor and mean place: about fifteen thousand people in a sprawling complex of wooden buildings, livestock sheds, and stables, protected by a few ramshackle palisades. Ethandune lies on a gently sloping moorland hill, and at the top is a large wooden mead-hall with an impressive stone tower attached, from which one can see for many miles. This is the Warden's headquarters, where he can entertain his eorls and shore up support among the eórodain - though even the Warden is expected to spend most of the year in the saddle. Ethandune's main virtues are a large market, which is lively and bustling, and the omnipresence of music: the city is as close as the Mark comes to an artistic center.

  • Colborn is the one truly great city of the Ironmark. Built by the dwarves a thousand years ago in the foothills of the Balor Mountains, it now lies just twenty-eight leagues from the border with Nekhur. It is a spectacular underground city housing more than a hundred thousand of the Folk of Devara in neighborhoods carved into the living rock, with their own shops, schools, and granaries. Beneath it lie the richest iron mines in northern Minilar, perfect for the production of world-class steel. And deep in the city's heart is the Forge of Colborn: fed by the heat of a volcanic hotspot, capable of producing a million pieces of arms and armor a year through manufacturing practices honed for the last millennium. The acquisition of Colborn-forged arms, whether by wealth or by valor, is part of what qualifies a man to be an eórod. The forge is central to the Ironmark's identity and political order, and its defense is the one non-negotiable strategic imperative of the realm.

Economy: The Ironmark is not an economic powerhouse. Its military prowess has been achieved largely by outsourcing economic activity to the dwarven and halfling communities. The latter feeds the country; the former keeps it supplied with manufactured goods. This leaves the Aðadain free to train their children for war, and to keep themselves in fighting shape by maintaining large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. The result is an economy in which most families can eat meat several times a week, and the people grow large and strong - but imported goods are a rarity, luxuries are practically unheard-of, and barter remains common in areas where there are too few precious silver coins to go around. On the other hand, the Mark is remarkably economically equal for a country of its era - the average Aðad is a freeholding rancher-soldier, not a serf - and it boasts one of the continent's only true military-industrial complexes in the famous Forge of Colborn.

Population: About 5.5 million, of whom 700,000 are dwarves and 1.1 million are halflings of the Mootland.


Military


Command: In principle, the Warden of the Mark is the supreme commander of the Eórodain, and this has usually been true in practice as well. But in moments of comfort or overconfidence, the Eórodmot is prone to elect Wardens unable to bear this responsibility. At such time, or when the Warden is in control of a different army, battlefield command usually falls to the eorls: clan leaders who are heir to millennia of Aðadain military wisdom. The decision to put a specific eorl in command of an army can be taken by the Warden, but a general can also be removed by the Witangemot. At present, Warden Aedelfrid's chief general is his cousin Hereward, also of the Brandling line. He was an instrumental adviser at the Battle of Varla, and at the age of thirty-six is already one of the most influential men in the Mark.

Strength: The Ironmark's entire culture, economy, and polity are geared toward military preparedness. Because halfling agriculture keeps the country fed and dwarven industry keeps it armed, every human boy begins learning horsemanship and tactics in early childhood. The Ironmark fields, by general admission, the finest cavalry in northern Minilar: the eórodain. Each man is equally adept with the recurve bow, the nine-foot lance, and the sword. Each wears at least a cuirass and helmet of Colborn-forged steel over a thick buff leather coat; many have pauldrons and vambraces and greaves as well, relics inherited from past generations of eórodain. Most importantly, each is mounted on a hwiða. While a few hundred of these men guard the Warden at any given time, this honor is not considered to place such men in a different category of service; they are not regulars as opposed to levies. Rather, every able-bodied eórod is a soldier first. His singular responsibility is to remain trained and equipped and ready for military service; all else, his ranch and cattle and family, are secondary. After generations of war, the Ironmark's mobilization procedures are finely honed: the realm can muster six thousand eórodain within a week, and the maximum force of about 120,000 within six weeks. At full strength, over more than twenty wars and eight hundred years, the full Host of the Eórodain has never been defeated in pitched battle.


Diplomatic Relations

Interests: The Ironmark's foreign policy, in principle, is very simple: the Markers want to remain independent of Nekhur, and are happy to work with anyone inclined to help them achieve that unlikely goal. For this reason, they have longstanding ties with Koinon. On the other hand, the Markers also have close and sincere ties with Nekhur - the paradox of all borderlands - and have real contacts in Eatar characterized by the grudging respect born of centuries of principled and successful defiance. The Mark regards itself as the protector of all the Southron realms, though it regards their general orientation toward commerce and wealth as bewildering, and has repeatedly tried and failed to rally southern coalitions against the enemy to the north, which the Mark has been obliged to face more directly than its southern neighbors. Among Warden Aedelfrid's true talents is diplomacy, and the last few years have seen a frenzy of Marker embassies seeking to consolidate support against any further Nekhur aggression.

Rivals: Nekhur. In some sense, this rivalry is so lopsided as to be absurd. In another sense, the Ironmark has been determinedly, and fairly successfully, sticking its thumb in the Empire's eye for the last eight centuries: the eórodain are clearly the most dangerous foe, man-for-man, that Nekhur has ever faced. Despite its utter inability to compete economically, culturally, or politically - and despite the fact that it has never seriously threatened any Nekhur city - the Ironmark remains embarrassingly indigestible for its much larger neighbor, and that wary, respectful rivalry defines the two nations' relationship.


Other Information

Location: Currently marked as "Kerwick" on the map, including the whole of the Mootland.



Essential Details

Name of Creature: The Hwiða, known to non-Ironmarkers as Horse-Kings or Horse-Lords.

Appearance: The hwiða are horses, usually about eighteen hands in height and 1,500 pounds in weight. Their coats are typically white, roan, or pale gold, with white markings on the face or chest or fetlocks. Almost everyone finds them remarkably beautiful, though no one can completely explain why, and their movement is graceful enough to inspire poets.

Description: The hwiðas' name - the Horse-Kings - is well-deserved. Fed only on the grass and heather of the Ironmark, they can cover fifty and sometimes eighty miles in a day, and arrive with enough stamina to fight a battle at the end of it. They are freakishly strong; Nekhur battlefield accounts corroborate their ability to knock several men flying with a single kick, or to shatter siege equipment with a steel-shod hoof. They have been known to reach top speeds of over sixty miles per hour for up to a mile at a time. They live for close to forty years. And most importantly, the hwiðas are remarkably intelligent: closer to a hound than to a horse. They have an intuitive ability, like many dogs, to understand their riders' mind and emotional state, his intent and his plans. Ironmarkers, for whom the hwiða is a religious symbol as well as a constant companion in war and peace, talk about this bond in spiritual terms: horse and rider are emotional, psychic partners, sharing hopes and dreams. But even outsiders cannot deny that hwiðas seem to have some rudimentary sense of tactics and forethought, an ability to predict and respond to dangers, a sense of the objectives that they are asked to perform. This makes them vastly more useful - and more dangerous - than any ordinary horse, and the extraordinary abilities of these animals have been essential to the Ironmark's long, stubborn resistance.

Location: For reasons that no one really understands, but that many scholars suspect is related to the effect of some ancient spell or curse, the hwiðas are found only in the southern foothills of the Balor Mountains - the area that is now the Ironmark. If removed for this area for more than a few years, they tend to go terrifyingly insane, or simply to die. This is yet another mystery of these already mysterious creatures.



Essential Details


Name of House: The House of Brand, also known as the Line of Brand or the Brandlings. It should be noted that this is a clan rather than a dynasty per se, one of twelve to which almost all Markers of the eórod class belong. It has over a hundred thousand members, concentrated in the north-central Ironmark. Its members are disproportionately likely to be elected as Wardens, but no one branch of the clan is singularly powerful.

Leader: Aedelfrid Brandling, Warden of the Mark.

Family Members:
  • Aedelfrid Brandling, age 47. Warden of the Mark. Educated in Salatiwara, elected as Warden in 1425 as a compromise candidate. A friendly, diplomatic, timorous man, well-liked and little-respected.
    • Wulfrun Ethundling, age 41. His wife; despite their exclusion from most social power, Marker women keep their name and property after marriage. A cultural traditionalist and patron of music.
    • Osred Brandling, age 20. His son, of late returned from school in Salatiwara, early and against his father's wishes. A brave youth, reckless even by the standards of the death-loving Ironmarkers.
    • Cynfflaed Brandling, age 18. His daughter. A quietly beautiful young woman, unmarried, much in the mold of her mother, but with a strong streak of Ymbren piety.


    • Hereward Brandling, age 36. "Cousin" of the Warden, meaning in Marker terms that they share a common ancestor somewhere in the last six generations. Educated in Myrrha, distinguished himself in 1422 campaign against Balorenes and in 1428 conflict with Valamir over the eastern Mootland. Named to the Witangemot in 1430 and led eórodain advisers at the Battle of Varla. Known to have visited Monroyal within the last six months, and thought to have been present at the Battle of Torrel. The country's greatest living commander: intelligent, honorable, pious, an aficionado of Nekhur culture and a sworn foe of the Tyrant. A man respected even by his enemies.
      • Leofflaed Sumorling, age 34. His lover; a beauty of middling renown, and - unusually - an unmarried woman of trade, who makes her living as an importer of foreign goods to the few in the Ironmark who have the coin to buy them. Their relationship is trusting, but not close, and neither believes that it amounts to a lifelong commitment.

    • Breguwise Brandling, age 62. One of the very few female members of the Witangemot; daughter of one Warden and widow of another. Thought to have the Second Sight, a pre-Ymbren superstition still alive and well in the modern Mark. A wisdom-figure for her clan, and for the whole country, whose voice carries a great deal of weight.

History: The Brandlings are, in theory, the lineal descendants of Brand Brandling: a figure quasi-mythical to the Markers (though quite well-attested in Nekhur histories) who invented the eórodain and brokered the Uncéas. They boast more than sixty Wardens - far more than any other clan - and were instrumental in both of the Ironmark's civil wars: advocates of quasi-royal power defeated in the first conflict, they became staunch constitutionalists and succeeded in the second, ushering in centuries of political stability. They tend to educate their children in Myrrha or Salatiwara, and most are fluent in Kisharite, but they also have trading contacts in the Southron realms of the coast, which has brought them slightly more wealth than the average clan. A strong tradition of Ymbren piety coexists with a high frequency of the Second Sight, especially (though not exclusively) among Brandling women. The clan straddles the center of Ironmark politics in a variety of ways, and this has been crucial to its prominence.


Assets

Home: At present, the Warden's Meadhall in Ethandune. When the clan does not hold the wardenship, its stronghold is Brandceaster: a hill-fort three leagues from Colborn and seven from the Nekhur border.

Fiefs: None per se; the Uncéas means that the Ironmark is not a feudal system, and its society is based on freeholding eórod-ranchers. But about a hundred thousand souls, spread across the north of the Marches, carry the Brandling name, and all of these do something - more out of kin solidarity than legal duty - to support the clan's leadership.

Retinue: About twelve thousand eórodain are Brandlings: roughly one-tenth of the country's total strength. How many of these would side with their clan no matter what is an open question. The clan leadership has no salaried - mercenary, in dismissive Marker parlance - retinue.



Essential Details

Name:

Appearance:

Age:

Gender:


Legacy

Allegiance:

Profession:

Background:


Beliefs

Religion:

Motivation:


Inventory


Items:

Skills:

Magical Ability: (Yes/No, if yes then what specialisations, grade, Convocation, Collegiate, or something else?)


I'd like to rework that Serebyan-Ironmark history with you. The Mootland wasn't really a desired expansion of the dominion beyond what we hold . I don't think we'd be the ones to fight three wars with


Fair enough. I had assumed from Krugmar's description that most of the Southron powers held various longstanding historical claims to the Mootland, which would make conflict over it a matter of honor for everyone involved, regardless of their assessment of its actual value - and I read Serebyan as particularly likely to be stubborn on a matter of honor such as that one, hence the three wars. But if those assumptions were mistaken, I can sure change the history.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

User avatar
Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2954
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:59 pm

All four parts of the app are now done. I will work on an IC post sometime this week. Krugmar, could you let me know what the situation is with the Tervine rebels, since Hereward and his advisers are embedded with the rebel army?

Also, a quick note on this Colborn steel that I keep mentioning: basically, it's premodern stainless steel, harder and more durable than medieval technology could otherwise produce. This is because the Colborn iron deposits are helpfully intermingled with carbon and chromium, so when you smelt it, it already has the right balance of minerals. In practice, this means that Colborn steel is easily identifiable on sight: because it's stainless, it is quite literally shinier than any other form of iron or steel available to other countries. Part of the mystique of the Eórodain is the fact that, in formation on the battlefield, the sun reflects blindingly off their armor.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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The Holy Dominion of Inesea
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14646
Founded: Jun 08, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Holy Dominion of Inesea » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:33 pm

Reverend Norv wrote:
The Holy Dominion of Inesea wrote:
I'd like to rework that Serebyan-Ironmark history with you. The Mootland wasn't really a desired expansion of the dominion beyond what we hold . I don't think we'd be the ones to fight three wars with


Fair enough. I had assumed from Krugmar's description that most of the Southron powers held various longstanding historical claims to the Mootland, which would make conflict over it a matter of honor for everyone involved, regardless of their assessment of its actual value - and I read Serebyan as particularly likely to be stubborn on a matter of honor such as that one, hence the three wars. But if those assumptions were mistaken, I can sure change the history.


The center of Serebyan is actually the smaller of the two islands that form the west coast of the inland sea. The Mootland is far from the interests of traditional Serebyan. The only reason that the Dominion controls the parts of the Mootlands that it does, the lake to the border, is because of Serelyodan desire to control main tributaries for the Aratska River Valley. The Serelyodi would have conquered up to the lake about 900 years ago and reached the current borders by at least 500 years ago. The Dominion, already disliking non-humans, would not be apt to conquer the subhuman lands. Given that, you could probably seize the Mootlands up to the first lake during the War of the Great Houses about 500 years ago, but they'd have been reconquered within a few decades. Afterwards there could be wars and skirmishes aplenty, but the borders are not liable to have changed much. At least long term.
I'm really tired

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Roman Imperator
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Founded: Feb 07, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby Roman Imperator » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:22 am

Finally!! done with with my civ app. I'll fill in my dynasty app later on. :geek:

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The Golden Empire


Essential Details

Name of Realm: The Golden Empire of Qinghan | Qinghan (heaven on earth) | The Middle Kingdom (Zhong Guo)


Rulers


The God Emperor | The Golden Emperor | Tian Kehan | The Emperor of emperors | Huang Cao Dai | The Silk Lord

Ruler of the Qinghanese and the bearer of the "Mandate of Heaven". A position inherited within the current dynastic line of Han. The current God Emperor is The Kangjin Emperor

The Celestial Cult of Sacrifice | The Celestial Cult

Xishengkai or the Path of Sacrifice is the dominant religion of Qinghan. It is led by the Priest Kings of the Celestial Cult of Sacrifice who supports and worships the God Emperor/Empress of Qinghan as the deified representative of the one true god, Huang Shangdi.

The Grand Council

The God Emperor's privy council, consisting of selected members of the imperial family and the princes of the empire's nobility who are given the rank of Grand Councillor. They handle military and administrative duties and serve to advice the God Emperor and centralize authority under the Dragon Throne.


Culture & Races


Overtime, the once isolationist Qinghan became more open to the outside world. At present, it's Golden Empire has established itself as a multicultural empire of major trade, exports and commerce. Many races are present within the Golden Empire, but there are three particular ethnic groups that dominate the rest as the rightful natives who were the first to conquer Qinghan.

The Qintai- The most dominant Qinghanese ethnic group who consider themselves the apex of the whole human species and their culture its pinnacle. As such, they are a deeply arrogant, fanatically religious and a patriotic human race, united under the Xishengkai and the ancient human tongue of Mandaran. They are often portrayed as extremely proud, aloof and superstitious, but strong-willed, intellectual and very cultured. The Qintai are described as having oriental features with narrow or slit eyes complete with fair to porcelain colored skins and black hair.

The Monggan- A major Qinghanese ethnic group of people, who are descendants of the horselords of the Monggattai Plains. Due to their origins, they tend to be more humble and less cultured than The Qintai, but are equally as proud and protective of their people's ancient traditions and superstitious beliefs. Like the Qintai, they also have similar oriental features but with more darker and tanned complexions along with a much rugged appearance.

The Jurichen - the third largest ethnic group in Qinhan who originate from the Outer Isles surrounding the main peninsula. Their ancestors were mighty corsair kings who once terrorized the Qintai and the Monggan with their lightning raids and pillaging on the mainland.


Religion


The Xishengkai - The Xishengkai meaning "Path of Sacrifice" is the worship of the one true god named Huang Shangdi. It is one of the oldest religions in the known world and the most dominant religion of Qinghan. It originates from the Qintai slaves of orcs and goblins that once roamed commonly in The Middle Kingdom before the coming of The Mortal God. The Priest Kings of the Celestial Cult believe that Huang Shangdi has sent a "divine calling" for all the mortal races to bring His paradise of peace and prosperity to all under heaven, no matter the means, and to guard such a paradise regardless of the cost. He gave the "Mandate of Heaven" to His son, The Mortal God, before sending him to earth to be the unifying beacon of the world and ensure that His Will was made a reality. Ever since The Mortal God descended, united and conquered the warring races of The Middle Kingdom, his descendants, The God Emperors, are seen as having inherited The Mandate of Heaven.

The Priest Kings preach that one must sacrifice their all to the glory of their God Emperor and the fulfillment of his Mandate of Heaven. The higher one's sacrifice, the more assured their place in eternal paradise will be. Which is why, slavery is seen as a sacred and honorable commitment in Qinghan, as they are the ones who will sacrifice the most for god and nation. There have even been records of a few slaves becoming God Emperors in their own right. The warrior monks of the Celestial Cult are responsible for the military training of the Iron Banner Legions.

The Celestial Cult are receptive to all compliant races and tolerent of religions that share similar beliefs, virtues and doctrines to their faith. As a trading empire in the center of the world, Qinghanese cities cater to a variety of different religious temples for the sake of the merchants and traders that visit them. But while worship and private educations are permitted, the public preaching of all foreign religions are banned in Qinghan.


History


The Qinghanese boasts of having one of the most ancient, advanced and wealthiest civilizations in the world. One whose culture has managed to outlived a great many into this current generation. Countless civil wars in their own lands have stopped Qinghan from outward expansions and always threatened to destroy their civilization from within. But the Qinghanese persevered and grew to become more united and hardened in the face of foreign powers that they soon realized are becoming more of a threat to them then themselves. Due to the major influence of The Xishengkai, The Golden Empire remains one of the few civilizations to show more respect and leniency to its slave populace.

Age of Heroes Era -

Ancient legends tell that The Middle Kingdom was once home to a number of native races such as orcs, goblins and lizardmen. Surrounded by such creatures, the human tribes of the Qintai, Monggan and the seafaring Jurichen, found themselves united in a constant state of war on all sides with the barbarian races. Outnumbered, the majority of the Qintai were soon enslaved by their inhuman oppressors, while their allies forsook the cause and fled to protect their own territories. Centuries of slavery were all that the Qintai knew at the end of the war and it was from the Qintai slaves that the Xishengkai was born, in the hopes of giving meaning to an already meaningless existence. To answer the cries of his chosen people, the son of Huang Shangdi was sent to the earth in all his glory. The Mortal God broke the chains off the Qintai and united them once more with the Monggan and the Jurichen to begin another war for dominance.

The barbarian races would not submit and be subservient to the cause of The Mortal God and his Father, so the divine hero decided to eradicate them all from The Middle Kingdom. He succeeded in driving the lizard-men to extinction and forcing the orcs and the goblins to flee and hide themselves within their rocky strongholds in The Wicked Mountains. The plains, forests, riverlands and lush valleys of The Middle Kingdom now belonged solely to the humans, and The Mortal God renamed the lands Qinghan, meaning "heaven on earth". He became the first God Emperor of the first Golden Empire of Qinghan and under his divine rule, peace and prosperity reigned as was dictated by the Mandate of Heaven. The legend ends, when a century later, The Mortal God fell in battle while trying to destroy the last orcs and goblin barbarians residing within the Wicked Mountain. Some accounts claim that when he died, his soul ascended into the heavens in the shape of a fiery dragon. Most of the legend are unproven accounts at best. But what is certain was that somebody did unite the ancestors of the Qinghanese and drove the barbarian races off from the lands of Qinghan. The orcs and goblins of the Wicked Mountains would continue to plague Qinghan for a thousand centuries, until the rise of the Yantze Dynasty, where they were finally exterminated.

The Three Gods Warring Period -

The children of The Mortal God, continued to inherit his Golden Empire. But the Qintai never forgot nor forgave the Monggan and the Jurichen for abandoning them as slaves to the barbarians. This rift between the three ethnic groups grew increasingly bitter overtime, until one day, the Mortal God's line of succession was endangered when its last God Emperor died without an heir. Immediately, three factions arose to elect their own candidates to the Dragon Throne. Even the Priest Kings of the Celestial Cult were divided between the three factions, which made it near impossible to reach a consensus as to who would be the next God Emperor. As a result, each faction proclaimed their own God Emperors and divided the Golden Empire into three kingdoms. The Kingdom of Yao, led by the Qintai, The Kingdom of Jat, led by the Monggan and The Kingdom of San led by the Jurichen. This let to the end of the first Golden Empire, with each kingdom fighting the other for dominance over all Qinghan.

The First Golden Age & The Rise of Mongattai -

Centuries later, a Monggan warlord from the Kingdom of Jat, would successfully defeat the other kingdoms and once again unite Qinghan under a new dynastic empire, The Mongattai Empire. Under Jagar Khan and his descendants, the Mongattai Empire would go on to rule Qinghan peacefully while dedicating itself to advancing and reforming its civilization for the next 500 years. The Mongattai Empire were the first Qinghanese sovereignty to open trade relations between Qinghan and the rest of the world. They were the ones to establish the famous "silk roads" that serve as a trading network that runs throughout the entire country. The Mongattai Empire grew immensely corrupt from all their wealth of trade and ultimately met its demise at the hands of Jurichen warlords who succeeded them as rulers of the Outer Empire or Xin Dynasty.

The Era of Exploration and the Centuries of Great Divide -

The reign of the Outer Empire, saw a unified Qinghan begin its first forays at exploring and colonizing unoccupied lands overseas. Emperor Hu Wei decided to expand Qinghanese trade relations with nearby foreign nations and aimed to spread Qinghanese rule to lands beyond The Middle Kingdom. For a time they were successful, and the Outer Empire was the first Qinghanese sovereignty to expand the territorial boundaries of Qinghan from beyond their motherland. But at the death of the heir-less Emperor Dao Xi, civil war once again erupted in The Middle Kingdom, tearing the Outer Empire apart. During its inner strife, their fledgling colonies were slowly ruined or abandoned, due to the severe disruption of crucial supply-lines between them and the mainland. Decades later, when the Qintai-controlled Ning Dynasty succeeded the Outer Empire, they attempted to reestablish contact with their lost colonies. Unfortunately by then, their abandoned lands had been long re-settled by other foreign powers. With their naval power already spent by civil wars and unable to challenge established sea-faring civilizations, the Qinghanese left these lands to the foreigners with a bitter taste in their mouth. From the time of the Ning Dynasty to the present era, Qinghan saw the rise and fall of twelve more petty empires and dynasties, all ruined by similar civil wars that plagued their predecessors.

The High Qinghan Era or The 2nd Golden Age -

At the end of the "Centuries of Great Divide", Qinghan was once again united under the Qintai-ruled Yantze Dynasty. Their empress, Han Qintian, finally wiped out the orcs and goblins of the Wicked Mountains, succeeding where even The Mortal God himself failed. This event brought back a resurgence of the Xishengkai religion and it's Celestial Cult, whose power and influence had declined severely since the fall of the Mongattai Empire. Qinghan had not been ruled by a God Emperor since the end of The Three Gods Warring Period. Taking advantage of this, the new Priest Kings of the Celestial Cult anointed Han Qintian as the first God Empress of Qinghan and gave her the additional title of Huang Cao Dai or "They of Highest Power". Under Han Qintian, Qinghan underwent a massive administrative and military reformation. The Qintian Empress centralized the Qinghanese armies and took military power away from the individual princes and warlords of The Middle Kingdom. In return, she established the Grand Council so that they may have a voice and a say in the governing of the Yantze Dynasty. She also founded the Baitang Chun Siao or Baitang Military Academy to train, educate & update her Qinghanese officers/commanders in the ever-changing ways of warfare. She created the Taizijian or Imperial College as a national central institution of higher learning for all who aspired to become imperial ministers in her government. Among all these, Wu Qintian also prioritized improving the economy of Qinghan via export of goods to foreign nations who had need of them. To protect and increase Qinghanese trade interests overseas, she set the goal to make Qinghan a naval superpower in the oceans of the Central Isles. The Qintian Empress began by greatly diminishing the manpower of her land forces by three fourths and investing it all to the creation of her Imperial Treasure Fleets. Unfortunately, she passed away before she could foresee its completion. For all her great deeds, The God Empress was given the posthumous title of "The Magnificent" and she became known as, Han Qintian The Magnificent, in the annals of Qinghanese history.

The Golden Empire Era - Present Century

One and half a century after the death of Han Qintian, her grandson, Han Kangjin, fought a brief civil war between his younger brothers to succeed as the rightful heir to the Dragon Throne. After killing his brothers and winning the so-called 100 Days War, Han Kangjin was anointed by the Priest Kings as the new God Emperor of Qinghan and became The Kangjin Emperor. Upon succeeding the throne, The Kangjin Emperor announced the end of the Yantze Dynasty and the start of a new Golden Empire of Qinghan. Under him, the great Imperial Treasure Fleets that his grandmother started, was finally finished and ready to begin their first treasure voyages around the known world.


Assets

Notable Cities:

  • Nanyangtze - Known as the Floating City of Wonder, the foundations of Nanyantze are built on several islets within a vast lagoon. It is the current capital of The Golden Empire, held and connected together by countless stone bridges spanning over numerous canals that surround towering pagodas, temples, palaces and communities of houses of Qinghanese architecture. While it is surrounded by the rocky highlands and stony alpines of the mainland, Nanyangtze is not physically connected to any of it. It has no need of walls for the only way to reach Nanyantze was through the mouth of the Bloody Bay where the humongous Three Guardians of The Heavenly Gate guard its entrance. The Three Guardians are colossal statues made of stone and bronze, each built on a rocky and mountainous islet that riddles the entrance of The Bloody Bay. They act as gigantic man-made fortresses to garrison troops and defend Nanyangtze from enemy naval invasions. Hidden beneath the bay-waters and connected between each of the Three Guardians's islets are long and thick iron chains called, Demon's Teeth, which could be raised from sea-level to block entrance to unwanted vessels. The sea-faring Jurichen were the original builders of Nanyangtze during the reign of the Outer Empire. Since then, nobody has ever been able to take Nanyangtze by force. Due to its distance to the seas and the protection it gives, Nanyangtze has thrived as the central trading hub of Qinghan for many centuries.
  • Luoyan
  • Changyai
  • Hamangdu
  • Kifeng

Economy:

Qinghan is deserving of its name and reputation as a heaven on earth. Not only is the country blessed with beautiful environments and natural resources of its own, but they are located at the center of the known world, surrounded by other civilizations of different sizes, races and cultures. As a result, the entirety of Qinghan practically serves as a trading center for all their neighboring nations. Goods of countless varieties flow through Qinghan via its ancient "silk roads" that run from one end of the country to the other, while connecting to all of its great trading cities before being exported out to foreign regions in the north, south, east and west. This fact has went on to continuously swell the country with wealth and riches beyond imagining, despite centuries of constant chaos and strife. From the Qinghanese, themselves, come precious silk, jade, tea, sugar, salt, paper, porcelain, ginseng and herbal medicines; Exotic luxury goods that, so far, only they have been able to provide in large quantities.

The core of Qinghan's economical power lies in the naturally fertile Greater Qinghan & Lower Qinghan regions, consisting of the majority of its provinces, along with all the agricultural, woodland and farming lands. From there, ginseng, rice, sugar, tea, silk, paper, bamboo & softwood timbers are grown and produced. In Central Qinghan, the region is covered by the Wicked Mountains that stretch out horizontally from west to east, barring the way into Lower Qinghan, that is accessible only through the mountain path known as the "Way of Tears". Around, within & beneath the mountains, high-grade kaolin and large nephrite & bronze deposits have been uncovered, allowing Qinghan to be one of the major crafters and exporters of porcelain-ware, bronze-ware and jade jewelry. On the rocky and mountainous Outer Isles surrounding the mainland, not much is found besides salt along with seems and veins of sulphur, saltpetre and coal. Thanks to this, gunpowder technology has been used by the Qinghanese since the reign of the Outer Empire, whose founding Jurichens were one of it's early discoverers and inventors. As a result, the alchemists and gunsmiths of Qinghan are highly-renowned for their skill and creativity in inventing gunpowder-based weaponry and other non-military utilities such as fireworks.

In return, The Golden Empire depends heavily on imports of iron, steel, gold, silver, gemstones, glass, hardwood timbers, spices, furs and various crops and livestock. In recent centuries, slaves have also become an important commodity, to work the mines & fields, as well as to serve at the pleasure of The Golden Empire's citizenry, nobility & soldiery. The Golden Empire's newly formed slave army, The Iron Banner Legions, also serve as mercenary companies whose martial services can be leased out to foreign nations for a steep price. At present, the economy of The Golden Empire has seen significant strain, due to the heavy investments in their mighty Treasure Fleets.

Population: 11,000,000 (15th century Italy) inclusive of 2,100,000 slaves.


Military

Command:

The God Emperor/Empress or The General of All Under Heaven is the supreme commander of all Qinghanese forces on both land and sea. Their power of command is delegated to the following top offices of the military hierarchy.

The Grand Admirals -

In the wake of Han Qintian's military reformations and efforts to project Qinghan's supremacy on the seas, a new level in the hierarchy of naval command has been added. Three of the oldest, most experienced and military-educated fleet admirals of the former Imperial Qinghanese Navy are given the title of Grand Admiral and command of an Imperial Treasure Fleet. Under them are the remaining fleet admirals commanding different sections that work in cohesion with one another within the large mercantile armadas. Because of the importance of this rank and role, the Grand Admirals report directly to the God Emperor himself.

The Generals or Jiangjun -

The army generals responsible for supervision and training of army officers. The Jiangjun have the top most military rank of an army division and is responsible for all the military operations of that division. All generals must be graduates of the Baitang Military Academy. Only the Grand Council, or the General of All Under Heaven, can challenge the authority of a Jiangjun.

Strength: Professional land force of 80,000 slave soldiers. Mass levy of 100,000 imperial citizens to be mobilized in times of national emergencies. Large standing naval force of 690 junks manned by 90,000 marines and sailors.

Han Qintian's aim of making Qinghan a naval superpower, meant that she had to introduce drastic changes to her entire military infrastructure. To direct much of her nation's wealth and manpower into the creation of her Treasure Fleets, the Qintian Empress issued an imperial decree, commanding all the free soldiers of the former Imperial Qinghan Army to enter the Baitang Military Academy and be re-educated in their naval branch to become sailors and marines of the Treasure Fleets. A second imperial decree was later issued, changing the recruitment of all Qinghanese volunteers to be conscripted for the navy and only the navy for a certain period of time. During this time, 3/4 of the imperial treasury was emptied to ensure that all this was made possible. Due to the great cost of creating and maintaining such an expensive fleet, the imperial treasury continues to remain 3/4 emptied, even after the death of Han Qintian and the ascension of The Kangjin Emperor to the Dragon Throne.

The Iron Banner Legions -

The end of the Three Gods Warring Period also signaled the introduction of slave soldiers into Qinghanese armies. From the time of the Mongottai Empire until Han Qintian's rise to power, about 15% of Qinghan's dynastic armies consisted of slave soldiers, who were more cheap to train and maintain than the free Qinghanese citizens. To greatly lessen the burden of the imperial treasury's military expenditure in the long-run, Han Qintian decided to compose the entirety of her land forces with a new, more well-trained and disciplined force of slave soldiers. For this, the Imperial Qinghan Army was reformed into the Iron Banner Legions.

The Iron Banner Legions consists of slave soldiers, trained from childhood by the warrior monks of the Celestial Cult as well as officer trainers from The Baitang Military Academy. The military trainers teach them the arts of warfare, marching, fighting in tactical formations, while the warrior monks strip them of all individuality to instill unbreakable discipline, unquestionable obedience & martial prowess into them. Iron Banner Legionnaires do not have wages, with everything the need being provided by their overlords. They are all indoctrinated followers & fanatics of the Xishengkai, who were taught to be nothing. For if they have nothing and are nothing, then they can sacrifice everything for The God Emperor and his paradise on earth. As reward for their ultimate sacrifice, Huang Shangdi will grant them a place in His eternal blue sky of heaven, where they will want for nothing.

Iron Banner Legions fight in formations of heavy shields, swords, pikes & dagger-axes, usually supported by longbowmen and dedicated regiments of crossbowmen wielding the deadly Qin No crossbows. Several Iron Banner Legions even have regiments of fire lancers instead of crossbowmen. Some legionnaires are trained to become horse archers/mounted skirmishers to provide their largely, infantry-based army with some semblance of light cavalry support. Legionnaires who show leadership potential are allowed to receive further military education in the Baitang Military Academy. Like it's predecessors, the true power of the Iron Banner Legions lies, not in their discipline and obedience, but in the organisational and strategical prowess of their generals. Intellectually enriched from their own ancient history of constant warfare and bloodshed, Qinghanese generals are trained to be versatile with their minds, utilizing drums, flags and light commands to issue quick orders to their armies and adapt to the flow of battle in a near instant.

To further contribute to the imperial treasury, Han Qintian created the Army Lease System. 50% of the newly-trained Iron Banner Legions will be divided into combined-arms forces of 10,000 using the ratios of 6/10 missile support and 4/10 heavy infantry. For a service period of 3 years, they will be temporarily designated as Guowai, becoming semi-independent mercenary armies, that could be leased to any foreign nation, able to afford a professional military force to fight their wars. When or if that half survives and come back from the wars, the other half will be designated Guowai and given the same turn. In this way, Han Qintian not only eased the burden of her treasury, but also made sure that her land forces remained blooded and battle-hardened while getting other nations to pay for the upkeep of half her army in 3 year periods.

Hiring an Iron Banner Legion depends heavily on a nation's stance towards The Golden Empire as well as it's current economic situation. A hiring nation is able to request for a service extension for double the original price. Iron Banner Legions are only allowed to break their contract if their masters fail to supply and maintain the upkeep of its soldiers during the 3 year period of service. In times of national emergency, Iron Banner Legions may be recalled back to defend the motherland, in which case The Golden Empire will pay back the hiring nation three times the price of the original amount. When a nation hires an Iron Banner Legion, they also hire the Qinghanese general that comes with it, which greatly increases its value. Graduating officers from the Army Branch of the Baitang Military Academy, are often attached to Iron Banner Legions who are about to be shipped out to distant wars. In this way, future greenhorn commanders gain firsthand experience under the guidance of military veterans.

The Imperial Treasure Fleets

The pride and glory of Qinghan that took nearly a century and a half to complete. Seeing that her nation was surrounded by well-established foreign powers that could choke the Qinghanese trade supply at anytime, Han Qintian's primary goal for its creation, was to ensure the freedom of the trading centers along the maritime routes for Qinghan, as well as for friendly neighboring trading partners, who have no significant naval presence in her oceans. This was an effort to further promote and increase international trade with her dynasty. That same goal is upheld by her grandson, the current God Emperor. Neither the pursuit for exclusive access, nor the forceful exploitation of foreign civilizations' wealth, was to be a feature of the Treasure Fleet's expeditions. The secondary goal bolstered the first, as its aim was to project Qinghanese military presence on all the waters surrounding Qinghan, in order to stabilize sea passages from hostile entities and strengthen their own position and status as a naval power within the region.

An Imperial Treasure Fleet is seen as a floating city of trade, similar to The Golden Empire's capital of Nanyangtze, with the exception that it can move. The prize of the Imperial Treasure Fleets are its colossal "Baoshans" or Treasure ships. Measuring between 440 and 538 feet long by 210 feet wide, the 4-decked Baoshans had an estimated displacement of 20-30,000 tons with each having nine masts on its deck, rigged with square sails that could be adjusted in series to maximize efficiency under different wind conditions. Before her death, Han Qintian ordered at least 60 Treasure ships to be built. Since then, that order has increased tenfold under the reign of her son and grandson. At present, there are now 90 Treasure ships in total, along with 600 junks to guard and maintain the entire Treasure Fleets.

Currently, the total Qinghanese naval power has been divided into three Imperial Treasure Fleets, consisting of 200 junks and 30 treasure ships each. Within the fleets are specialized vessels that play a cohesive role in either maintaining or protecting the armada. Eight-masted ships, called "Machuan" or "horse ships," that are about 2/3 the size of the Baoshans and measuring approximately 340 feet by 138 feet, are responsible for carrying horses, along with timber for repairs and tribute goods. They are followed by the seven-masted "Liangchuan" or grain ships, carrying rice and other food supplies for the sailors and marines in the fleet. Next come the "Zuochuan" junks or troopships, serving as barracks for the marines during the voyages. Finally, there are the small, five-masted warships or "Zhanchuan," each about 165 feet long, all designed for maneuverability in battle.


Diplomatic Relations

Interests:
  • Naval supremacy on the seas of The Central Isles and the security of Qinghanese trade interests from foreign powers.
  • Use of the Treasure Fleets to promote and increase international trade with The Golden Empire.
  • Use of the Treasure Fleets to refill the imperial coffers and supplement the economy by establishing greater trade with civilizations at the edges of the known world.

Rivals: The Kniazite League and other foreign powers with a significant naval presence.


Other Information

Location:
https://imgur.com/a/y1WeiEM


Image


Essential Details

Name of House: The House of Han | The Han Dynasty

Leader: Han Kangjin | The Kangjin Emperor

Family Members:
Han Qintian - Founder/God Empress/Grandmother (deceased)
Han Sheunfeng - God Emperor/Father (deceased)
Han Liuxe - usurper/younger brother (deceased)
Han Dongzu - usurper/younger brother (deceased)
Han Wudao - usurper/youngest brother (deceased)
Lin Fei - Queen Empress/Wife (deceased)
Children by the Queen Empress
Han Wu'er - oldest son/crown prince {Age:25}
Han Biyu - oldest daughter/princess {Age: 25}
Han Shangxe - older son/prince {Age:23}
Han Lifen - older daughter/princess {Age: 21}
Han Liling - younger daughter/princess {Age: 19}
Han Li Zhi - youngest son/prince {Age:18}
Han Ling - younger daughter/princess {Age:16}
Han Jingfei - younger daughter/princess {Age:15}
Han Dongmei - younger daughter/princess {Age:14}
Han Meirong - youngest daughter/princess {Age: 12}

History: (If their history is outlined in a nation's history, feel free to blank this with a referral)


Assets

Home:

Fiefs:

Retinue: (If a ruling family, only if they are considered separate from the nation's military i.e. in a coup they would always side with their benefactors)
Just here to Roleplay. Don't bother sending me regional invitational TGs. I'll know how to join if I want to.

Call me Rom/Roman or whatever floats your boat....


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Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States
P2TM RP Mentor
 
Posts: 20027
Founded: Feb 20, 2012
Democratic Socialists

Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:43 am

Krugmar wrote:And the Political map has been updated, with the NPCs for Northern Minilar added. I will be adding them to the OP to flesh them out as I update it, but feel free to ask me any questions about them. And of course to anybody thinking of applying, feel free to app for their territories, or multiple territories.

I’m looking into making a second app for a country more involved in the politics in the North. Is this okay, and if it is, could give a rough description of what you had in mind for Valamir, Imlihir, Serebyani, Torvost, and Avencor?
The name's James. James Usari. Well, my name is not actually James Usari, so don't bother actually looking it up, but it'll do for now.

Lack of a real name means compensation through a real face. My debt is settled


Part-time Kebab tycoon in Glasgow.

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Elysian Kentarchy
Senator
 
Posts: 4606
Founded: Nov 19, 2014
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Elysian Kentarchy » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:15 am

Is the reservation map up to date? Don't want to write something for a location and find out it is reserved.


Celivaia wrote:"Today is a great day. Recently, we completed a project that will greatly help the Salarian Union in it's fight, and while I cannot divulge information about this project, I am pleased to announce that this project was no small feat, and for his dedication, work, and pure, brilliant genius, we have a special award for this Salarian. We cannot divulge the name of this operative, but we have given him a special award, the "Star of the Union," and as an added bonus, we have decided to rename this, our home planet, after him. As of this moment, you are now standing on Solus'Kesh."

Philosophy and Religion Major

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Krugmar
Minister
 
Posts: 2114
Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:27 am

Roman Imperator wrote:-snip- Middle Kingdom


I have some reservations about this app, namely about its location and its base in Chinese culture.

For the former it presents quite a culture shock, a sudden switch from nations based on Western Europe to one based on China. It’d be better if it were moved to the southern parts of Minilar, which brings me to my point on the latter. Certain aspects seem heavily based on a China while lacking the conditions that made them possible.

Now I don’t want to make it seem like you can’t do something inspired by a Chinese history, it’d just be best if you moved the location and changed certain aspects to make it clear that these people are likely somewhat distant from their cultural centre. I’d recommend looking at the Western Liao for an example of a Culturally Sinic elite in a less China-dominated sphere, for inspiration.

Elysian Kentarchy wrote:Is the reservation map up to date? Don't want to write something for a location and find out it is reserved.


The latest political map should be up to date, bar Kerwick which is now the Ironmark.
Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States wrote:I’m looking into making a second app for a country more involved in the politics in the North. Is this okay, and if it is, could give a rough description of what you had in mind for Valamir, Imlihir, Serebyani, Torvost, and Avencor?


That’s certainly okay. Just to note none of what I had in mind is binding, nor are the territories of the NPCs.

For Valamir I envisioned it politically as a later France, one like under Francis I. A strong nobility exists, but the monarchy has managed to accrue a good deal of power through extensive royal domains and successful use of appanage.

Avencor is perhaps its opposite, based upon France at its weakest. Cadet dynasties rule their appanages as semi-independent states, the monarchy is beset by overmighty provincial nobles, and the duchies often flout royal control.

For Imlihir I hadn’t decided if it was to be an elf realm or an embattled duchy. Nothing concrete really. For Torvost the same.

The Serebyani Dominion is Inesea’s nation, so I would recommend checking its app for more info.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Roman Imperator
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Founded: Feb 07, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby Roman Imperator » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:36 am

Krugmar wrote:
Roman Imperator wrote:-snip- Middle Kingdom


I have some reservations about this app, namely about its location and its base in Chinese culture.

For the former it presents quite a culture shock, a sudden switch from nations based on Western Europe to one based on China. It’d be better if it were moved to the southern parts of Minilar, which brings me to my point on the latter. Certain aspects seem heavily based on a China while lacking the conditions that made them possible.

Now I don’t want to make it seem like you can’t do something inspired by a Chinese history, it’d just be best if you moved the location and changed certain aspects to make it clear that these people are likely somewhat distant from their cultural centre. I’d recommend looking at the Western Liao for an example of a Culturally Sinic elite in a less China-dominated sphere, for inspiration.


Ah I see. No worries, I'll either try to find another location or simply just redo this app to have a more western base.
Just here to Roleplay. Don't bother sending me regional invitational TGs. I'll know how to join if I want to.

Call me Rom/Roman or whatever floats your boat....


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