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  • For Cid

    Here are some events that make up the known history of Gaile and their estimated dates PCY (Pre-Common Year) or CY (Common Year):

    The First Darkness, a period of frozen, impenetrable gloom fills the heavens for years untold until it erupts into a chaos of churning elemental forces. Stars and nascent worlds, devoid of life and wreathed in flame, coalesce throughout the heavens. Out of the maelstrom of burning worlds and colliding stars comes the first of living beings, The Great Old Ones.

    Born amid swirling vortices of destruction The Great Old Ones were terrible creatures, monstrosities that battled among the stars for eons, destroying newly-formed planets in their wake. From the blood of these Elder Gods and the remains of shattered worlds sprang The Elemental Lords.
    These beings fashioned our world and its sisters amid the destruction reeked by The Great Old Ones, hiding their creations from the unremitting violence of their forebears. In this task they were aided by elemental factotums that helped shape the surface of those worlds according to the wishes of their lords. It is said that the same creative force that ended The First Darkness, and brought about both Elder Gods and Elemental Lords, brought inspiration to the greatest of these elemental servants.
    30,000 PCY: Not content to toil for the masters’ benefit, seven elemental servants defied their lords and brought life to the barren worlds they fashioned. These seven, rebellious, factotums worked to foster their creations. Unlike their sires, who only sought to create a refuge for themselves, the seven nurtured their mortal servants and granted them autonomy. As such it is to these beings that the sentient races of Gaile pay homage, revering them as The Defiant Gods. The amoral Elemental Lords, on the other hand, are seen as distant and beyond petition; while The Great Old Ones are largely unknown to the people of Gaile. The Defiant Gods include:
    • Aeldris, the bringer of law and wisdom, god of sovereigns
    • Caledh, god of the wilds, the hunter-god and lord of beasts
    • Illandae, the dreamer, goddess of inspiration and the arts
    • Maedra, goddess of insight, healer and protector
    • Thryd, the Frost-Maiden, death-goddess and scribe of fate
    • Tyros, harvest-god, fertility god and god of brewers
    • Uldrem, lord of storms and the seas
    The Defiant Gods fashion treants, the elder fey, such as sylphs, dryads, nymphs and fossergrim, and true giants (storm giants, fire giants, frost giants and stone giants) from the fabric of the world to serve as its stewards, much as the Elemental Lords created elementals. These creatures venerate their creators.
    Tensions crops up almost immediately between these creatures and the elemental minions of The Elemental Lords. This, in turn, leads to strife between the Elemental Lords and The Defiant. After years of conflict, the loyalties of the fire and frost giants shift to the Elemental Lords.
    The conflict also leads some of the more powerful, and malicious, servants of The Elemental Lords to create the races of trolls and dragonkind. Chief among these Fallen Lords is Moloth, a lord of fire, ash and soot, who sought to aid the giants in their struggles against the creations of The Defiant Gods and, in doing so, gain their worship and his own rise to power.

    20,000 - 15,000 PCY: Birth of the Elves: From the union of elder fey and godlings, known as servitors, the elven race is born. The first lines of elves awaken beneath the stars, on the shores of the Western Ocean (Ulmar Avandai) and migrate northward to the great mountains of the west, Arn Illandir (Moongates), and eastward towards Arn Haldari (Sungates), settling in the forests and along the shore of Lake Naeril in central Gaile. Unlike the elder fey, elves are not bound to a specific grove, spring, or forest and migrate throughout Gaile. Elves establish vast forest realms and settle along the shores of Lake Naeril, laying the foundations of the great citadels at Asgiroth and Esgavule.
    During this period lesser fey (also called faeries) such as sprites, pixies, and brownies are created as guardian spirits and watchers of the forests by the gods of nature. Unlike the elder fey, faeries are not bound to a specific grove, spring, or forest and migrate throughout Gaile. Over the following thousands of years, the races of gnomes and halflings are descended from the faerie races of phooka, leprechaun, and brownie-folk.

    15,000 PCY: Sundering of the Elves: The high elves of Asgiroth (Whitecliff) are corrupted through the machinations of Bes, who is bent on the domination of Gaile’s mortals. Bes crafts Illariun, a magnificent black opal, and presents it as a gift to the high elven queen, Aenori. This magnificent gem, set upon a mithril crown, is said to grant her great insight into, and influence over, the minds of her subjects. The realm of Aenori and her consort, Kharec, prospers under their rule, which becomes increasingly tyrannical and oppressive.
    Over time the Kingdom of the Asgiroth encroaches upon the sylvan elven realm of Celindale. Niriel, daughter of King Halengir of Celindale, warns her people of the dark influence that has gripped the elves of Asgiroth and foretells of a great war between their kingdoms.
    The Sundering of the Elves begins when the high elves of Asgiroth annex sylvan elven lands, leading to a massive war between these two kingdoms of elves. The war is fought upon Ulmirdon (The Golden Sea), vast grasslands bordering the southwestern expanse of Celindale. As years of civil war decimate the two most powerful elven realms, Aeldris intervenes. His servitors fight alongside the elves of Celindale, leading them to victory over the Kharec’s forces.
    Aenori flees from her battle-ravaged kingdom and seeks the shelter of Bes, Lady of Lies, while Kharec remains as commander of Asgiroth’s might. Following his defeat, many elves of Asgiroth are driven into exile, hiding within vast caverns beneath the Shadowroot Mountains. Ulmirdon serves as the grave for over 20,000 elves, including the Forest King, and is renamed Olmad Nolgr (The Sea of Corpses).
    Following the defeat of Kharec, the elves remaining in Asgiroth fall into civil strife as those loyal to Aenori and Kharec wage war upon those loyal to the elven lord Osriel. The bitter struggle razes most of the city, and brings about a wasting plague that drives many from the ruins of Asgiroth. During the struggles Osriel shatters Illariun, releasing many held in thrall to its power.
    Osriel, crowned king by his host of exiles, entreats Niriel, queen of the sylvan elves, for peace. Osriel’s people are pardoned by Niriel but, unable to return to the Asgiroth, march northward. Osriel and his followers found the city of Esgavul (Whitegull) many leagues to the north, along the shores of The Middle Sea.
    Years of darkness, isolation, and bitterness twist the elven followers of Kharec into the dark elven subrace. Following his defeat, the gravely wounded Kharec is taken into Bes’s service after taking the life of Aenori as his last act of grief and despair. It is rumored that the offspring of Bes and Kharec are the first of the cursed goblinoid and orcish races. These mockeries of the
    elven people act, at first, as a servant-race to the dark elves. Bes is cast from the heavens and joins the ranks of The Fallen Lords.

    12,000 PCY: The Forging of the Dwarves: After hundreds of years goblins, orcs, trolls, and dark elves rise from the bowels of the Shadowroot Mountains, through a series of cave-mouths called The Mouth of Hell (Borukhel), slaughter the high elven guardians of Asgiroth, and raze most of the city. Following this, the vast army of Kharec the Deathless sets alight the Celindale and slaughters many of Niriel’s people.
    Ord, with the approval of Aeldris, forges the race of dwarves from the very stone from which trolls were formed. With armies of these dwarves under his command, Ord comes to the aid of the elves of Celindale and drives Kharec, once more, into hiding. Following the battle the dwarves begin their migration from central Gaile to all corners of the vast continent.

    11,500 PCY: The first meetings of elves and dwarves at Arn Illandir (The Moongates) and Arn Haldari (The Sungates) leads to a series of small skirmishes, as the races argue their claims to these mountain realms. Outnumbered and disgusted, the dwarves embark upon their Trail of Sorrow, toward Asgiroth and Tol Gorog (Grim Peaks).

    11,000 PCY: Dwarves drive goblins from Asgiroth and most of Tol Gorog under the leadership of Duergrid Angreddin, Daroc Morudson, and Baldrim Greybeard. The dwarves divide into ten clans and search for more territories to claim as their birthright.

    10,750 PCY: The Betrayal of Clan Angreddin Duergrid Angreddin, head of clan Angreddin and Dwarven Lord of Asgiroth, is corrupted by a shard of Illariun found within the ruins of Asgiroth. Through it, and its false promise of power, Duergrid grows increasingly paranoid and driven by greed. He and his 10 sons call forth an avatar of Moloth and kill his clan council in order to wrest total control over their clan. The line of Angreddin is cursed through these actions, driven deep beneath the earth as they become ever-more sensitive to the light of the sun. In time the scions of the Angreddin clan become the dwarven subrace of duergar. Eventually the high elves reclaim the abandoned citadel of Asgiroth.

    10,000 PCY: The Wasting: Years of warfare by elves and dwarves against the races of goblinoids, trolls and dark elves leads to The Wasting, a terrible plague that also blights the lands of Gaile. Treants and the elder fey suffer unrelenting agony and die in great numbers. Other forest dwellers suffer as the blight kills most sources of sustenance and causes pestilence to spread throughout Gaile. In Gaile’s mountains, dwarves wage ceaseless war against hosts of troll and goblin armies.

    9,500 PCY: The Rise of Mankind: The gods, lamenting the demise of the fey, elven and dwarven races through unceasing, bloody battles against the foul creations of Moloth and Bes, create the race of Man from the blood of Aeldris. To this race is given the gifts of fertility, adaptability and ingenuity.

    9,000 PCY: The First Great War: Over the next millennium, the races of dwarves and elves guide the “Child Race,” teaching them much in the ways of craft and lore. Many battles are fought by the united forces of humans, dwarves and elves against the corrupted races of The Fallen Lords.
    Nearly 200 years of fighting follow, involving all of the races of Gaile as well as the servitors of the gods and Fallen Lords. Widespread death and destruction makes central Gaile into a veritable wasteland. All races are driven to near extinction in The First Great War. Survivors of the war fall to the famine and pestilence that grips all of Gaile.

    8,800-7,500 PCY: The races of Gaile recover from the devastation of the Great War. This era is marked by great cooperation among the races of Gaile, with great exchanges of knowledge, culture and goods taking place.

    7,500 - 5,000 PCY: This period of time is called The Great Migration, a time when races of humans, elves and dwarves sought new frontiers and explored that far reaches of Gaile. Small wars erupt over disputed territorial claims, but these are minor compared to past wars. During the relative peace of this era, the pursuit of knowledge and the arts leads to great technological and social changes throughout the realms of Gaile. Cities grow mighty along the coasts, rivers and trade routes that link the realms of the three races.

    4,500-3,000 PCY: Theological and scientific studies lead to the study of Arcanology in the major cities of Gaile. Once shrouded in mystery, the manipulation of magic becomes accessible to those academics who immerse themselves into this burgeoning discipline.
    The use of magic leads to leaps of knowledge, productivity and creativity. Both construction and destruction are aided through its use, as magic is employed in all manner of craft and upon the field of battle. Over time, masters of magic, called Archons, become increasingly at odds with the priests of The Defiant.
    Priests of the gods consider these powerful wizards to be grasping traitors, who sought to deify themselves through the use of magic. The Sect of Aedhr acts as intermediary between the Archons and priests of The Defiant, trying desperately to quell the rising storm caused by their conflict.
    Seizing this opportunity servants of Moloth and Bes emerge from long years of hiding and send their avatars into the world to gather those hostile to The Defiant. Desperate to turn the tide in their struggle against The Defiant Gods, The Fallen Lords call upon the Elemental Lords in the hope that they sought retribution against the their former servants. The Elemental Lords, however, remain impassive and leave The Fallen Lords to their machinations.
    In desperation Bes and Moloth seek to create rifts in the barriers that shield Gaile from the notice of The Great Old Ones, so that they may commune with those beings and gain power through them. Disciples of The Fallen Lords are charged with the task of creating gates to the “elseworlds” that are home to these powers in order to channel their power.
    To bring practitioners of magic into their service, The Eldritch Spire is erected in the greatest city of Gaile, Tarn Hirrod. Its warlock, sorcerer, and wizard adherents, The Assembly of Magi, spread their arcane knowledge, and their opposition to The Defiant, throughout the lands. The influence of The Assembly of Magi leads to religious upheaval and political turmoil, as the corruption of The Fallen Lords turns the lands’ rulers against their gods and each other. Servants of The Eldritch Spire establish gates to an alternate Prime Material Plane ruled by illithid followers of The Sleeping Gods, who use these gates to begin their infiltration of Gaile.
    Meanwhile, the monstrous agents of The Fallen Lords renew their attacks upon the strongholds of their ancient enemies. The Great Wyrm, Chrysophyllax, terrorizes the Kingdom of Edanil and weakens its defenses against the waves of inhuman marauders that ceaselessly attack its northern borders.

    3,000 PCY: The Second Great War pits the priests of The Defiant against The Assembly of Magi, kingdom against kingdom, and the unholy creations of The Fallen Lords against the races of mankind, elf, and dwarf. Years of unremitting warfare follow, ending with a cataclysmic meteor strike that obliterates much of central Gaile, splitting Gaile into the continents of Avandunil (The Western Lands) and Estegalle (Eastern Gaile). The epicenter of this catastrophe is The Eldritch Spire, which was located in what was then central Gaile.

    2,730-1 PCY: Once again, the races of Gaile fight their way back from the brink of destruction. The Men of the West (Avadain) gradually unite the people of Avandunil and rebuild great kingdoms out of the ashes of The Second Great War.
    In Estegalle, savagery and chaos reign over the lands, as starved and desperate tribes wage war over fertile lands and hunting grounds. Small clanholds are the only semblance of civilization during this period of time. As the kingdoms of Avandunil grow mighty, the people of Estegalle start to form petty kingdoms that are locked in constant war. In 1035 PCY, the Tribe of Maurid, followers of Shar’edan the Wise, establish the Kingdom of Mauridia in the banks of the River Sahavim in the wilderlands beyond the Sheltering Sea.
    The first waves of Avadain conquerors begin arriving on the shores of Estegalle in 12PCY.

    See each land’s description for the history of the Third Historical Period. The year 1 marks the year of the first permanent Avadain settlement on Estegalle, the fortress town of Caer Lyon or Lion’s Fort. This campaign begins in the Gaile Common Year of 575 (1610 by Mauridian Reckoning).

    Bastok & Windurst Rank 10. ZM, CoP, ToAU, WoTG, ACP, MKD, ASA & SOA Complete.
    99 Kannagi / 99 Armageddon / 119 Nirvana Adventuring Fellow: Level 99
    99 SMN / 99 NIN / 99 COR / 99 WHM / 99 PUP / 99 BLM / 99 THF / 99 SCH / 99 GEO

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    Re: For Cid

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    The continent of Estegalle is divided, principally, into ten regions ruled by humans. Of these, the lands of Caerleon, Suttegarde, Mauridia and Kashgar are called the Great Dominions. The vast Plains of Algur are home to three semi-nomadic tribes, Carmascia, Sarathia and Voruskai, collectively called The Tribes of Vors. To the extreme north and southeast are found Narahim, Yssgelund and Vinnisklad, which are known to men of The Great Dominions as the “Savage Lands.”

    Before the coming of the Avadain (Men of the West) this land was held by the Maelnach peoples, their elven allies and, in its northern climes, by Yssgelundian jarls. After several centuries of war and expansion the Avadain had claimed all of the Maelnach lands, from the western shores of Estegalle to the vast Plains of Algur.
    To the north the tall, fair men of Yssgelund repeatedly sacked Caerleon’s fortress-cities and all-but-crushed legions of Avadain forces sent against them.
    To the south, across Wrathborn Sea, the domains of the proud and cruel Mauridians stood poised to drive the Avadain back across the Western Ocean. The Mauridians had with ancestral ties to Avadain but were set against their kin through the preaching of their emperor, Shar’edan the Wise. Having been prophesied by their Emperor, the arrival of Avadain forces upon the shores of Estegalle brought immediate and unremitting war with the Cirhedin of Mauridia.
    Faced by opposition from all sides the Avadain could not hope to conquer the whole of western Estegalle but managed to bring order and prosperity to the lands they held. The Maelnach, driven to the north and east, were forced to settle in the foothills and forests south and west of the Ostenberg Mountains or were gradually assimilated into Avadain society.
    Great cities grew along coastlands and in fertile river valleys. Dwarves of the Carroc clan, who opposed the Avadain, saw several of their strongholds stormed, their treasures brought into the sunlit world to be used by the conquerors of Caerleon. The elves, who had aided the Maelnach in their earliest days, hid themselves from the Avadain and fortified their mighty citadels in order to hold their ancestral lands against the “Lions of the West.” Soon stonework fortresses lined the border territories of Caerleon and great roads spread out like a vast web, linking the growing cities of the Avadain people.
    With the passage of time Yssgelundians managed to reclaim much of northern Caerleon while Yssgelundian raiders and hordes of nomadic tribesmen claimed the plains east of Caerleon, eventually uniting under the leadership of Overlord Ceordan to become The Tribe of Vors.
    Treaties made with the dwarves of the Carroc clan saw the return of heirlooms and payment of reparations to the dwarven people, while the elves, faced with the growing might of men, increasingly sought shelter in the wild lands of Estegalle rather than dwell in citadel “islands” surrounded by Caerleonic lands. Eventually Mauridia completely drove the Avadain forces out of their lands and crushed any chance for a united Estegalle under Avadain rule.
    So it came to be that King Bael the Fair ruled a kingdom and people that were estranged from their former greatness. Most in Caerleon came to bear little resemblance to the mighty Avadain who once landed on Estegalle’s shores so many years before. In order to ensure their survival, the lords of Caerleon were forced to make truces with the northmen who harried their northern holdings. All Avadain claims to the lands of modern day Suttegarde were rescinded some 250 years ago.
    Thirty years ago, after repeated and devastating raids upon the eastern marches of Caerleon and Suttegarde, a united force of Caerleonic and Suttegardian troops took to the plains of the Voruskai in order exact vengeance upon the Overlord of the Voruskai, Morikai. To mollify the pride of the Avadain king, Bael the Elder was given command of these forces and the rampant lion of Caerleon flew highest upon the lances of the standard bearers. When, four months later, the Overlord’s daughter returned the King’s head to Caerleon, it was ordered that Caerleon would have no king or queen save Morikai of Vors. Furthermore, an annual tribute was exacted as reparations for the attack on Voruskaid lands while lands were ceded to the Carmascians of the western plain.
    Today Bael’s grandson, Gueran Dennigal, acts as the elected Lord Regent of the lands. With the weakened ties of the Voruskai tribes and the resulting reduction in their might, Caerleon has begun, over the past decades, to recover. This prosperity is aided by the Caerleon’s wealth of resources, including its rich soil, deposits of silver, tin and copper, and an abundance of yew, oak, ash, and hickory wood. The moderate climate allows Caerleon’s farms to be the most productive in Estegalle; its vineyards and livestock are unsurpassed. Duchies to the East are gradually reclaiming lost lands and trade routes are being reclaimed from Carmascian bandits and raiders.
    In order to meet the challenge of reviving Caerleon, Gueran has adopted measures that earlier Avadain rulers would have railed against. First, Gueran is assisted in this urgent undertaking, the rebuilding of a kingdom, by a mage, Hirrel Tanissant. The Avadain mistrust of mages and reliance on patriarchal advisement made such a measure highly unorthodox. Secondly, breaking from the autocratic monarchies of his forefathers, Gueran’s post as Lord Regent makes him accountable to a body of representatives, called the Ducal Assembly. These men, representatives of each duchy and their respective earldoms, are entrusted to advise the Lord Regent on behalf of the landholders they represent and elect a new Lord Regent every seven years.
    Knights are the enforcers of the Assembly’s laws and are authorized to dispense low justice in the name of the Regent. Local Lord Magistrates act as judges for more serious crimes. The majority of Caerleon’s military might rests in its vast army of professional soldiers, the ranks of Caerleon’s Legions. In border and coastal cities, mercenary orders of warriors have profited from the turmoil that has gripped these lands.

    Nestled between the Cloudspire Mountains and the Enyros River, and located at the foot of The Titans mountain range, is Kashgar. Kashgar is dominated by foothills and river valleys. Like the vast plains to its north, northern Kashgar is semi-arid, with rocky soil ill- suited to most farming or travel.
    Traversing these lands is a feat for any man not accustomed to such rough terrain, as few proper roads or areas with level ground are to be found in Kashgar’s foothills. Horses are practically useless for long-distance travel; one’s best aid in travel is a sturdy pair of boots or sandals that protect against the hard and jagged earth of the Kashgari hill-lands. The lands of the south are more forgiving, yielding crops such as dates, grapes, olives and wheat, and level enough to accommodate the numerous roads that connect Kashgar’s coastal cities. Kashgar’s coastal communities have grown to become key centers of trade, vast walled cities of marble and granite that are kingdoms unto themselves. Alliances and trade with Mauridia helped shape the development of these cities and their culture.
    The Kashgari came to value the superior engineering, mathematics and scientific knowledge of the Mauridians, incorporating these disciplines into their teachings and erecting universities within their larger cities. Study of arcane lore was also instituted, though the rational scholars of Kashgar saw magic as a science unto itself and spurned the Mauridian mingling of magic and theology.
    As southern Kashgar grew into a nexus for trade and knowledge, its merchant and military fleet of ships grew, allowing Kashgari merchants to trade with all of the nations of Estegalle. In the meanwhile, northern communities thrived through the riches that their hills offered up; rich veins of ore and precious gems were found in abundance beneath the sparse foothills of The Titans range. Skilled artisans from Mauridia and southern Kashgar traveled north, establishing the Estegalle’s finest smithies in the well-fortified keeps of the north. The north also became the proving grounds for Kashgar’s growing army, which was charged with the defense of the region’s great wealth. The Kashgari people are a logical, mercantilist people who enjoy the lifestyle afforded by their wealth.
    Today each city is a state onto itself, ruled by a council of senators that represents each city’s powerful factions and families. These plutarchs act as the administrators and legislators their cities. Enforcement of the law and defense of each city- state is the responsibility of each city’s army, which is commanded by a senate-appointed general. These cities are loosely allied under the rule of King Tyrtaeus of Triphos, a ruthless and peerless leader in matters of state and war. Tyrtaeus has, in his 25-year rule, limited Mauridia’s influence in Kashgari politics and trade. Kashgar’s coastal cities all maintain war fleets that are second only to those of Mauridia’s armada.
    Most who live within Kashgar’s cities shun religion of any kind, likening it to idle superstition meant for the simple of mind. This does not prevent urban Kashgari from calling upon the gods in times of trouble or holding onto superstitious beliefs; it only makes such practices distasteful and worthy of scorn. Rural folk still worship The Defiant Gods; honoring them upon full moons, the changing of the seasons, and at other auspicious times. Oracles are still consulted for their wisdom, even within large cities, and are regarded as wise men with knowledge of the world unseen. Like Mauridia, Kashgar employs slaves from other regions, as well as indentured servants, using them primarily as laborers in cities and along roads, as miners, and as house servants. Kashgari slaves are treated far more humanely than those of Mauridia, with Kashgari slaves being able to buy their freedom. Gladiatorial sport, involving slaves, seekers of glory, and those desperate enough to enter the arena in search of coin or renown, is practiced in Kashgar’s larger cities.

    Mauridia is the oldest civilization in Estegalle and its people the first to thrive after the gods rent the great continent of Gaile into Estegalle and Avandunil. Those of Estegalle who survived the cataclysm found themselves struggling to survive in an inhospitable land; cast into darkness and facing the plagues and upheaval of nature that wracked their lands.
    While the men of other lands waged near-constant war with each other, fighting desperately for food and land; the Tribe of Maurid, under advisement of their leader, Shar’edan the Wise, traveled south, away from the warring of northmen, plainsmen and Maelnach tribesmen. Their long journey through The Sheltering Sea desert shielded them from the wars that gripped the northern lands but saw the death and near-starvation of many of their number until, at last, refuge was found along the fertile banks of the River Sahavim.
    Shar’edan, of the line of Mauridoc, was revered as the great leader of his people and came to be worshipped as their savior. His laws and rule raised the Mauridians out of the chaos that the gods had visited upon them, bringing prosperity, unity and peace to the deserving Mauridian people. Over many years, cities began to grow about the temples raised in his honor and, as the years passed, the “petty gods” were thoroughly cast aside as Shar’edan became the universal object of their worship. Shar’edan, whose reign spanned nearly three centuries, sought to educate his people, particularly his priests. Promising youths were sent into the service of Shar’edan’s inner council, the Sarnhedin or Seat of Wisdom, to study the philosophies of The Old One.
    Because of his laws, nearly all Mauridians are literate and learned in the history of their people. Mathematics, science, theology, and philosophy are taught at universities throughout Mauridia. By subtly infusing these teachings with his own doctrines, Shar’edan has united the Mauridians into a fiercely nationalistic people who despise the superstition of the “petty gods” and the “savages” of Caerleon and Suttegarde who still worship them. Slaves from these, and other, lands are kept by wealthier Mauridians and seen as sub-human by all Mauridians, who enjoy watching slave-fights in the large arenas of Mauridian cities.
    Today the Sarnhedin, in conjunction with the various guilds of each city, govern the cities of Mauridia in the name of the current empress, Correna. The Sarnhedin enforces the Laws of Shar’edan through its warrior-priests, the Ankallibec. Counts are responsible for counties which usually encompass 1 or 2 cities. While they only hold as much power as any other member of the Sarnhedin within the cities, they alone command the people of the surrounding lands and its troops. These troops are made up of the Ankallibec and of supporting levy forces.
    The mighty Armada of Mauridia patrols the sea-lanes surrounding Mauridia, attacking all hostile ships and protecting Mauridian and Kashgari merchants. Through this, the Mauridians are able to collect high tariffs at their ports and ensure that trade is restricted as best befits the coffers of Mauridia.
    Mauridians wear layered robes over tunics that protect against the sun and heat of their homeland, with wealthier members wearing silks and jewelry instead of cotton or muslin garb. Rural garb and that of the Avadain exiles is not dyed, in shades of pale brown or white. Silks are often dyed in rich shades of purple, blue, grey and black; with delicate patterns embroidered into the edges of robes and tunics. Sandals are common footwear, though boots are often worn in urban areas and by the wealthy. Members of religious orders wear pale white robes and tunics in public. Slaves are typically branded with the sigil of their owner.
    Among the Mauridian people, the virtues of reason, bravery, temperance, honesty and respect for one’s elders and superiors are valued. Mauridians are guarded around outsiders, often adopting stern or haughty airs around strangers. With family and friends, however, Mauridians share their warmth and dry humor.
    The lands of Mauridia are divided into three provinces, each ruled by one of the Empress’ personal advisors. These legates oversee the administration of the counties and cities within their province, disciplining or rewarding their inferiors as their empress wills. Elite guards and eunuch servants serve the legates. They are transported in ornate caravans, riding in vast, silk-covered palanquins that are guarded by an honor guard of Ankallibec. The palaces of the legates are mighty strongholds; filled with stores of wealth, weapons and books of lore. These citadels are cities unto themselves, provisioned by the surrounding farmlands and by endless streams of merchants who are granted special permission to trade in these Holy Fortresses.
    The Empress is rarely seen by any except her Lord Stewards and her handpicked Guardians of the Phoenix, drawn from the most powerful members of the Ankallibec. It is believed by most Mauridians that the current Empress is an avatar of the god Shar’edan, Keeper of Mauridia. In keeping with this belief, which underlies most of the Empress’ power, she has adopted Shar’edan’s symbol, the Phoenix, as her own; a symbol of Shar’edan’s rebirth.
    The Holy City of Estelline (the Eastern Star), situated at the mouth of the River Sahavim, is the Empress’ home and the capital city of Mauridia. Pilgrims from all of Mauridia come to pay homage to their divine ruler, filling the Outer City within their numbers. The Outer City is the largest city in Estegalle, a bustling center of worship and trade. The Inner City is off limits to all save those who have been granted permission by Estelline’s Sarnhedin. This portion of the city is awe-inspiring, a walled-fortress with towering spires and ancient architecture that could only be accomplished with the aid of magic. An army of Ankallibec guards this city, though they have never had to fight invaders in the 1,600 years since the city’s founding.

    Once a part of Caerleon, Suttegarde represented the northern frontier of the Avadain kingdom, its line of border fortresses acting as a shield against Northmen raids. Each year the Yssgelundians advanced further into northern Caerleon, eventually overrunning its border defenses, slaughtering the stalwart Order of the Watch, sacking northern towns and, gradually, conquering the lands the Northmen called “The Southern Watch.”
    After 78 years of bloody warfare Osgar Godwinsson was crowned the first High King of Suttegarde after King Cered II of Caerleon signed the Treaty of Highgarden. The treaty rescinded all Caerleonic claims to these lands and put an end to all hostilities between the two kingdoms 253 years ago.
    Today King Geraint Henegar rules this land under a constitutional monarchy, presiding over parliamentary meetings with Suttegarde’s 16 thegns (a hereditary title held by the head of each of Suttegarde’s royal families) once per season. These meetings between the king, his thegns, and each thegndom’s religious leader address issues raised by at local meetings (shiremotes) between landholders and their reeves, as well as those that affect the prosperity of the kingdom. In this manner, each thegn acts as both governor and representative to his respective thegndom and as marshal to his land’s military might when so commanded. In addition, each thegn votes, upon the king’s death, which thegn should ascend the throne at Highgarden, leaving his thegndom to the next in line (titles are usually passed down to the next eldest brother or sister of the former thegn and, when no such relation lives, to the thegn’s eldest child).
    Ealdormen or earls are subordinate to these thegns and command their earldom’s knights under the banner of their thegn and king. They are also responsible for raising and outfitting levy troops during times of war. Reeves are local lords, responsible for the gathering of taxes and maintaining order within the lands of their shires. Levy forces, or hundreds, fall under the command of these reeves, also known as shire-reeves, and are mustered in times of war or when defending their homelands from other calamities. Each earldom can muster four to six hundreds, depending upon the number of shires that comprise them. Knights are charged with the task of preserving order; by patrolling the roads and outlying areas, repelling invaders, performing garrison duty, and enforcing the King’s justice.
    Suttegarde’s trade and wealth are strongly linked to its rich deposits of iron, tin and gold. Suttegarde also produces some of the finest mead and ale in Estegalle. Weaponsmiths make use of Suttegarde’s wealth of iron ore and ash wood in the creation of well-crafted weapons.
    In spite of the shared lineage of their kings, the people of Suttegarde and Yssgelund are fiercely opposed to each other. Faced with bitter-cold winters, regular incursions from Yssgelundian raiders in spring and fall, and occasional raids by Carmascian warhosts, the Suttegardian people tend to be pragmatic, temperate, reserved, and strong-willed by nature. Many have turned to the Church of The Defiant for guidance in these dark days and, as a result, the church, under the rule of Patriarch Rinhelg, has grown in wealth and in military might as young warriors join military orders within the church.
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