|The Council of Alalminor
|The southern region of Telluria consists of countries which were at one time, far-flung colonies of the Empire of Melcendia, but which have since declared and asserted their independence. The region described in this section is called the Council of Alalminor, after the elvish for “High King". In the history of the Council, there has only been one High King, that of Llywellyn the Just. None have taken on the mantle since then, although many have been tested by the sword Samirien and found wanting. Each nation’s affairs are intimately and historically intertwined with each of the others, so that the barest hint of dissent or trouble in one corner of the Council tends to have long-lasting effects throughout the area.
The Principality of Cyrdd
Population: approximately 5,000 - 92% human, 5% elves (mostly star elves), 2% dwarves, 1% other.
Exports: Crafted objects, fruits, vegetables, grain.
The smallest entity within the Council, Cyrdd has a tradition of cozying up to Damrosil and looks to it for protection and support. The current ruler of Cyrdd is Prince Syndrys IV, a whining, sniveling coward who has barely seen a day of actual leadership and combat. The real power behind the throne is rumored to be his mother - Adrianna of Oricc - a formidable sorceress. Recently, Syndrys has taken an interest in marriage, and providing for his land. Preparations are underway for a royal tour of the lands of the Council, as the Prince does not have much experience with the ways of the world, and desires to see it so that he can be a more effective ruler of his people. Some observers have noted the coincidence in timing that the royal tour has with the pending change of Office among the leaders of the Council (see below for details).
The Kingdom of Wyndfaste
Population: approximately 12,000 - 95% human, 3% elves (mostly star elves), 2% other (dwarves and valefolk).
Exports: Furs, hides, bows and arrows, wooden furniture, fish and seafood, pearls
Wyndfaste is ruled by a council of druids, which meets four times a year -- once per solstice and once per equinox -- or whenever a matter of urgency arises. This joint rulership is effective, as there has not been an invasion or occasion of internal strife within the nation's borders for at least 500 years. The title of King is a largely ceremonial one -- but was created to give a voice to the people of the country. Though the "King" has no tangible power, he has the power of perceived influence in making the people's wishes known to the druidic council.
The elven nation of Feandoril retains a small outpost within Wyndfaste's borders. Relations between the two countries are excellent.
In the past year, there has been an exchange of envoys and a flurry of dialogue between the druidic council and the White Tower at Nith'Tar Valon. At present time, a group of Aes Sedai from the White and Blue Ajahs are resident in Llewellyn, both as official observers and liasions between the druids and the White Tower. What is unusual about these goings on is that for the most part, the White Tower has been heretofore uninterested in the daily and yearly events in this part of Telluria -- there was not even so much as a peep during the Great Plague, though a group of Grays were instrumental in diplomatic relations during the invasion of Wylund by Kern, some thirty to forty years ago. Some have and are speculating that the White Tower's real goal has to do with the elves of Feandoril. This remains to be seen.
The Kingdom of Keenreach
Population: approximately 17,500 - 98% human, 2% other.
Exports: Armor, weapons, leatherwork, hides and furs, spices, ebony and silver.
Keenreach is noted for the Coldwood, a massive forest that almost completely covers the western edge of the country. The interior of the forest contains several elven ruins filled with undead; furthermore spirits of the abyss are rumored to lie within its heart. How the Coldwood was created is the object of much speculation but sages and bards place its origin around the time of the Second Witch-King of Damrosil’s defeat at the hands of the archwizard Ishcabeble. The number of adventurers who have braved the depths of the interior and who have never returned has only increased in recent years. By the same token, for some reason, these same fell inhabitants have not yet been able to venture out of their sylvan home - a testament to the strength of whatever wards hold them in place. All attempts to encroach upon the ancient forest by settlers has failed thus far.
Keenreach is a queendom and is the only country within the Council of Alalminor where the position of ruler passes to the first-born female of the royal family from generation to generation. If there is no current heir, a regent rules in her stead until such time as an heir is born.
According to tradition, each heir is bonded to a shadow - that is, a personal bodyguard who also serves as an advisor and counselor. Only members of either the Iron Circle (a royally sanctioned warrior's guild), paladins of Bralvanyr, or elite members of the Firewatch (the country's militia) can be considered shadows.
The Kingdom of Gwythnecht
Population: approximately 22,000 - 90% human, 5% elves (split between star and green elves), 3% dwarves and 2% other.
Exports: Gems, spices, wine, metalworking and crafted items.
Gwythnecht is a magocracy, where every able-bodied individual who even shows one spark of magical talent is sworn to allegiance to the circle of wizards and sorcerers who govern the country. This has led to some interesting situations with the faithful of Hurishta who advocate that magic should be left to its own devices, that the pursuit of knowledge and the development of magic in both the world and individual people should follow a natural course of action, and that freedom of both will and thought is paramount, so long as society is not compromised by one's actions.
Gwythnecht has often formed a historical partnership with Damrosil in rallying to the defense of the Council of Alalminor, by supplying the rest of the Council with the magical talent within its borders. Most magical practices are nurtured and encouraged by the ruling wizards....most with the notable exceptions of necromancy, psychic magic, chronomancy, artifice-magic and place magic. Place magic (see section 9 of the intro document -- Magic and Lore) uses the natural energy underlying the land and manipulates the Pattern in order to achieve a desired result by the spellcaster; this energy is derived from the land itself, along with the energy supplied by the current inhabitants of that place. Used sparingly, place magic is potentially the most powerful of all types of magic known to mortals. Used with abandon, it has the potential to devastate entire swaths of land to an extent that might surpass even the cataclysm caused by the Devastation of Naranduil.
The southwestern portion of Gwythnecht is dominated by the forest known as Loring's Wood. The Wood, named for the twelfth king of Damrosil is the home of a religious sect of fildh known as the Brothers of Brie. It is the Brothers' duty to test those who would seek knowledge of the Wheel of Time, a massive stone calendar located deep within the eastern forest that when properly utilized, is able to envision any event in either the distant past or the mist-shrouded future with perfect clarity. The Wheel is also rumored to enable a wizard of great power, or one with great purpose of vision, to travel distances across space and time, but such ramblings are often dismissed by sages and scholars.
In recent years, a long-forgotten prophecy has recently been uncovered by the faithful of both Oneiros and Hurishta, which has thrust the Brothers into a spotlight that the group finds discomfiting to say the least. The prophecy speaks of the introduction of a new order, the rise of a dead king, and the usage of the Wheel of Time. What upheaval this refers to has not yet been divined, and cannot bode well for the land, given the recent upheaval within the region that has occured within the last fifty years.
Here then, is the prophecy, for your perusal:
With six hands of Loring the Lost upon the Wheel of Time, at the moment Bazel mounts his chariot to do battle with the Seven Daughters, the dead King shall rise to seize the triad with hands that cannot grasp and eyes that cannot see. All wards broken and the mystic barriers pierced with mating swords, three saints and sinners will struggle in the dust, both and neither to triumph, and while the sundered earth spews forth the dregs of centuries, a new Order shall come upon the Land.
The Grand Duchy of Brynnel
Population: 85% human, 12% elves (mostly star elves with some half-elves and green elves thrown in), 3% dwarves and other
Exports: Fish, ships, cloth, ebony, horses, and exotic goods.
Where Damrosil is the breadbasket of the region, Brynnel is the economic engine that binds the Council together. Together with the port cities of Storadd and Llandryl, Brynnel serves as the gateway to points east and elsewhere, through which merchants come to ply their wares and trade.
Brynnel is the primary source of all of the ebony that originates within the Council of Alalminor, Damrosil and Gwythnecht being secondary sources. Ebony is a highly prized substance, similar in texture and appearance to obsidian, but less fragile. It is susceptible to high temperatures and is a perfect fit for the art of glass sculpture. Unauthorized mining of ebony is illegal within Brynnel and is one of the few crimes punishable by death.
Brynnel is a grand duchy, and power is handed down from father to the first-born son of the next generation. All of the major noble houses are linked to each other through marriage or past association. The current ruling House, House Streck is in a crisis. Duke Alastrus does not have an heir, and has recently been the target of a number of failed assassination attempts. He has passed a series of laws aimed at shoring up order and to effectively eliminate the grip that the thieves’ guilds have in some of the cities.
The Kingdom of Damrosil
Population: 75% human, 15% elves (mostly star elves and half-elves), 5% dwarves and 5% other.
Exports: Grain, fruits and vegetables, ebony, cloth, glassworked objects, woodcraft, leather goods
Damrosil is a hereditary monarchy, whose kings once had the sanction of the Emperor of Melcendia but does not any more. The lineage of Damrosil’s kings is a long and varied one, and is enshrined in the song, "The Lineage of Kings", by the bard-king Loring, also known as the Lost King. Legend says that Loring is forever cursed to play minstrel to the spirits of the underworld, as compensation for the wrongs that he committed during the course of his lifetime. The power that bardcraft has to sway people to action is a potent one and not a thing to be abused.
In recent years, the chaos which was initiated by the reign of Alendus II, also known as Alendus the Black, has since given way to a peace the Forest Kingdom has never known, since the accession of Shona I, Queen of Damrosil. The return of the royal family was a direct result of the successful revolt led by the people of Damrosil against the invading Kernin thirty years ago.
Damrosil is the bread basket of the Council of Alalminor. Its exports account for nearly half of the food consumed throughout the region, and as such, the other countries within the Council are quick to rally to the Forest Kingdom’s defense should any external threat penetrate its borders. The Short Council, a circle of councillors that advises the monarch of Damrosil consists of the heads of the five most powerful noble houses of the land, along with the patriarchs of both Solnor and Oneiros. Recently, the Queen has accepted a former member of the White Ajah of the Aes Sedai into her Short Council. Much talk has been fueled by this event and several of Shona’s court are watching for signs that the Patternwitch may not be what she seems.
A substantial portion of the eastern half of Damrosil is dominated by Loring’s Wood. The western half of the Wood is the home of a number of star elven communities, one of which is the Sylvanfast of the Celde. The Sylvanfast was a community created by star elves and enlightened humans in order to promote a greater understanding of each of the two races. This is the reason why a significant minority of the population of Damrosil consists of star elves and half-elves. The presence of so many elves also provides a significant buffer against the dangers presented by the Coldwood, a fell region of the elven forest, located to the southeast.
The Council of Alalminor
As a political entity, the Council of Alalminor consists of each head of state of each of the member entities of the Council. In the case of Wyndfaste and Gwythnecht, it is the current Archdruid and the current Archmagus respectively. As there is no High King, the Council meets twice yearly - once during Midsummer’s Eve and once at Night’s End (see the e-mail on “Time" for further information regarding dates and months of the year), and also whenever the current Swordbearer sees a pressing need. In the absence of a High King, the Council created the Office of the Swordbearer - a sort of “High Regent" which would hold the seat normally held by the High King - on a rotating basis, once every five years. The Swordbearer is responsible for seeing to the common good of the Council and speaks as its political head. As bearer of the Sword of Power known as Samirien, also known as Doomgiver, he or she is responsible for testing those who would seek to be elevated as High King of Alalminor. The current Swordbearer is Her Majesty, Queen Cyronna of Keenreach, an imposing matriarch and also head priestess of the church of Hurishta in her country. She and others are dreading the transfer of power as her term as Swordbearer will eventually end, and Syndrys’ of Cyrdd begins.