Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Continent of Westerness.

The Continent of Westerness
The smallest continent in the known world is called the Westerness.  It is the western most lands in the known world at this time.  At one time the Westerness was ruled as a single kingdom from the Iron Throne in Valinor, but today it is made up of several small feudal petty kingdoms all of which vie for that ancient throne.  Nominally the petty rulers of the West come together once a year in the “House of Lords” in Valinor to elect a ruler for life from among themselves to sit upon the Iron Throne but that hasn’t happened in 30 years.  No single princeling can manage enough votes from his peers to win the throne outright.  To be king the candidate must garner at least 6 votes.  In the last 100 years the voting privilege was extended to the two prime cults and the Grand Ranger of the Rangers’ Guild.   Recently however a new voting block has emerged, the two counts of Saargaten and Praav are cousins on their mothers’ sides and grew up close together.  In last year’s election they both voted for the Count of Finnacht, but he was still 3 votes shy so no king and adjournment for another year.

The Westerness is unique in that humans are the majority race.  There are small Elven Enclaves in the Black Forest as well as Dwarf Holds in the World's Edge Mountains. There are a few monstrous races and threats to society.  As with the rest of the world there are goblinkind although in the least amount anywhere.  Goblins and orcs were all but exterminated in Westerness in ages past but a few tribes managed to escape and survive high in the mountains and in the wastes above Wolfthorn.  The greenskins have very rarely had the numbers much less the unity to make a concerted attack southwards.  Necromancers on occasion spring up but rarely do they live long enough to cause serious trouble.  Also as in the rest of the world daemonic shadows lurk about and have been known to rise up to strike at one of the counties and in one instance many hundreds of years ago actually made a serious threat to all of the Westerness.

The Grand Duchy of Wolfthorn
Located in the cold rugged North.  Wolfthorn lies in snow most of the Aeyrian year.  It is said that Duke Wulfgar’s rule is both fair and grim.  His warriors are hearty and rugged, preferring leather armor types for warmth and to avoid having their skin stick to their armor.  Wolfthorn and Hawkridge are also known as the Wodenlaw. Sigil is a dark blue standard with the head of a white wolf.  Gen1, LH3, Sp2, Wb4, Bw2.

The Grand Duchy of Hawkridge
Duke Jokril III sits on the Aerie Throne from the lowest known mountain top in the World Edge range.  To be a flying knight is the greatest honor among the Hawkridge warriors.  Their sigil is a gold hawk on a red standard.  Gen1, Kn2, Sw4, Bw2, Flyer3.

The Principality of Valinor 
Valinor lies on the eastern shore. Valinor has been made wondrous by the former kings.  Its sigil is a golden crown on a purple standard.  The future king always bears the title of King of Westerness, Prince of Valinor followed by his home title.  In the absence of the king the Steward, Johaness I rules and care takes the Iron Throne.  The Steward has a smaller throne in the royal court as he is not permitted to sit on the Iron Throne.  In the past the Steward held no vote nor could he stand for election but over time this changed as the other lords all sought the Stewards favor in the election.  Gen1, Kn2, Sp6, Bw2, Art.

The Grand Duchy of Foxcrest
Duchess Inyanna holds power in Foxcrest.  She is quite possibly the most politically cunning of the 8 Great Lords of Westerness and there is an iron fist beneath her velvet glove.  Sigil is black fox on an orange standard. Gen1, LH3, Kn3, Sw3, Bw2.

The Grand County of Saargaten
Saargaten, Finnacht and Praav are an area of the Westerness with its own distinct culture, and language.  They used to be a separate confederation but were unified with the rest of the continent in the ancient past.  Sigil is a black bull on a red and white standard.  Gen1, LH2, Kn2, Sw4, Bw2, Art.

The Grand Duchy of Starfall
Duke Emerys VII rules Starfall.  Starfall has it's name because every century there is a comet that sails by in the night sky and Starfall is the best place in the world to see it.  Sigil is a white star on a black standard. Gen1, LH3, Kn3, Sw3, Bw2.

The Grand County of Finnacht
Sigil is the white rune for peaceful night on a blue and orange standard. Finnacht lies just south of the Black Forest. Finnacht has had a long troublesome history with a few of the Wild Elf clans that inhabit the forest on near their border. Count Fritz von Gustof has forbade the construction of any new settlements near the border and errected instead a series of frontier forts.  Gen1, Kn4, Sw4, Bw2, Art.

The Grand County of Praav
Sigil is a black bear on a yellow and white standard. Count Karl von Alexander is cousin to the Count of Saargaten. Count Karl is young and ambitious.  While a prince he once pushed for his father to send the army into the Black Forest to claim a large swathe of land there.  His father wisely declined.  Gen1, Kn2, Sw5, Bw2, Art2.

The Cult of Woden 
The Arch-Priest of Woden is a voting but non-electable member of the House of Lords.  The Cult of Woden teaches that bravery in life and especially battle will grant you entry to the eternal summerlands when you pass.  While you can find a shrine or follower of Woden throughout the realm, his primary worship is centered in Wolfthron, Hawkridge and Foxcrest.  Woden maintains a small military force, however in ages past when the Arch-Priest called for a Gathering, thousands showed up armed and ready to fight.  Mage, Wb9, Bw3

The Cult of Garacaius
The Grand Theoginist is a voting but non-electable member of the House of Lords.  The Cult of Garacaius teaches that in the ancient past the Mage-Emperor of Darien traveled to Westerness and taught the men here science and magick.  The worship of Garacaius is more widespread than Woden or other beliefs.  Also the cult fields its own small full time army.  Its sigil is the mark of G on a white and blue standard.  Mage, Kn3, Sw3, Sp3, Bw2.

The Rangers’ Guild 
The Grand Ranger of Westerness is also a voting non-electable member of the HoL.  The Rangers are a militaristic monastic order that patrols the wilderness and roads of Westerness.  Each county contributes men and usually a tithe to the guild once a year.  Though the men granted are usually those rotting in county jails and young princes whom have no inheritance due to being too low in their families pecking order.  Most rangers practice the ancient pagan nature based religions’ of old Westerness as taught by the guild’s druids.  The Rangers hold Skara Hall near Hawkridge as their own barony and derive a small income from it.  They also provide merchant escort and often collect bounties on fugitives and monsters.  A typical road patrol consists of 3 rangers.  However a wilderness patrol consists of a captain, a sergeant, at times a druid and 7 to 8 rangers.   The rangers are sworn to remain neutral in any conflict among the members of the House of Lords.  However at times of invasion or dire threat they’ve served as scouts and light infantry for the great armies of Westerness.

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