Bellows in the deep
Kingdoms of The Vale
Kingdoms of Men
Argris is a kingdom to the northeast of the main continent Veland. It is by on large an agricultural society, producing fast quantities of food which is often relied upon by other kingdoms. Argris can afford to give up vast quantities of land to farming because its population is fairly small compared to its neighbors and due to its geographical location it faces very little threat from any neighboring nation. It’s coast line is naturally well protected by a long line of cliffs. This natural defense however restricts access to the sea and so despite having a long coastline there are very few port towns.
Aurum is the largest and wealthiest of all the kingdoms of men. It sits in the centre of western Veland and is home to the oldest of all man made cities the city of Argentum. It was in the golden fields of Aurum that man first opened its eyes and so despite the great exodus many men and woman still see this kingdom as the heart of the human world, both spiritually and historically. “All roads lead back to Aurum”.
Eratan is not strictly a human kingdom as its largest quantity of occupants are that of the halfling. Eratan is a small kingdom on the southeast coast. It is cut off from the rest of Veland by a mountain range making a very safe and very isolated place for some time. Eratan is so idyllic it makes Argris look unpleasant. The grass is greener, the sun is warmer and the air is fresher than any other part of the world. It was here that those who fled the horrors after the fall of the magistars, came to settle. After years of the easy life these men and women slowly became the halflings we so love today.
Gattan is a wealthy kingdom to the west of Aurum. It is has, through time, become the gate to the kingdoms of men on Veland. As a result of this, all trade into and out of the countries of men, comes through the borders of Gattan. This has made Gattan a very rich province through levying taxes on all trade. However this wealth comes with a price. Envy from its neighbours, Tullis and Vallum, has led to many conflicts over the years and whilst none have proven detrimental to Gattan’s existence, this constant bad blood has weakened the borders of men, a weakness that may be exploited by others.
Haaven is a kingdom of man that resides to the north of Veland. It is surrounded by a natural barrier, the Mountains of Hearth, named by those who passed it in search of a new home. The Kingdom of Haaven was formed after the great exodus, led by Bjorn Bellecose, one of the brothers who led the revolt against the magisters. The kingdom is often credited to being home to the greatest warriors throughout history, most notabley Sigaard wymbane. The culture of Haaven values, strength, honor and willpower and loath, scheming, cowardice and lethargy. Magic holds no home here, it is seen as a weapon of the weak and untrustworthy and those who wield it in Haaven are at best ridiculed and exiled. Whilst their home is well protected by the land itself they face a grave threat from the envious giant tribes of the Pale whom contasntly raid their borders and with the tribes slowly coming together the true test of the people of Haaven may well be close.
Myirdom is a kingdom of man that resides on a small continent to the east of Valend. Myirdom is vastly different in culture and appearance to the other kingdoms to its west. The climate is much drier and hotter and so the skin of those who live there is much darker. The kingdom was founded after the great exodus, only it was not founded by those who sought to eradicate the magistars but actually founded by the sons and daughters of those very magistars. This origin has lead to a deeply magic orientated culture. the cities were not built by hand but weaved by magic, the use of magic is not seen as evil or odd but as impressive and powerful. Those who lead this kingdom had learnt from their forefathers and for the most part do not dabble with magic that goes against morality. Although I hasten to add, their moral code is far looser than that of the west. Tension between Myirdom and the mainland has fluctuated over time due to its founders and its attitudes towards the arcane. Recently due to stories coming from its neighbor Sercris, fear of magic is started to stir in the mainland and so how long this tenuous peace will last is uncertain.
Scarllum is a kingdom south of Aurum. This far south the golden fields turn to more murky wetland, fed by many vein like rivers. The north of the kingdom is fairly poor, small villages eeking out a living of hunting the native wildlife and collecting what little minerals that have been swept from the mountains further north. However to the south of Scullum you will find many large and prosperous cities whom wealth come from the oceans and trade with the eastern kingdoms of Myirdom and Sortis. the largest of these port towns is Stone port the capital of the Kingdom.
Sercris is the second of the eastern kingdoms. it resides on a large island to the north east of Myirdom. It shares a great deal in attitudes and culture with Myirdom, championing magic and encouraging its exploration. Although it has started to gain a reputation for being to liberal with its magic, slowly turning what was experimentation into exploitation of its forces. This has caused some friction between the western kingdoms and its self. Frictions that if not addressed soon will turn into open war.
Turris is one of the three border kingdoms to the west of Aurum. It has served as the front lien to the many wars of the past and sop as a result its hilly and mountainous terrain is further fortified by hundreds of forts. The hardships Turris has faced from previous wars has left its people xenophobic and unfriendly especially compared to the Kingdoms of Aurum and Scarllum who are far more multicultural. Turris has many problem with in its borders, the land being made up of crags, hills and mountains mean that travel and communication between holds is limited and slow. This has enabled band of criminals and out of work soldiers to become quite prevalent. These bandits can strike at an ill defended town or merchant cart and then disappear into caves and crags where armies can not follow. This has meant large garrison sizes for all towns and castles, making Turris one of the most heavily fortified kingdoms in all of The Vale.
Vallum sits to the north west of Aurum and is one of the three border kingdoms. Vallum like Turris is a frontier kingdom and so is littered with forts and castles. The presence of Hundreds of castles has lead to a very fractured land, each castle owner flying a flag of their own rather than that of Vallum. This division has caused a great deal of infighting, many petty lords trying to expand their limited land space, through wars, politics or more nefarious means. Vallum like Turris has become a very violent province, causing many travellers to stay clear of it. This has limited trade and caused wide spread poverty amongst all those who are not being paid to fight in a vane lords name.
Mordalwood is the vast expanse of forest occupying the central west of Veland. It is said that the very first beings the elves, were born in amongst those very trees, whether this is true or not will never be confirmed however it is certainly an important part of Elven culture. It is said that at the beginning of the Vale the trees of Mordalwood covered the vast majority of the single continent of Veland, stretching far north to the very edges of the Ghost sea and stretching south across the now desolate Hellion Fall. It was in the safety and beauty of the woods that the Elves grew their cities over the millennia. The Elves possessing immortality, were able to encourage the plants to grow into homes and guide the stones to form huge and majestic citadels and temples. It is said in the height of Elven culture these cities would make the great city of Aurum look like a hovel. However now these grandures lay in ruins, either smashed by the cataclysm of the Orcs invasion or simply reclaimed by the wilds themselves. Those elves who remain in the shadows of its trees are small and/or nomadic communities, whom now live at the mercy of those who have usurped their rule. Usurpers such as the Forrest Troll or the demons and spirits who pass into our world through the shadows of the trees. All of which pale in comparison to the beast of beasts, The dragon eater itself, the monster known as the Jabbawock. Mordalwood was once the pinnacle of an unrivaled empire but now, it is a most godless and wild place.
The White Wood
The White Wood is a large forest that occupies the most northwestern reaches of Veland. It is a vast and untamed land. Very little knowledge or history has escaped its borders the only stories that mention it, are that of the third Bellecose sibling, Alex Bellecose. It is said that the people followed Alex into the frozen wood in a desperate attempt to escape the endless wastes of the Pale. Taking into account that there has been no contact or knowledge of any civilization in that part of Veland, it is suspected that Alex’s exodus was a failure. Their have been expeditions into the wood in an attempt to find out the truth of the the third siblings ill fated journey however all but one soul has disappeared into its cold labyrinth of ice and trees. The survivor, Ellen Longfoot, wrote an account of her experiences although this account has been taken by one of the many theological institutions and kept under lock an key. So unfortunately even I the most well read of scholars (self proclaimed title) can not tell you of what secrets lie within its borders.