Cymoria: The Land of Knights
Cymoria is largest, most populous, and fecund Crown in the Alamastran Empire. Despite these claims, it is largely rural and its economy is based almost entirely on agricultural production and the industries which support it. Cymoria lies directly to the South of the Imperial Crown of Eisen. The traditional border between these two ancient seats of imperial power set at the River Muse. This is a shallow, meandering, broad river, which runs slowly toward the Yamari Ocean to the west. The River Muse is steep in legends around the battles fought between Luna and Solaren's armies before their ultimate marriage at the beginning of the ages. The River Muse being the mythical border between their respective kingdoms of Day and Night. Collapsed bridges and causeways can be seen crumpling in to the mudflats, shallows, and tidal runs of this vast floodplain from ages bygone, which are said to be the site of many of these famous battles sang by the troubadours. Many ancient keeps and fortified towns cling to the tidal rocks which jut mysteriously from the muddy floodplain as it approaches the Yamari Ocean in a lazy and confused advance.
The lands of Cymoria are semi-arid and rolling but rich for the production of wine, olives, dates, and perfumes in the north and transition to sub-tropical and rich for the cultivation of fruits, corns, and spices toward the south. Regardless, it is a land of warmth and sun.
It is bordered to the west by the Yamari Ocean, with its warm tropical currents keeping this land unseasonably warm and well-watered year-round. The coast has no natural ports, but has six great Templetine Cities which inhabit the coastal plain. They have constructed great manmade harbors in order to conduct trade with Sandriff, Balray, and the Pirate Ports far to the west across the Ocean and with the Taific Trading League far to the south in the Sunlands- the far southern extremity of the Alamastran Empire.
Cymoria is bordered on its far eastern frontier, which penetrates deeply into the interior of the continent Ghalistra, by the enigmatic, prosperous trade kingdom and Imperial client state, Mysteria. This jungle nation lies deep in the interior, within a river basin of vast and unfathomable expanse. The kingdom is named for the major tropical riverway which collects the multitude of torrential tributaries from across the jungle basin. Cymoria is in frequent conflict with the denizens of Mysteria and also in frequent intercourse of trade for its exotic and luxury goods.
Government & Politics Edit
Cymoria, in ages past, was powerful center of empire. In the current age, its governance has largely balkanized into regional control of an intensely feudal political order. The Simeonite tribes of Humans which overthrew the last Cymorian Emperor long before the founding of the Alamastran Empire governed themselves as a tribal confederacy headed by a king which convened an annual council of tribal lords and chieftains to pass laws and judge cases, and led the confederacy in war. With time a feudal order immerged with powerful regional barons known as Counts, which were in many ways as powerful as the King, who was merely the most powerful lord among many rival peers. The king had the distinct advantage of possessing all six Templetine Cities as his House's patrimony. For this reason, political jurisdiction is highly overlapping throughout much of the Crown, with Counts ruling vast swaths of territory and each Temple owning vast landholding and lordship rights in communities and across the Crown. In this feudal structure, there is perhaps, the strongest body of levied knights within the Alamastran Empire, each a petty lord over his own manor in the classic feudal sense. In the company of the petty lordship are also Barons, which are one station above knights owning 2-5 manorial grants for a Count or the King. These Barons are often merely the first among all of their neighboring knightly families, but serve a much more potent role politically being required to attend the annual noble council as summoned by the king.
Cymoria for its population and size, is not the most economically advanced Crown, but it is one of the most culturally powerful within the empire, its knights widely admired in the legends and songs of the troubadors, its Counts fulfilling important roles and receiving great honors within the Imperial apparatus. During the Great War, the King was unable to levy knights during the annual council to mobilize the Crown, as the nobility was so evenly split between partisans of House Starcrest and House Mair. Therefore, Cymoria did not play a decisive role in the conflict as it was internally wracked by a violent civil war between its nobility. By the time the Royal faction gained the upper hand, in support of House Mair, Imperial Legions were already entering the province, dispatched by the new High King to assist in settling the matter. This led to a greater centralization of power within the Cymorian Kingship, in that the King was allowed by the High King to appoint new Counts to the seats of those deposed, according to the feudal and inheritance customs of the Crown. In this way, the King was able to draw from minor scions within the rival Count families to bring a majority of the feudal power in line with the royal position.
Religion & Folklore Edit
The Crowns of Eisen and Cymoria have alternately been centers of imperial power in Ghalisatra through the ages. Cymoria was the center of a powerful Elven kingdom during the days when the Maiar were still an active presence in Arda, one was even said to have ruled over the lands which are now Cymoria as a radiant queen, establishing a line noble line of Half-Elves which founded empires far to the east, beyond Shazad. For this reason, the sacred landscape of Cymoria is considered far more active than in most Crowns within the Alamastran Empire, besides perhaps among the Batua peoples of the Ravinespires or in Rivenwar, itself. Many of the streams, glens, copses, and places of natural beauty are thought to display vestiges of this Maiar dynastic power and the bygone magic of Elven environmental engineering. Spirits, such as wood nymphs, geniuses, and animi are still believed to inhabit and bless these locations. This had led to a peculiar syncretic folk religion which attempts to weld together the animistic superstitions of a sacred landscape vaguely based in the mythos of the Valar worship of the Elves which inhabited the land in ages past with the celestial worship of the Simeonite pantheon of the humans of Ghalistra. This peculiar cosmology places the Simeonite celestial deities of Solaren and Luna at the head of a prolific pantheon of celestial immortals which seem to embody the elements, seasons, and abstract concepts, such as joy or hate. There is a Heavenly Council of these Celestial Immortals, ruled over by the sister-wife Luna and the Brother-husband Solaren, representing the Sun and Moon in their yearly cycles respectively. These Celestial Immortals seem to amalgamate concepts of power from the Valar (worshiped by the Elves of Arda), aspects of cosmic cycles from the Immortals (worshipped by the vast majority of humans in Ghaliastra), and organize their cosmic rule along the lines of the Heavenly Council of Dragon Lords (worshiped by the Jeppri of Balray). There are six Celestial Immortals on this Heavenly Council:
Luna: Queen of cycles involving the Moon (night, sleep, dreams, fertility, tides). It is blasphemy to speak her name during the day.
Solaren: King of cycles involving the Sun (Seasons, Weather, Harvest, Festivals). It is blasphemy to speak his name at night.
Eldmund: Governor of cycles involving the stars and planets (Astrology, birth, death, fortune). It is blasphemy to speak his name. It is blasphemy to invoke Eldmund anywhere but in the open elements.
Fiermonn: Governor of cycles within the living being and between living beings (emotion, love, hate, aspiration, peace, war, commerce, alliance). It is blasphemy to speak his name in the presence of another sentient being.
Sanctan: whereas the previous four are seen as keepers of cycles, Sanctan is seen as a changer of cycles or a renewer of cycles, introducing change into cycles that cannot be broken. Therefore, Sanctan is seen as the Governor of inspiration, arts & science, innovation, music, divine blessing and miracles. Sanctan is the only Celestial Immortal where it is always blessing to invoke his name, even if meant in blasphemy or curse.
Hantas: also seen as a changer of cycles, Hantas is often thought as a disrupter or destroyer of cycles, but this is inaccurate. She is seen as the Governess of natural disaster, cataclysm, supernatural curses, plague, and famine, random natural phenomena, and all catastrophes that find their origin in nature and not from humans. She is not regarded as patently evil, as many times it is wise for an exhausted cycle to be pruned to create new and invigorated growth. However, she is feared, and her name is never spoken, not even by the most blasphemous tongues. There is an elaborate system of euphamism that has grown up to allow for some creative cursing.
Each of member of the Heavily Council has their own Celestial Palace from which they rule over a kingdom of celestial subjects, which enact their will throughout the cosmos and keep their cycles. These celestial beings known as Immortals, form a complex and confused hierarchy which governs the seasons, relations between humans, and inhabit places of power. The greatest among these celestial functionaries are known as the Celestial Lords. These Lords are tasked with executing functions of great cosmic significance. For example, the Lord of the Gates controls access to life and death. The Lord of Fear choses who will panic and who will stand in the moment of trial.
Because of this folk religion and because of this sacred landscape, Cymoria has long been a place of sacred pilgrimage and its populace a devout, but superstitious one. This has allowed a strong organized religion to evolve in its midst, directing the populace in their devotion. This religion is based around six temples, one for each Celestial Immortal, of course. Each of these temples is based in a coastal trading port along the Yamari coast in the far west of the Crown. Each of these temples has developed an elaborate priesthood which services the main temple and a network of satellite monestaries, religious foundations and shrines scattered throughout the hinterlands of the Templetine Cities. Most shrines and holy sites throughout the land have some vague affiliation with one of these six Temples. It is from this that the Valiant Templar Order takes its name, originally dedicated to protecting the Temple of Luna, but long since having evolved beyond this purpose in the Rivenwar Crusades. It is for this reason also, that Cymoria is one of the main crowns which remains a fertile recruitment ground for the Order outside of its Patrimony and client states.