The Ramalyan League Edit
The Free Cities are situated on the Ramalyan Cape, which stands at the entrance to Ramalya Bay and juts westward into the Jadess Sea. This large peninsula is a major sea lane for trade along the Jadess Coast. It is densely populated with coastal cities, but possesses a rough and arid interior. A rocky, but rolling range, known as the Spine, runs through the center of the Cape. Agriculture is limited, but the Cape has become famous for it's wine and olive oil, but the result of hillside agriculture. The Ramalyan Cape is isolated from the mainland by the shear, snowcapped mountains known as the Ramaylan Range. The Ramalyan Range has acted like a strategic buffer between the Free Cities and the hegemonic designs of the great city of Rosenwaeric. However, it makes it challenging to menace the Rosenwaeric interior of the Ramalyan Bay. As a result, its peoples turned to the sea and trade to earn their prosperity. These cities were founded by the Horizon Empire as strategic strongholds to supply the Horizon Fleet as it patrolled the Ramalyan Straits and to guard the approach to the Ramalyan Bay and it's vast drainage basin. After the collapse of Horizon dominion in the Middle Jadess, the Free Cities never lost their sense of military purpose, heavily fortifying their domains with walls, castles, and strongholds. Power eventually coalesced around the seven major port-cities of the Cape, but not before the interior had deeply fortified itself against encroachment. These impoverished cities were cut off from the interior by a patchwork of autonomous landed aristocracy and from the sea by the vindictive lords of Rosenwaeric seeking to dominate the sea lanes of the Ramalyan Straits. These cities were occupied by Rosenwaeric forces for a time, but Rosenwaeric was never able to project its power beyond the city walls into the the labyrinthine hinterland. One by one, each city underwent a power struggle between its lords (whose power-base was in their vast, fortified country estates) and the partizans of Rosenwaeric, which encouraged communal counsels to assist the Podesta in governance of the city. They conflicting interests erupted almost contemporaneously across the Cape, fueling incredibly violent communal rebellions which first, expelled the landed lords from their places within the city, then turned against the Rosenwaeric agents within the city. Rosenwaeric was distracted with its wars against the Lumerian Empire, so formed the anemic response of offering to supply companies of mercenaries to the Free Cities in order to assist with subduing the aristocracy once and for all. In exchange, the communal movements were to swear fealty to Rosenwaeric and continue their annual tribute. The Cities put these mercenaries to good use, systematically reducing the strongholds of the aristocracy and systematically slaughtering them as a class upon the peninsula. This series of grizzly massacres, public executions, and riots alarmed the Lords of Rosenwaeric, whom switched course and order the mercenaries to turn on the urban communes in order to weed them out. This began a century of chaos on the Cape as the Lords of Rosenwaeric struggled with the communes and tyrants of the Free Cities to command the loyalty of these bloodlusted cadres of mercenaries. Over time these Free Companies, as they came to be known, developed into self-perpetuating war societies, with four generations raised in as soldiers of fortune, working for who promised the riches rewards. This destroyed the once vibrant trade economy of the peninsula as each city turned away from the city in order to protect itself from the interior. The politics within the city gave way to the politics between the free cities as each city scrambled to stake its claim to the sparse resources remaining on the Cape. The Free Companies became the instrument through which the Free Cities played out their rivalries. During this dark time, the communal movement in most cities also gave way to one ruling tyrant, as the cities militarized for their own survival. These tyrants were able to concentrate power and resources enough to organize successful resistance to the Free Companies. Some Free Companies were permanently absorbed into the armies of the Free Cities, such as in the City of Farashad, where the tyrant hired several companies as his personal guard. Others retreated to the base of the Ramalyan Range and occupied the passes which accessed the Rosenwaeric interior, founding the city of Kantamar. Others settled down as brigands and were eventually rooted out. In exhaustion from years of war and economic disruption, the seven leading cities of the Cape came together and formed the Ramalyan League, a pact of mutual protection and interest. The Free Cities agreed to work together to clear out or incorporate the remaining Free Companies. They also agrees to build a trading fleet to compete with Rosenwaeric and an armada to protect it. They also agreed to pool their resources in order to defend the independence and sovereignty of each city. The success of this league revived the fortunes of the Cape. The cities began to grow in size, wealth, and prestige. Forming trade links with Rosenwaeric to the interior. However, Rosenwaeric grew wary of the League's encroachment on its monopoly of the Ramalyan Straits. Rosenwaeric did not possess the resources to directly conquer the Free Cities. It also desired to maintain trade access to the Cape because of the lucrative gold mines within the Ramalyan Mountains and vineyards remained firmly within control of the Free Cities. The Free Cities threatened to bypass Rosenwaeric altogether in the inland trade, when the Dwelven City of Delving opened trade with the Golden Dwarves of Belegost. Delving made a highway through the root of the Ramalyan Range tapping into the ancient underground trading system established by Belegost, known as the Goldenway.
The Doge Edit
The Doge is the presiding leader of the Ramalyan League. He commands the League's armada and army. He also controls the league's treasury and is in charge of collecting its dues, tributes, and fines, and fees. Overtime, he has turned from a figurehead into an office of real power. Although the cities are never fully subject to him, they are also never more than semi-independent, never fully free of his graps, or those of his agents. He sends powerful legates into the lands, courts, and councils of these cities. They have full power to contravene, intervene, and otherwise interfere in the local politics for the best interests of the league. This office, with its access to vast resources, but tenuous grasp on power has been a great temptation and curse for all the lords and tyrants of the Cape, waxing and waning in its influence with the personal charisma of the officeholder. The Doge is elected by a Council of the Free Cities. This each city decides who it will send as a part of this delegation. The Dodge is elected for life and normally retains their powerbase within their home city, but also occupies the Doge's Palace, the ceremonial center of the league in the center of the Cape. this is vast, stonework complex deep in the Spines. It is also the location of the League's Treasury. The Doge gets the majority of his power from the fact that he is the only official on the Cape that has the legal authority to employ a Free Company. Therefore, the Doge's Palace is heavily fortified with the remaining Free Companies, which have finally been domesticated. This mercenary force give the Doge enough real clout to keep the peace, but not enough to dominate the politics of the individual cities.
The Free Cities Edit
Delving: City of the Dwelven Edit
During the Horizon Collapse, most of the cities of the Cape were destroyed. However, the strongest ruins were often reocuppied and refortified. The Dwelven citizens of Horizon fled into the foothills where the Ramalyan Range meets the Spines and the Jades Ocean. They fled, hoping to reconnect with their Dwarven kindred within the great city of Belegost. In reinhabiting the seaside mining community of Delving, they became a focal point for every refugee Dwelven or Dwarf on the Jadess Coast. As the numbers in the city swelled, the mines were put back into operation. These bonanza mines were productive with gems, silver, iron, and gold. With this revival of fortunes, Delving was able to dredge and re-establish it's thriving seaport. It was also able to establish channel through the mountains to the Goldway, tapping in the vast and lucrative underground trade of Belegost. Delving is perhaps the richest of the Free Cities, holding a monopoly on trade through the Goldenway and sharing in the trade through the Ramalyan Range with Kantamar. It also conducts a strong trade through its seaport. It has also developed a large artisanal industry crafting the luxury items which come from the premium resource stores of the city. It is the most famous producer of "Dwarven" arms, armor, and luxury goods on the Jades. It's largest rival in this industry is it's neighbor, Oleuni. The Oleuni have cornered the luxury goods market within the Cape, not only producing Elven-crafted items, but specializing in the production of enchanted artifacts. The Masters of Delving have been attempting to cut into this trade by aggressively recruiting promising journeyman from the Rosha University and by poaching them from the workshops of Oleuni by promising them recognition as master craftsmen, subsidizing their new workshops, and tenure-tracking them into guild memberships. Delving also landed a special dispensation from the Doge to be the port of transhipment for all trade with the Remalyan League's close ally, The Rosen League. For this reason, the merchants guilds of the Rosen League each have a heavily fortified exclave within Delving from which they may carry out their dealings and intrigues within the Cape. Delving also carries on a close and carefully regulated trade with Rosenwaeric via the mountain passes. Delving is Rosenwaeric's perferred agent when dealing with the Ramalyan League, because it can supply the raw materials required to fuel its insatiable war machine. It also can supply the credibility desired to Rosenwaeric embassies. It is the only Free City which has a permanent Rosenwaeric embassy. Delving is the only point in the Cape which Rosenwaeric emissaries are permitted. This is because it easy to keep an eye on them in the subterranian fortress.
Rosha: City of the Mestisen Edit
As the High Elven Lords of Rosen struggled to keep their disintegrating empire together, they hunted for a scapegoat on which to pin their fading imperial glory. They turned to racial explanations, blaming the dilution of High Elven blood into the native and mongrel populations of the Jadess to be the source of their fading prowess and superiority. The racial harmony and intermingling which had once been the pride and hallmark of the cosmopolitan Horizon Empire now turned into its greatest pariah in the minds of its twilight leadership. Special ire of the Horizon Lords fell upon the largest class of mixed race, the Mestisen, a polygot of centuries of uninhibited mixing of native humans, such as Tremmlings, Keldsi, Nords, Half-Orcs, Half-Trolls, Half-Dwarves, Dwelven, Grey Elven, Sylvan Elvan, and Sky Elven. The heritage of most Mestisen is impossible to determine because it is so pervasive, intertwined, and far-reaching into their family tree. The hallmarks of the Mestisen were largely phenotypical. They tend to be tend to have Blue, Red, or Dark eyes. Usually Black, Gray, or Brown coarse hair. Tend to concentrated in the lower strata of Jadess society: peasants, soldiers, mariners, laborers, especially associated with slaves, freedmen, and clientage. Live all all along the Jadess Coast. Main inhabitants of the rural peasantry and urban underclass. They are also one of the largest people groups in the heart of the Horizon's dominions on the Jadess. The Mestisen rose in a series of popular rebellions within the cities and in the country side in response to their brutal repression at the hands of their Horizon masters. This singled them out as a special scapegoat. The Horizon forces trampled over these peasant rebellions iron-shod and continued into the countryside, especially in the Ramalya Bay, massacring Mestisen. They flooded in droves across the mountains to the Cape, where they were butchered by waiting forces loyal to the Fire Throne. The surviving refuges occupied and refortified a coast fortress on the western tip of the Ramalyan Cape. They named it Rosha, "Rosen," in their pidgin language, declaring their fealty to the Fire Throne across the waves, asking the emperor's protection. This encampment soon built itself into a might fortress which stood in rebellion against the remaining Watchers of the Cape. Refuges continued to flood into the city for the next century to escape the fallout of the wholesale collapse of the Horizon Empire on the Jadess. Rosha continues to be the largest city of the Cape, with the most diverse population. It is ruled by a tyrant who has assume the title of Watcher--the only one remaining in the entire Jadess. They still proudly proclaim their allegiance to the Fire Throne and claim to await his return across the waves on the Jadess. But this is more of a political posturing to claim hegemony on the Cape. This city has the strongest land army, but possesses little in the way of a fleet. It is a bustling port, one of the few free ports on the Jadess, which has greatly contributed to it's prosperity. It is the only Cape Port within the Ramalyan Straits, however it is protected by the Ramalyan League Fleet which lies at anchor around the southern edge of the Cape at Fandarsi. This is to allow the port to trade freely and also to reduce congestion in an already treacherous strait. The other economic engine of the city is it's University. It is the only university on the cape. It is also one of the most renowned on the Jadess. It has become a renowned center for agriculture, engineering, medicine, law, and applied sciences. It is unique in that no arcane studies are supported, this stems from the fact that a magical aptitude is rare among the majority Mestisen population. It is also unique in that it is a public university with free tuition. It is partially subsidized by the city. However, each college is self-supporting through its entrepreneurial enterprises and workshops around the city. Rosha has become a large industrial center on the Cape because of this nucleus of craft and innovation. Must of the economy is based on attending the University, supplying the University, or supporting one of its industries or enterprises. For this reason a wealth of cottage industry has sprung up around Rosha. The University has also developed a wealth of connections within the Free Cities which generate opportunity for its journeymen and graduates while spurring economic development within the League. The Doge often elected from Rosha, because a law degree is considered a prerequisite to navigate the complexities of Cape politics. For this reason, the Doge has granted Rosha a special dispensation to invade and occupy the resource-rich island of Aknokorbos across the Ramalyan Straits. Rosha has the largest standing army of the Free Cities. Before the imposition of the Doge it was considered the regional hegemon and it's army of citizen-soldiers, metic levies, and mercenaries bullied the entire Cape. It has now been unleashed on the Isle of Aknokorbos to expand league power and protect its interest there. Rosha is allowed to annex any land it occupies there as long as it pays a 5th part tribute of all tax revenue to the League's treasury.
Oleuni: City of the High Elven Edit
The last pocket of Horizon forces on the Cape was sieged within the ancient seaside city of Oleuni. The strong fortifications were never breached by various insurrections, mercenary bands, or by the forces of Rosha which bullied the Cape before the imposition of the League. This remnant of High Elves slowly settled down and turned to the business of establishing a life for themselves on the Cape, as the years passed and hopes of rescue by the Horizon Armada faded. The splendor of High Elven allowed them to create a graceful city around the strongworks of old Oleuni. It became a bustling center of craftsmenship and artizanal arts. Most luxury goods produced within the Cape are produced under the auspices of the lords of Oleuni. This includes fine armor, weapons, fine wines, tapestries, jewelry, silks, cloths, carpets, and pieces of art. It has become a place of luxurious industry. It's walls making it invulnerable to raid by sea or land. The Lords opened a carefully calculated trade with Lord Ciridan of Haven in order to maintain access to the raw goods necessary to their workshops and foundries. And to secure exotic markets for them. Oleuni is unique in that it has the only remaining incorporated Horizon Legion on the Jadess Coast. Since the High Elven are lesser Immortal, they do not age and do not die of natural causes. Therefore, this elite cadre which defends the city and its interests is equipped and maintained with its original legionary discipline and lines of authority. The city is also unique because it has incorporated several Free Companies into its defenses, with a special dispensation from the Doge. It also has substituted its troop levy to the League for a large head tax on its citizens. The citizenry of the city is almost entirely Elven. Only guild members are admitted as citizens to the city. Only citizens may live inside the city walls.The Masters of Oleuni have developed vast suburbs outside the city walls to house the workers and the workshops require to support their artizanal industry. Many journeymen who graduate from the Rosha University relocate to these suburbs to find employment within the workshops of the Masters of Oleuni. They are barred from setting up their own workshops until they are admitted to the city guild and then promoted to master status. Even though it is very difficult to rise in Oleuni society, the pay of a journeymen in a luxury industry equals that of a master craftsmen in another Free City.
Fandarsi is a city with close affiliation to the large metropolis of Rosha. Its population is mostly Mestisen and Half-Elven. It is perhaps the most intact fortification from the Horizon Empire on the Jadess Coast. For this reason, it early on became a place of refuge and power during the period of imperial collapse. The city remains relatively small in population compared to the other Free Cities, but is very powerful economically and militarily. It's protected harbor is where the Ramalyan Armada lays at anchor. Fandarsi lays just around the southern tip of the Cape, only a two day's journey from Rosha. It is built within a volcanic caldera ringed by precipitous mountains. At the mouth of the harbor, the harbor channel forms an s-shape. This forces traffic to bottleneck and expose both of its sides as it passes in and out of the harbor. At the two promontories, there are twin fortresses connected by a high fortified bridge. A chain-link portcullis can be unfurled from beneath the bridge to instantly restrict access into the harbor. The Harbor Mouth Fortresses are re-purposed Watcher's Towers from when the Horizon Empire still ruled the Jadess. The mountains which encircle the harbor are crowned by 12 castles. These castles from after the imposition of the Ramalyan League were constructed upon the restored defensive works from the Horizon Empire Era. These castles are now in the custody of the Doge as a part of the dispensation for granting Fandarsi the right to harbor the Fleet. With harboring the fleet come the extremely lucrative monopoly as a transhipment point for all goods moving through the Ramalya Straits. All traffic must be escorted by Ships of the Ramalyan League Armada through the straits in a convoys system. The Straits are rife with pirates, tossed by storms, and treacherous with reefs, sandbars, snags, and shallows. The Ramalyan League Armada regularly dredges the channel, clears snags, maintains high seas breakwaters and light towers to limit waves. As a result, traffic through the Straits must stop in Fandarsi in order to pay a tax on the goods and for the right of passage. The Fandarsi Merchant Guild has profited greatly from this monopoly of access, to the point that it is by far the most powerful guild or singular organization within the Ramalyan League. The guild's access/association with the Ramalyan League Fleet is highly sought after for special and speedy access to ports in the northern and southern Jadess. The also receives handsome profits from collecting the transhipment tax and passage tax on behalf of the Doge. Lastly, the entrepreneurial guild has transformed itself over the last two centuries into one of the wealthiest and most ruthless banking institutions on the entire Jadess Coast; Nearly as feared as the Lumerian Merchant Guild in this right. It's lending arm is able access far more capital than it's Lumerian rival and chooses its investments much more conservatively, refusing to back political bids and scheme. All investments and loans are subjected to rigorous review by Rosha University-trained bankers and accountants within the guild for the profit they will bring to Fandarsi. The guild has an exclave (containing a banking house) in nearly every major port-city on the Upper, Middle, and Lower Jadess. For this reason, they are also a powerhouse in international money-changing, weights and measures, and international trade and finance notes. It is often joked that the Fandarsi Merchants Guild deals more in gold than it does in goods and more in paper than it does in gold. The guild is also noted for it's ruthless collection methods, frequently contracting with the Lumerian Assassins Guild, various mercenary guilds, or other city-states to capture and hold for ransom persons or property as collateral until debt is paid. Famous examples abound. Watcher's Island in Lorica-Waerd is a favorite contractor with which to hold wards abducted by the Lumerian Assassin's Guild, such as one of the Grand Dukes of Lume. The guild has even employed Skaldic Lordlings to overrun several castles which belong to various Wittanese nobles until repayment was made.The Fandarsi Merchant Guild long ago took over the civic government, well before the imposition of the League. The Guildmaster is also the Tyrant of the city. He has a special exemption from tribute from the Doge as a condition of debt-relief. This is another ruthless tactic the guild is famous for, accruing permanent revenue generating rights in foreign territories as a condition of debt-relief. The guild owns vast tracts of farmland within the Lumerian Marches granted by the Blue Throne in lieu of payment. The guild aggressively sold the marginal land to settlers in gave loans and financed their crops. The productive land, it purchased slaves to work as large plantations for luxury cash crops, such as olive oil and wine.
Tamar: Blue Elven City of Rebels Edit
Tamar is one of two major port-cities on the northern coast of the Ramalyan Cape (the other being Kantamar). This exclave of Blue Elves was founded when an Expeditionary Armada floundered into the bay after being scattered by a great typhoon. This fleet was sent northward with the explicit goal of colonization and conquest of various remaining populations around the Ramalya Bay after the collapse of the Horizon Empire. The admiral of this fleet was a minor Seagrave, Azarias. Operating on the ancient proverb, "Any port in a storm," the Seagrave ordered the remains of his tempest-tossed armada to anchor in this gentle harbor to re-provision. The Expeditionary Fleet had all of the equipment of settlement and conquest. First, an advance force moved to secure the remains of a Horizon city which fortified the harbor. This served a base camp, which eventually was transformed into a winter camp. Through out the winter, the Seagrave sent search squadrons out to sea to lead stragglers into port as well as search for any rescue attempt from Lume. He also made peace with or subjugated various local elements of Mestisen and Half-Elven. With the turning of the seasons, it became increasingly clear that no relief effort would be forthcoming from the Ocean Throne. So, the colonists set about the business of founding a permanent colony with a permanent military, political, and economic presence in the hinterlands of their encampment. Tamar's harbor is a natural bay that has been transformed by dredging and careful Elven engineering into a major deepwater seaport. The city walls were restored, and expanded. The main citadel, reocuppied as the center of colonial government. Tamar established close trade links with the other Free Cities of the Cape, especially it's northern coast partner, Kantamar. It was through this careful alliance with this bastion of mercenary activity that Tamar was able to dominate large swaths of the northern coast of the Cape, escape the ravages of the Free Companies, and resist the Imposition of the Dogue unto the bitter end. Tamar has historically chosen to employ mercenaries that have threatened it, as opposed to fight them or buy them off. Therefore, Tamar has a large cadre of former Free Companies on retainer which serve as the private guard for the Seagrave. Tamar also cultivated a special relationship with the polis of Lorica-Waerd. Tamar actual owes a feudal levy of 40 warships per campaign season to this, the largest polis in the Northern Jadess. In signing a trade/defense pact with Lorica-Waerd, Tamar also declared its independence from the Ocean Throne, coming under the overlordship of Lorica-Waerd. Tamar is under the strictest control of the Seagrave, who is perhaps the most powerful Tyrant on the Cape within his own domains. His authority is absolute. All property is held directly from the Seagrave and vast revenues are raised from yearly rents for the use and development of these lands. Tamaran society is also rigidly structured, and centralized. Citizens and subjects alike are given weekly material allotments and rations from the central storehouses and resource depots of the Seagrave according to their status, title, and job within Tamaran society. The Seagrave possesses a complex, sophisticated, and entrenched bureaucracy of stocked with Blue Elven technocrats who are lesser immortals. Business is almost entirely monopolized by the state, with two exceptions: The Fandarsi Merchant's Guild and Lorica-Waerd merchants are allowed to freely operated within Tamaran Domains--a very privileged trade advantage not usually afforded in this xenophobic and elitist society. A restless underclass of Medji, mainly comprised of the subjugated Mestizen and Half-Elves are bound to the land as serfs in the countryside and metics in the city. The Seagrave has greatly expanded his domense by reclaiming land from the sea using land reclamation processes pioneered and made famous in Lume. Tamar is also surprising domestically tranquil, despite the repressive, autocratic system of government. The Cadre of Free Companies are fanatically loyal to the Seagrave who has given them a luxurious position within Tamaran society. The Blue Elven technocrats and bureacrats are even more invested in maintaining the system. Many outsiders find the fanatically patriotism of the metics, serfs, and Medji to be the most perplexing. There are many rumors that this patriotism borders on sorcery. This dark magic is rumored to reside in the ancient coronet which the Seagrave wears, which likely dates from the glory days of the Horizon Empire; possibly the Coronet of a Watcher; Possibly forged across the Waves in the Eternal City of Rosen. There is likely something to this theory. Another viable theory is the Clockwork Menagerie. This is a collection of monstrous magical automatons created by the Seagraves skilled technocrats. These clockwork beasts are used to keep the peace, to root out sedition, and to crush the Seagrave's opponents. The three greatest automatons are the Creeper, the Dragonfly, and the Kraken. These clockworks are supported by an innumerous army of lesser automatons.
Kantamar: City of Mercenaries Edit
Kantamar is one of only two major port-cities on the northern coast of the Ramalyan Cape (the other being Tamar). Kantamar has a long established reputation a rough and tumble den of thieves, nest of pirates, and hold of mercenaries. Kantamar served as the beachhead for the most mercenary landings on the Cape during the collapse of the Horizon Empire through the Imposition of the Dogue. It's port is naturally secluded from the regular lanes of sea traffic dominated by the Ramalyan League, existing on a peninsula extending northward from the northeast coast of the Cape. The western approaches from the main shipping lane through the Ramalyan Straits are treacherously guarded by dangerous currents, shallows, riptides, sand bars, reefs, crags, atolls, and hundreds of islets. These are ideal buffers against naval incursions and ideal haunts for renegades and pirates. During the ascendance of the Free Companies on the Cape, Rosenwaeric carefully dredged and cleared a sea channel opening the eastern approaches to Kantamar, giving it nearly exclusive access to the port-city. Kantamar was already the disembarkation point for tens of thousands of mercenaries sent from the mainland as reinforcements during the collapse, the forces that eventually congealed into the Free Companies. It was also the entry point into the Cape for the Horizon Legions sent to purge the Mestizen. During the years of the collapse this port remained staunchly loyal to the remaining Watchers on the Jaddess Coast, and after the fall of the last Watcher, stayed firmly in the grasp of Imperial partisans. Eventually, the Imperial faction within the city was unable to maintain control, discipline, and pay for the many mercenaries which propped up it's independence. Naturally, a opportunistic condottieri seized the moment, playing upon the mutinous feelings rampant within the city's garrison. Alkuwesa, a Half Elven condottieri, commander of a large Free Company, the Denizens, spearheaded a coup, arresting, executing, and expelling the Imperial Partisans from the city. Alkuwesa, then solidified his position within the city as a Tyrant, leading the companies whose loyalty he could command, buying those companies he could afford, and discharging those he could not. He immediately moved to crush the companies he discharged, winning successfully stinging victories as he dismantled, reincorporated, and butchered subdued companies. Those that still resisted turned tail and fled into the arms of the other Free Cities of the Cape. Alkuwesa was not able to establish a dynasty, but he was able to establish an institution. The office of Tyrant became universally recognized as legitimate among the Free Companies of the Cape during his lifetime. It also became a permanent fixture of the turbulent Kantamaran politics for centuries to come. The Tyrant was able to reinforce his hand with a fresh infusion of loyal mercenaries and cash from Rosenwaeric during the Imposition of the Doge. Kantamar and its neighbor, Tamar, doggedly resisted the combined forces of the Romalyan League for a full century. Finally, the League's armada was able to navigate and seize the difficult approaches to its harbor, effectively ending Rosenwaerican support for its cause. After a lengthy siege by land and sea, a faction within the mercenaries within the city, accepted a massive bribe and promises of clemency from the Doge. Again, members of the Denizens, captured a gatehouse, slew the lookouts, and threw open the city gates. The same night they arrested the Tyrant and surrendered him to the Doge in exchange for sparing the city and its garrison. To this day, Kantamar continues to be a place of turbulent politics and it's sea lanes are still used to import pieces of the mercenary war machine to the Cape. Under the League, the mercenaries of Kantamar have participated in an ambitious resettlement program among the islets of Kantamar, its mercenary structures disbanded. These small colonies, bound to the Tyrant of Kantamar under a feudal arrangement of taxation and military service. This keeps these quarrelsome ex-companions divided, yet loyal and rewarded for their yearly services to the Doge. In the centuries that followed the Imposition of the League, these settlements have greatly developed and ground into thriving trading communities within the orbit of Kantamar. These semi-autonomous fiefdoms are also able to generate the largest number of knights when marshalled of any Free City in the League. The Doge has also addressed over population in these settlements by creating inducements for this restless and disinherited class of knights to aid in the conquest and settlement of Ahkakorabos.
Farashad: Silk Road Edit
Farashad is a unique city state which occupies an expansive, flat, fertile, and rich island in the middle of the Ramaylan Straits. It has one active shield volcano in the center of the island, Fara, with gently sloping sides that reach down into rolling, windswept plains. The island, Fara (named after the volcano), was colonized by the ancient Mhytyrdese during the height of their seaborne empire. It formed a fierce trading rivalry with the ancient Elven seaports of Lume, Haven and Mithlond, commanding, as it did the sea lanes of the Ramalyan Straits. They founded the capitol city of Farashad which grew into a powerful, populous trading port. Overtime, Farashad grew into a distinct power from its mother city, whose power was waining way across the waves. Much of it's population, originally engaged in farming and pastoralism turned to the sea, manning the mighty trade convoys and war fleets of their prospering city. Farashad began seeding colonies of its own along the Ramalyan Bay and Middle Jaddess. Most of these colonies were little more than trading and military factories with which to assert territorial claims and enforce trade monopolies with the local aborigninal populations. The Farashadi pioneers and expeditioners gained renown for adventuring far in the remotest regions of aborigninal territory to trade and establish local alliances. The bark canoe became the trademark of these expeditioners as they navigated and portaged the backwaters that fed into the major tributaries of the Ramalyan Bay. Although few in number, the Farashadi expeditioners influence was great among the aboriginal peoples of the Jadess Coast. They often established themselves as local factors, brokering trade between the interior and the coast. Often marrying into the local population and establishing themselves as chieftains after a sort. A large race of proto-Celdsi was the result. Eventually, this culture collesced and dominated the rest of the aboriginal peoples of the Jadess Coast along the fringes of Elven coastal power in the centuries before the conquest by the Horizon Empire. The Farashadi Factors, the chieftain descendants of the original Expeditioners led the Celdsi in resistance to Elven and Horizon incursions. The Expeditioners still existed in small settlements, factories, and military posts, but slowly faded as a force on the Jadess as they were surplanted by the rising Celdsi culture as the main brokers of trade in the interior. The Farashadi employed massive legions of Celdsi mercenaries commanding their loyalty through booty and the fealty of their chieftains, the Factors, the descendants of those original Farashadi Expeditioners and the aboriginal nobility. These rugged legions of mercenaries were commanded by ruthless Farashadi generals that shipped them far and wide across the Jadess to destroy Horizon legions where they landed and reconquer the jewels of the crumbled Mhytyrdeser hegemony. This combination of Farashadi naval might and transport with Celdsi shock infantry and mobile archers proved to be a dominating force across the shores of the Jadess. For a period of two centuries, the expansion of the Horizon Empire resisted and in places rolled back. Two major events spelled the collapse of Farashadi hegemony at sea. First, the Fire Throne contracted an alliance with the Sea People, a seaborne culture also descended from the colonies of the once mighty Mhytyrdese Empire. In exchange for special trade access to Horizon ports in the Western Jadess (a monopolymaintained to the present day), the Sea Peoples lent their might fleets to the Horizontal Empires bid for hegemony against ethe shores washed by the waves of the Jadess. The Farshadi fleet along with a mass of Celdsi mercenaries were destroyed at the battle of Stormgate, dashed and fired against the Shacklebreak Barrier reef. This left the approaches to the Ramalyan Straits vulnerable to attack. Second, the Celdsi petty kingdoms coellesced under the dominion of a High King on the mainland of the Jadess Coast. This was little more than a sacerdotal office, with little real authority. However, the High King did collect tribute from the Upper Jadess Coast to the Lower, so he was wealthy beyond compare. He also had the right to lead any pannational muster for defense. The first Celdsi High King Chedwaecus Pendragon mustered a massive coalition of Celdsi tribes and marched though the Ramalyan Range, across the Ramalyan Cape, and stage and invasion of the island of Fara. The Farshadi were able to recall most of their far-flung forces in defense of the island against the Horizon Empire after the battle of Stormgate. The Horizon Empire retreated to lick its wounds and prepare for the final assault. The Farashadi used this time to recall their farflung assets. Chedwaecus responded to the summons, but only in return for a formal promise backing his claim for sovereignty over his own people and a renouncement of all feudal claims over the Celdsi people. This was readily granted by the desperate Farashadi. As his massive force approached the Ramalyan Straits, the Farshadi began to have second thoughts and refused to ferry his forces across the Ramalyan Straits to Fara. Instead posting them on the Cape to protect Farashadi assets on the flank of the Straits. Chedwaecus set his warrior to constructing large rafts and barges in an attempt to cross the straits. The Farshadi fleet continually ran forays, sinking and firing these vessels, and slaughtering their crews. At last, with the assistance of Horizon agents, the Celdsi managed to construct a fleet, further down the coast and brought it up to the head of the cape to stage an invasion of Fara. The Farshadi fleet met the Celdsi Flotilla in the middle of the Straits and a massive naval engagement broke out. The Farashadi were deadly in their sleek and nimble triremes sinking Celdsi skiffs by scores and drowning warriors by the thousands. However, the mass of Celdsi was too great. Eventually triremes were entangled in the belabored flotilla and fell prey to the bloodlusted Celdsi berserkers through ship-to-ship boarding and skirmishing. The Celdsi flotilla was scattered and limped back to shore. The Farshadi fleet was utterly destroyed. The remaining Farshadi forces garrisoning Fara stood sentinel on the shores of Fara for three days and nights after the Battle in the Straits, butchering thousands more Celdsi that dared to swim to, wash up, or maroon on the shores of Fara. The end result was a bloody stalemate. Farashad's fleet destroyed and crippled, unable to pursue Celdsi. The Celdsi's will to recross the Straits demolished from their crushing losses in the attempt. The Celdsi withdrew inland, Chedwaecus applying his host to reducing the holdfasts and oppidiums that had resisted his calls for tribute or summons to muster for the campaign. This consolidated the Celdsi for a time as a united pan-national kingdom. This did not last beyond the reigns of his grandchildren, as authority fragmented, loyalty localized, and the High King returned largely to a sacerdotal figurehead.
At this point, the glory of Farshad was flicker of what it had been at the outset of the war. It peacefully submitted to the Fire Throne in order to preserve its remaining citizens and property intact. It was largely bereft of its trading prerogatives in the Jadess, and floundered into to obscurity under Horizon dominion. It saw a great revival of its fortunes with the collapse of Horizon power on the Jadess Coast. Over the centuries it had rebuilt its commercial fleet. Now it began reconstructing its war fleet and controlling the Ramalyan Straits, raising revenue through protection rackets on nearby seaside communities, passage tolls through the Straits and through state sponsored piracy. When the Free Cities constituted the Ramalyan League, Farashad sued for entry desiring to tap the commercial networks of member cities and thereby reinvigorate its role in trade. The League readily accepted this petition in exchange for Farshadi expertise in fleet construction. The Tyrant of Farashad submitted to the Doge, accounting for the only bloodless submission of a city during the imposition. Therefore, Farashad was admitted as sovereign member and not as a subject state.
Farashad is culturally and linguistically distinct from the other Free Cities as a result of its ancient history. Its population is primarily human, of bronze complexion and dark, curly hair. Similar to the Celsi, they are large in stature. They speak an ancient dialect of Mhytyrdese, which sounds very serpentine to those unaccustomed to hearing it. Currently, most of their colonial efforts are concentrated on the large island to the west of Fara, Ahkrakorbos. Many of the ancient cities which now stand as independent polities are the descendants of Farshadi colonies dating from the height of its hegemony. Farshad has also heavily colonized the east side of the island in recent decades, with the support and backing of the Ramalyan League. It is closely allied with Rosha in reasserting its interested on the island. However, Rosha has been given a carte blanc by the Doge to keep anything it can subjugate on the island. This often brings closely aligned allies into friction, as Rosha often finds it difficult to control the restless class of disinherited knights it is deporting to the island.
Ahkrakorbos: Breadbasket Edit