intro (BELLY-more)

Tech Code: 5
Governments: The Incorporated Feudal Fiefs of Keil, Nounan, and Shaere.
Religions: The Temple of the Sun; The Keilshoene Cult; Lodge Spirit Cults
Industries and Trades: maintain formatting
Major Terrain: Flatland, River, Swamp, Wood.
Primary Languages: Ralstaan.
Major Settlements: Adwymawr, Balley, Daghra Ben, Dannagh, Hornsholm, Kalamon, Mawbheil, Rhabhe, Shaeresholm, Siobhane, Tentallaigh, Twin Stones.


Physical Geography

Bordered in the south by the Blue Hills and the bulk of the Larnarch Wood, and in the east by the Gulf of Shay, Balleymoore (BAL-ee-mor) is a large, mostly flat expanse of moorlands spreading between the coast inland to the cool surface of Loch Cael. In the north and west the moors give way to the southern reaches of the Starwood, and the land becomes wild, shadowy and full of twisted trunks and whispering winds. Both moor and the wood feel somehow wild, primordial and ancient, despite the ruination of the sundering they leave an impression that they have been here long before the time of men, and will remain here long after. It is not hard for an outsider to imagine why the Shaeish people turned so freely to superstition and the worship of spirit lodges when one wanders the moors of Balleymoore.

Over the blue hills in the south, the plains of Kileirey are a grass-flooded sea, but the moorland of Balleymoore is rockier, littered with black pieces of shattered rock, and broken by the occasional, inexplicable ring of menhirs. The land rises and falls gently, but now and then a steep elevation juts from the bleak flats, to be battered bare by the jealous wind. The moors stretch out to the ragged coastline, where the tattered edges of the Gulf of Shay - cutting the Balleybai and the Rhuenbai rudely into the land's heart, the latter embracing the isle of Rivan - give way to the rocky beaches and still inlets of the Coulbai, and Valen's Isle. The silty Bitter River feeds Rhuenbai, flowing strong from the centre of the moors, where it springs from beneath the earth, hinting at a series of underground caves, while the shorter, fast flowing River Ashaye has its source in the northern woods. And in the south-west Loch Cael is deep, dark, and secretive. Dropping steeply away to unknown depths, sometimes the loch steams on a cool day, or ripples on a still one as if there were some movement at its depths. On its banks terraces of pale yellow sit bare, developing cracks as the years pass, then mysteriously healing again.

In both the south and north of the realm, woods form a clear border, though the north and south are as different as day and night. The Larnarch Wood is light, the forest floor scattered with fallen leaves, and the wood made up of deciduous oak and maple, that stretch out to form a dense canopy, letting dappled sunlight filter though their boughs. In the summer and spring, birds sing, and squirrels and other climbing creatures scurry above. In the winter the snows fall, and the trees shed their leaves, becoming stark and skeletal, and casting a world of gently howling wind - of white and black and cold. But in the north the starwood is different. A chaotic, tangled mass of dark evergreens, choked with brush, with patches of tenacious briars that burst into vivid colour, before vanishing again into the impenetrable shadows as if they were a dream. Here all is strangely, eerily silent, and the only clearings are around hidden faerie rings, where men were not meant to tread. Here faeries titter and whisper from their hiding places, and now and then the unseen roar of massive wings just above silences even they.


Balleymoore is a cooler land than the rest of the lands on the coast, given to light falls of snow in deep winter, not known south of the blue hills. Though storms sweep over the knife they meet the unique weather bred by the Starwood here, and the clouds over the moor often clash, and the winds do battle high above. Summers can be warm, even humid in the north, and spring and autumn both bring heavy rains. While the clouds overhead are alway in motion (often violent) they are seldom absent. And only through long, ragged tears in the sky does Rallah's face gaze through, and offer blessing rays to her people below.

Political Geography

Balleymoore is ruled by houses Keilshoene, Horn and Shaere, each of whom rule sizeable kingdoms, primarily because there are so few free hamlets out in the moors, where living is hard.


Once there was no Keil, once there was only Balleymoore, and though the Keilshoene kings had not always been the rulers of Balleymoore, it was theirs and theirs alone when Viran the Unifier came, and when this vast, and mostly empty land was used to rehouse two kingdoms, the house of Kielshoene broke, and never truly recovered. The folk of Kiel secretly regard their kings as failures, and for their part the kings of Kiel are content to stay in their tors, and live in faded grandeur, and this leaves the people of Keil with a certain levity and independence their neighbours don't enjoy.


Though the warrior-queen Nounan reigned in Haeliard, she and her descendants made many enemies in that land, and so when the Unifier reshaped Ralstaa, he took the fierce princes of Horn into his army, and when he came to Balleymoore he carved a new domain for them. Even now there is a fierce, wild streak in the small land of Nounan, and they took quickly to the Shaeish way of worshipping the elementals. The people of Nounan have come to love and respect their princes and princesses, and fight fiercely when called to.


Shaere occupies the large northern portion of Balleymoore, where the starwood encroaches into the land. Oft seen as betrayers, the old kings of Shaere turned on the Kielshoene kings during the wars of reunification, and sided with the new order, and for that they were gifted with the lion's share of Balleymoore. Some see the resource rich fief as gloating, but it sees itself as guardian of Balleymoore, rising up to wake it from the slow death of Keil rule. Naturally, those two nations clash periodically, though in recent years Shaere has joined with the houses of Breconn to combat the rise of Lorrac in Thalentis.

Social Geography

Balleymoore is sparsely settled for a Shaeish land, more akin to the northern Dunsain kingdoms. The terrain here is not dangerous, but little of any use can be grown or gathered here, and so civilization tends to cluster to the major settlements, and thus the kingdoms of Balleymoore. Characterized by sparsely scattered towns with large populations, even by Ralstaan standards, life in Balleymoore is focused on the home town, and few people will leave the town they were born in over the course of their entire lives. This has made the settlements of Balleymoore largely self sufficient and also given them little in the way of exportable industry.

Free hamlets are common here, but they are often rough places, where outsiders are viewed either with great suspicion, or targeted by robbers and thieves. Still, they often command generous tracts of land, and produce foodstuffs, lumber, and other raw materials that they can take to the tohls to trade for artisan crafted goods. For their part, the incorporated villages and tohls also control land enough to provide for themselves, save in Nounan, where the folk prefer to rely on trade with the free hamlets to the south to bolster their supplies. Because serfdom is heavily enforced upon all villeins by their lords, these free hamlets carry a semi-outlaw stigma, that allows them to be targeted should a fief ever find itself short of supplies. The people of Balleymoore remain stoic about the situation - after all, all free men have the option of returning to the security of royal lands.

Setting Trait (value): name trait


Abridged History

maintain formatting


c. -1020 D The Ral leave the Isle of Men with the other three last tribes.

0 D Rallah ascends, leaving Ralstaa in the charge of her people.

943 D Viran Uth-Rallis marches into northern Balleymoore.
944 D Voere meets the High King at Caer Nerandar, closing the Shaeish campaign.

972 D Viran Uth-Rallis dies in Tohl aged seventy-one.

1110 D Carin Uth-Rallis is crowned High King.
1114 D Present Day.


Folk of the Moors

Despite the presence of lleweith overlords, the people of Balleymoore are almost entirely shaeish, and only the upper classes - the various lesser nobles - are of lleweith blood. Churls live in free hamlets in lodges, as do most of the northern shaeish. They are led by their elders, and by the eldest patriarch in the extended family that is the lodge. Lodges tend to be far apart in Balleymoore, and people live off the land, seldom trade, and have little cause to have contact with outsiders, or even nearby lodges. City dwellers and villeins of incorporated villages are equally sedentary, and self sufficient, and so the population seldom changes much, and tend to be more mistrustful than usual of strangers. In all three kingdoms the lower classes are serfs, and are bound to the village or tor in which they were born - or rather its lord - by law. Other races are almost unknown, and birdmen and urgrol would be met with terror in these lands. What the moors are said to hide are trols, and while they are almost never seen, occasionally a free hamlet is destroyed, with no survivors, or a tor is besieged and destroyed, leaving no survivors to point to the perpetrator. And now and then a woman, wandering alone on the moors, vanishes from the world without a trace.

Flora and Fauna

Sharing moorlands with Kileirey, and fringes of the Starwood with Cannavin, Balleymoore is a diverse land, but one rich with diverse plant and animal life. On the moors heathers, grasses and sedges are the norm, with copses of ash trees making their homes on sheltered hillsides and around small streams. Wild thistles tend to struggle in the shaeish lands, and while they appear, they usually look sickly, but wild blackberries and nettles more than replace them in stickling and irritating passers by. Meanwhile in the north dense forests of oak, maple, and willow with the characteristic dense undergrowth of brambles ferns, tea-tree, and raspberries inherit the land, with fir, beech, juniper and chestnuts emerging in sheltered glades.

The moorlands are undoubtedly dominated by red deer, to the point of infestation, while small mammals such as shrews, fieldmice, weasels, stoats, martens, otters, hares and especially rabbits are also common despite heavy aerial predation. Squirrels also find home in the forests, as do colonies of fairies. Wolves, badgers and wolverines are the most common land predators, though the occasional black bear isn't unknown. Overhead thrushes, owls, many species of tit, buzzards, and grey and black gulls are all common, with eagles, hawks and falcons coming to hunt in the lean times of winter, but preferring the mountains the rest of the year. A couple of native sparrow-hawks do make a permanent home here however. Herons and even albatross are a regular sight along the coast, and storks are found around rivers and marshland. Walrus colonies exist around the southern coastal cliffs, while the gulf holds pike, perch, carp, roach, salmon, and trout, with basking sharks, boarfish, lumpsuckers, cuckoo wrasse, and thresher sharks all common further out. The waters of Lake Cael might be lovely to look upon, but large catfish, and an infestation of hagfish make for some unpleasant permanent residents. Ikar and griffins aren't unknown - though they usually nest in more mountainous regions they will often clash over good hunting range along the northern moors, making for an awe-inspiring spectacle.

Ranches in Balleymoore keep mainly sheep and goats, but deer reserves produce plenty of game meat. Most villages keep enough pigs, chickens, and occasionally cattle for their own purposes, but most grazing animals dislike the hardy vegetation of the moors, and only the stout oxen prove tenacious enough to thrive. Still, hird are happy to stay in the forests, and a few large hird ranches do quite well in the woodlands. Root and leafy vegetables make for staple fare, with venison and rabbit featured in most evening meals.

Notable Individuals

His Majesty; The King of Kiel, Derek of Kielshoene
Derek is a man in the twilight of his life. The King of Kiel has weathered a difficult and often demanding reign. Derek has been made to feel unwelcome by his subjects every day of his reign. The people of Kiel have long seen the scions of house Kielshoene as failures, sitting in the crumbling castle that was once a mere border tor, surrounded by keepsakes that remind Derek that, before the reformation his ancestors ruled all of Kileirey, suffering the indignity of having his family name stripped from the hall of heroes, and above all bearing the words of an ancient curse laid down by Reuban the Riddler for an accidental slight, Derek has had more than his share of obstacles to his rule. Perhaps, then, it is little surprise that the king of Kiel has isolated himself more and more from his sparsely settled home, and relied upon powerful loyal knights to keep his realm whole and his coffers modest.

Her Ladyship, The Queen of Keil, Malena
Derek’s queen Malena is almost two decades his junior, but a more affectionate or devoted queen he could not hope for. Perhaps it is because she pities her husband, or perhaps there is genuine love between the two, or perhaps the truth lies somewhere between the two. What is telling is that Derek has never chosen to take another wife, though it is within his rights to do so, and even though Malena has yet to give Derek an heir he has remained as loyal to his queen as she has to him. Practically alone together in their labyrinthine home, amongst rumours of a secret spoken of only as 'the horror'. Malena knows that she is Derek's heir. Knows that if she does not bear him a child soon she will have to take another husband to salvage her husband's failing dynasty, and she bears that responsibility proudly and unflinchingly - but to all those that know her its weight is evident, and that some unspoken secret bears down upon her every waking moment.

Reuban the Riddler
Reuban the Riddler is something of a legend in Balleymoore and even in the lands around it. He has been wandering the moors for as long as the men who dwell there can remember. No door is ever closed to him, because Reuban is a prophet, a man fated to forsee the whims of the Divh, one who seldom brings good news but a man who has proven himself able to bring down terrible curses upon those who offend him or refuse him hospitality. Reuban will disappear for years on end, but when he appears he makes his presence well known, for he is accompanied wherever he goes by violent storms and strange winds that wail like mourners. It is said that he carries with him the death masks of all of those whose deaths he has foretold, and that his curse brought down 'the horror' upon lonely Caer Nerendar, amongst a plethora of other legends the local people whisper about him. An absolute enigma, no one cares to risk the Riddler's wrath.

His Majesty, The King of Horn, Albian ‘Truthkeeper’ Uth-Horn
King Albian of Horn rules over the fief of Horn, which comprises a full half of the province of Balleymoore. Making his home in the ancestral lands of his family, the scions of Horn turned on their rulers the Kielshoene kings of Balleymoore when Viran Uth-Rallis called, and now they rule over what was once the heartland of that ancient kingdom, as well as the southern fringes of the starwood that creep gingerly back over the moors. But Albian feels no shame at the actions of his ancestors, who the common folk took to be liberators and who the hall of heroes celebrates with great names indeed. And even if he did, the reformation is distant history, and Albian has proved himself to be a proud, devout man of impeccable character and unflinching honour. More than once in the past Horn and Kiel have come to blows in the past, but Albian has always been determined that the rift between the two houses be healed, and hopes that Derek's successor, whoever that may be, might be less deaf to his pleas for friendship than Derek has proven.

Her Majesty, The Princess of Shaere, Aubre Uth-Shaere
The Princess Aubre of Shaeresholm has reigned for a little over three years, after her father acclaimed her heir on his deathbed, and has recently taken her first husband - a proud and much admired knight known as Kin 'Longbow' Ur-Corrick. Despite being descended from a resettled Lleweith house, Aubre is admired, even beloved by her Shaeish subjects, for her gentility, her courtly manner, and the vein of tactfully concealed strength that she shows when pressed. But most of all they love her because it is she, and not her elder brother Howl who rules them. For her own part, the princess was never properly groomed for rulership, spending more time in study of scripture than statecraft, and what might still be forgiveable as naivete today, may soon transform into incompetence tomorrow if she doesn't learn the ways of the kings and queens of Ralstaa fast.

Rusk of Balley
The most prominent and storied questing knight of Balleymoore, Rusk is on the verge of becoming the newest king in Ralstaa. Rusk began life serving in the armies of Albian Uth-Horn's father, Adrick, King of Horn. However after a number of engagements with the armies of Kiel, which were more common before Albian's ascent, he grew to sympathize with the ancient shaeish kings, and left the service of one for that of the other. Since then Rusk has been attached to Derek's personal guard, and also to the retinue of Aubre Uth-Shaere during her page service. In fact rumours linking the two romantically during that time still persist. He has performed duties for the Prince of Caldare, and he has even returned to undertake a number of quests for Albian after his ascent to the throne of Horn. So entrenched in the politics of Balleymoore is Rusk that many say he has been controlling the land like a puppeteer for years. Now Rusk has retired to found his own tor on the border with Kandsholm, where Caldare, Cannavin and Balleymoore meet. And here he hopes to claim the right of every Ral knight, and found a dynasty.

Today on the Balley Moore…

Balleymoore has long been thought of as a quiet backwater amongst the other provinces of the west. The Kielshoene kings sulk in faded grandeur, Shaere enjoys its position along the Great Northern Highway, without exploiting it, and the Horn rulers of Nounan trying in vane to rebuild the strength of their line. But this does not mean that the wilderness of the north does not teem with danger, and the sparse west is not rife with banditry and sedition. In the far west woodsmen and trappers trading in Kalamon report seeing Urgrol scouting parties in the woods, though the wardens have yet to sight any of the myr raiders in the region. Gossup also say that a knight is founding a tor in the north of Shaere around the banks of Silverfish Lake. If this is true it would be the beginning of Ralstaa's youngest kingdom, and is surely a place for outcasts to make themselves lords.

In Kiel many rumours are circulating. People have begun to find King Derek's regime more and more oppressive. Free hamlets are being pressd for tribute by parties of men led by knights, and cabal caravans from licensed, sponsored merchant cabals to the south are being harassed on the roads. Small parties of heavy handed armed men bearing the golden key are at large in the countryside, however the lords who rule under Derek claim no knowledge of such groups. Perhaps some renegade knights have have taken up to exploit Kiel claiming the king's name, perhaps the unpopular rule of Derek has led him to press his power upon his people, or perhaps some foreign power has taken it upon themselves to discredit Derek's already scorned rule by painting him the tyrant. To know the truth, one of these bands would have to be caught.

The Knives of Rallah, High Kingdom of Ralstaa
The Shaeish Kingdoms Caldare, Donnaigh, Rhuovaith, Kileirey, Balleymoore, Cannavin, Wynd, Breconn, Coulbaigh
The Lleweith Kingdoms Avalaigh, Haeliard, Lammornia, Branddale, Talladale, Bradenthyr, Tohl
The Starwood Cwmbran, Kentallen Wood, Uerenuell
Tuarvael Castrette, Serlot, Friesse
The Dunsain Kingdoms Byrnham, Blackstone, Craigbyrn, Duncarrick, Strath Gorge, Garynshae, The Clanlands, Aulorn's Gate
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