Caldare
intro(KAL-dare)

Tech Code: 6
Governments: The Incorporated Feudal Fief of Caldare.
Religions: The Temple of the Sun
Industries and Trades: maintain formatting
Major Terrain: City, Flatland, River, Sea.
Primary Languages: Ralstaan].
Major Settlements: Alban's Wier, Andrusholm, Angorn's Dirth, Brannerhort, Dagontine, Dorkenah, Druinianah, Dunsbrook, Erenlil's Dowl, Faeril Narrows, Gareth's Landing, Karnford, Khaladsholm, Korastholm, Seafort Daranek, Shatterspire, Tohl Arodunh, Tohl Caldare, Valianor, Vanon's Run, Wattle Heath, Withis Tred.

Geography


Physical Geography

The land of Caldare is dominated by the Gulf of Cald, a great jagged bay opening through a narrow inlet fringed by towering basalt cliffs known as the Black Gates, leading out into the Irian Straits. This sheltered gulf is one of the most trafficked in all of Ralstaa, and all of it's coast is heavily settled, with little coast not showing evidence of the hand of man, but nowhere so heavily as the sprawling port of Tohl Caldare, the City of Coin. North of the Black Gates, the coast sweeps into the Stonebai, where the northern Caperkil Mountains in Cannavin. This coast is low and flat, and covered with wetlands, chill swamps and low overgrown hills. Known as the Willow Fens, these are not places of great danger, but they are also seldom visited, populated by only the rare coastal fishing village. Here the coast is wild, with long black-sanded beaches stretching back to towering dunes and long sandbars, often decorated with the skeletal ribs of ships run aground and abandoned. Long swamp grasses grow in shallow, stagnant lagoons, and the croaking and splashing of frogs is ubiquitous here, but they are not without a hardy, severe kind of beauty.

Further inland Caldare is one of the few provinces of Ralstaa where the Starwood has been forced into submission, and the fertile planes left in it's retreat are mostly under heavy cultivation. Though Shaeish farmers are firm believers in massive tracts of fallow land, a wanderer thinking himself in near wilderness will often come upon a low stone wall that marks the boundary between one field and another, often days from the settlement that tends it. Many farmsteads are transient settlements, moving across vast territories to whatever part of their land they choose to cultivate in a given year. In these places lush grasses, brackish shrubs and twisted trees all reach through one another for the sun, with this cacophony of life being startlingly broken by long straight rows of corn or barley or some other crop, forced to stand like soldiers at attention, or sweeping avenues of orchards populated by peasants in broad, flat straw hats.

Like the coast, the banks of the rivers of Caldare are also well populated, and the River Faeril flows almost dead south into the gulf from a source somewhere just inside Cannavin. The river is wide, often reaching up to a mile across, and deep, giving it a calm surface. But occasionally the Faeril narrows, creating rapids made shallow and hazardous by rocks and driftwood trapped in these bottlenecks. Usually these areas of rapids will be accompanied by a large shallow pool just upriver around which villages form. Marking the south-eastern border between Caldare and Kileirey is the swifter, and considerably longer Swordfish River, flowing down to the narrow eastern coast of Caldare. Both rivers are prone to flooding in the spring, and so settlements along their banks often exhibit buildings elevated on stilts, or else are built well back from the river on a raised area.

The weather here is common to most of the Shaeish lands, with temperate summers, winters that often have a snowy month inland, but are milder along the coast, and humid, uncomfortable springs with frequent warm showers. High winds are very common, thanks to relatively little geographical shelter for the region, and storms, often of exceptional violence, often blow in off the Irian Sea, or else up from the Wild Sea to the south. Sometimes these can strike with very little warning, and at other times threatening grey clouds fringed with electric blue hang off the coast for weeks before surging inland. Usually these are the worst, and scorched, split trees and toppled houses are common evidence of their passage.

Political Geography

Caldare.jpg

Caldare has always been the backbone of the Shaeish nations, but now more than ever the very pinnacle of Shaeish culture and society centres around the ancient City of Coin. However what sets Caldare apart from most other Ralstaan lands is that no a single free hamlet exists within the entire region. Darran 'Blacktower' Uth-Caldare, Prince of Caldare lays claim to every inch of the region, from Tohl Arodunh in the east, to the might City of Coin, and even a few miles of open sea out from the Black Gates to the infamous Seafort Daranek. While he only claims the title of Prince, and lets none in his land claim a higher honour, Darran is undeniably King of Caldare in the mold of other great Ralstaan nations such as Tuarvael or Byrnham.

The Prince rules as monarch of all of Caldare, and his lands outside of the City of Coin are governed by various noble houses, all of whom gather their own noble followers in the same manner. The most powerful noble houses - that is to say those whose city-states rival the various kingdoms of the rest of Ralstaa - gather in council to petition, advise and make requests of the Prince with regard to his laws and his considerable - possibly unrivalled - influence at the Oerocrast. Aside from House Caldare there are six noble houses that make up this council; House Gaeowyn, House Renreth, House Baruk, House Korast, House Shieren and House Tyroene. Each of the rulers of these houses also claims the title 'Prince', though all know that it is House Caldare that rules here.

The Principality of Caldare, like all of Ralstaa, is a feudal monarchy, led by knight-priests who receive their training at the capitol city of the High Kingdom of Ralstaa, as little better than noble hostages, kept to ensure loyalty to the regime. The ruling class here are as staunchly loyalist and traditional as you could hope to find, and the Princes of House Caldare are not even required to submit their heirs to the High King as all other houses are. As a result the laws of the High Kingdom, and it's tithes, are enforced and collected without any attempt at subversion that might be common in other kingdoms are not even considered here. The only major deviation from other Ralstaan Kingdoms is that in Caldare serfdom has been abolished, and wealthy villeins and citizens actually have the right to own land - though only on the condition that the local nobleman does not wish to purchase the land from the seller himself.

Social Geography

One of the least densely populated, and most widely settled lands to be found in the Knives, the villeins of Caldare are likely the most cosmopolitan, worldly, educated and social to be found anywhere in Ralstaa, the abolition of serfdom and the movement to an established and secure agrarian culture serving them well. Other Kings know the might of great Caldare, and know that it's Prince sits at the right hand of the High King himself, and so none have braved lawful warfare with the land in generations, and so without the threat of having territory carved off the various noble houses of Caldare have been free to expand their holdings right to the borders. Castles and knightly Tors are a less common sight here, except in major cities or guarding the roads, and some villages are administered by a mayor sent from the local noble rather than an elder. Lodge life is declining in these more travelled and densely populated lands, and the common people have a tiny hope of upward mobility and geographic mobility, meaning that lodge-run villages often find outsiders making lucrative offers on their land. Some staunchly cling to tradition, but others welcome the new ways and the prosperity they bring.

Still, the heart of Caldare, like every other Ralstaan land, is the landed Knight Bachelor. Here, rather than carving out his own domain, building a Tor and going about attracting settlers to found a Kingdom, these knights apply to their families amongst the noble houses of Caldare, asking for an assignment of land. They are given this in return for administering the people, appointing and paying the local officials, keeping a small force under arms to act as protectors and police, levying the Prince's taxes and enforcing his laws. They then go with their lord's blessing to their new domain. The problem with this is that there are more prospective Knights Batchelor than there are available domains when all of the land is claimed by one nobleman or another. For this reason many knights are encouraged to take up positions with the orders instead, and Caldare is a major contributor to all of the knightly orders.

Setting Trait (value): name trait

Trade in Caldare, however, suffers from this over-abundance of village life. Where in other lands merchant cabals could meet and administer caravans from free hamlets and coaching inns here the law reaches from coast to coast and such banding together of common men is against the High King's law. Were food not such a valuable commodity to northern Ralstaa trade would have long ago dried up altogether. For this reason many existing cabals have enlisted the help of a local knight to act as head of their cabal, and thus legitimize them as mere servants of a noble house, but this leads to heavy taxing, and knights are already so overburdened with knowledge of war and religion and diplomacy that they can seldom grasp the fragile economics, or the velvet gloved statesmanship of trade. While franklins, who merely rent their properties from their local lords, still dominate the lower classes a growing number of merchants are retiring from their technically illegal trade cabals to invest their gold in actually legitimately buying land, and without the heavy burden of duty that a nobleman carries this new landlord class are becoming quite prosperous. It seems likely that some steps will have to be made to limit their power before they begin to supplant the traditional nobility, and thus diminish the power of both church and state.

History


Timeline

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

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

936 D Viran Uth-Rallis arrives in Caldare at the behest of Alan Caldare. Alan bows to Viran.

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

1100 D Carin Uth-Rallis is crowned High King.
1114 D Present Day.

The Caldare Wings

Allan Caldare, exalted Prince of Caldare and second to the High King during the time of the reformation, was famous for the close-faced templar’s helm he wore, because on it’s sides were fashioned a pair of iron wings. In his honour, these wings have since become a symbol of the House of Caldare and in all of the lands of the High Kingdom only scions of royal Caldare blood are entitled to wear wings upon their helms. As a result it has become an emblem of immense pride and honour for the members of house Caldare to go about in winged helms of more and more elaborate and ornate make, sometimes wrought in precious metal, or with real feathers of some rare and vivid creature. Any man caught displaying the wings on his armour in Caldare will immediately be arrested, and will likely find himself in combat with a judicial champion to determine whether or not he will be forgiven for his affront to the house’s honour. Those few who have won such trials are usually forgiven in return for a vow to never again wear the wings. Very occasionally the Prince will gift his chosen champion with a winged helm for the duration of some quest, this is truly the mark of a hero, and a thusly honoured individual will find no door closed to him in all of Caldare.

People


The Caldarens

Caldare is the bastion of Shaeish culture, and of Shaeish nationalism, but since the redistributions of Viran Uth Rallis' reformation it maintains a reasonably high urban population of Llewaith, many of whom now wholeheartedly consider themselves Shaeish, but some of whom (usually those with means, or dubious noble heritage) remain staunchly aloof and keep ties with their homeland. The Caldaran people are thought of as more conservative and xenophobic than other Shaeish Ralstaans, clinging to Alan Caldare's old anti-irian laws with vehement zeal, and looking down on outsiders, even of other Ralstaan descent. They are often noted for calling the Lleweith prideful and detached, the Dunsain savage, the other Shaeish parochial. and the Ahlonians uncivilized. Caldare might be a cosmopolitan hub to rival the great City of Lights, but its potential as a gateway to the west is hampered by the attitude of its peoples as much as the collapse of the Irian Empire. Caldare remains relatively closed, and that's the way its people like it.

Notable Individuals

His Majesty; Crown Prince of Caldare, Darran Blacktower Uth-Caldare
Darran has the same dour pragmatism his forefathers were famed for. A tall, thin man with drawn features and drooping moustaches is lightening fast, and the supreme skill and speed with which he wields sword and axe are legend amongst those squires who have trained under him. Now in his sixth decade of life, Darran is suffering form the aches and pains of old age, but is as poised and graceful as ever. Proud, noble and old fashioned, Darran believes fervently in the codes of conduct to which he is sworn. A loyalist, royalist and knight through and through, he is implacable in his faith in his High King and his Divhi, to the point of eschewing the right to establish a house cult, as have all of his ancestors.

Cadamann the Soothsayer
Cadamann is Darran’s court soothsayer and also a modestly talented magician. While most Shaeish monarchs keep a soothsayer in their employ, Cadamann is the most revered and respected of his mystical profession. Cadamann follows traditions and teachings older than the High Kingdom itself, attiring himself in truly ancient Ral garb which he claims dates back before the Sundering, or the departure from the Isle of Men as, he claims, does his craft. Using the ancient practice of casting rune stones Cadamann can see the past, present and future, and he reveals all to Darran Caldare, or at least as much as he thinks prudent. However he staunchly refuses to grant such readings to any other, claiming that the more he sees of the future the more his actions change prior readings. Ever mysterious, the servants of Caldare-Tor avoid Cadamann, fearing his power and his 'evil eye'.

Her Ladyship; Maeynn Ur-Nalissis, High Priestess of the Sun
While Darran holds the highest ranking church post in Caldare, the Temple of the Sun has seen fit to send a ranking priestess of a local lineage to oversee the spiritual governance of Caldare and also to administer additional church funds sent to the major centers of Ralstaa, under the Prince's guidance of course. The youngest daughter of Valen Ur-Nalissis, current patron of House Nalissis, Maeynn Ur-Nalassis attained a ranking position in the temple thanks to her zealous faith and quick intellect, and despite her relative youth, being only in the closing years of her fourth decade, she has garnered much praise and influence at Tohl Dannis. Now she serves in Darran's stead as administrator of the temple in Caldare, and leaves him to be the spiritual and titular head, able to lend his wisdom and strength without demanding he involve himself with the menial administration of temple assets.

Fergunn Ur-Anieth
Darran’s lord marshal Fergunn is commander of both Caldare’s army and its navy, and is equally adept at both. A canny soldier, he gave up his right to found his own dynasty in favour of serving in this most elevated post of lord marshal, and he has been exceptionally well rewarded for his sacrifice. A man in his middle fifties served under Darran's direct command as his sergeant many decades ago when Darran patrolled the western passes of Cannavin and Wynd in the name of the High King, and has been Darran's most trusted friend and ally ever since. With a knack for getting soldiers to do what he wants with a combination of unforgiving discipline and lavish rewards, and a library on the subject of warcraft to rival any outside the Imperatry Templarate, Fergunn is more than suited to the role Darran has given him, and to this day still deeply proud of it.

Her Highness; Princess Danna Ur-Sheiren
danna.jpgThe matriarch of House Sheiren, and the current ruler of Seafort Daranek. Danna is also the only monarch in all of Ralstaa to make her capitol off the shores of the knives, at Daranek itself. As the ruler of purportedly the most unassailable structure in all of Allornus, Danna's position is a lofty and much respected one. In days past the seafort was crucial to keeping invaders from Ralstaa's shores, but since the collapse of the Irian Empire and the cessation of aggression between the Haedrasians and Ralstaans the worst it has had to weather is the occasional pirate armada or the navy of one despot or another in the west who thinks that the massive edifice would make a fine fastness for his ships. None of these have ever even commanded the Princess's attention, as her many advisers are more than capable of dealing with such minor annoyances. Haughty and insular, Danna is in her middle years, and begrudges the fact that more domestic concerns have taken her house from the position of Caldare's second family to merely one of many. To make up for this she keeps her court as opulent as she can afford, and does her best to overpower visitors with awesome architecture, massive wealth and much pomp and ceremony.

Kandrächose
The trolish warlord Kandrächose (can-DRA-koze) is the most wanted and hated enemy of the Prince of Caldare. A rogue and outcast, Kandrächose is a man-killer, living somewhere in the ever-shrinking wilds of Caldare. He generally has a small band of other trols in his command, though these seem to come and go. Four times Kandrächose has raised a raiding party, and marched against the Tors of members of House Caldare, and four times he has razed them to the ground and vanished before retribution could arrive. Tall, even amongst his kind, and heavily scarred from head to toe, this terrifying man is said to easily be the equal of even the greatest knight in his skill at arms, and delights in adorning himself with the finery of the many knights he has killed, knowing how it must gall and infuriate his foes. He seems to have no motive other than destruction, but it remains a mystery why he ranges so close to Caldare. Some whisper there truly is some grudge between he and the Prince.

Today in the Principality of Caldare


As befits the hub of Shaeish civilization, rumour abounds throughout Caldare, and on any given day a man can go from his labours to a place of gathering (be that his lodge's communal meal, or a favoured local taproom) and hear all manner of gossip about the goings on in the land. At present the most popular concerns the trol Kandrãchose. Word has it that the garrison at Vanon's Run repelled a probing raid by his band this past week, and if that is true then it will not be long before that village sees an assault on a greater scale, if he stays true to form. Knights are already flocking to Vanon's Run in search of glory. More dubious is the story of Martin, a young ward of Lanceor Uth-Tyroene taken into his household several months ago. While Lanceor maintained that Martin is the son of a loyal knight, died in battle, whispers that the soon-to-be-man is Lanceor's bastard are spreading so fast they may as well be shouts!

In Shatterspire, the Sheiren-sponsored West Caldare Cabal has recently begun receiving goods from some new trade partner to the west, and overladen vessels offload crates stamped with the cabal's seal at Daranek monthly. If the officials are to be believed, these new partners are also the new masters of the cabal - a cunning Irian consortium running the cabal from offshore. If this is more than mere hot air it's certain that the Prince will be hounding them the moment word reaches him. Speaking of the eminent Darran Blacktower, a story also tells that Darran was not really Elandelé's son, and that the true Caldare heir is hidden in the bowels of Caer Caldare, and has been since he was born. Some say he is deformed, or mad, or worse a mage-tainted monstrosity!

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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