The Storm Sea Coast
The lands of the Storm Sea Coast look out across a vast, seemingly endless ocean, known as the Wild Sea. Battered by winds that all men known blow from the mythic Maelstrom - the place where the world was unmade, and the cradle of mankind was sunken below furious waves. Wind and sea have shaped the men of old Sigard - a land known for its sailors, and its secretive and enigmatic navigators, who jealously guard the craft of plying the open seas. This has given the land wealth, but not strength, for years ago it fell under the sway of Reddown to the north. Still, many secrets lurk in the shadow of storms, and gale hush many a whisper.

Tech Code: 6
Governments: Monarchy under the Earls' Council.
Religions: Orthodox Church of the Dioune, Cult of Gruna.
Industries and Trades: Shipbuilding, Fishing, Forestry, Skilled Crafts (Ceramics, Carving, Weaving), Salt Gathering.
Major Terrain: Flatland, Sea, River.
Primary Languages: Trade Tongue.
Major Settlements: Baldale, Bandale, Bandar, Carrow, Dorndale, Ebrin, Ennis, Erindale, Fairdunn, Forndale, Kembar, Luehold, Lierkist, Maldale, Tarabon, Vindale, Westhold.
Greater Reddown Demographics: Earl 0% / Merchant 4% / Steader 6% / Freeman 12% / Serf 61% / Slave 17%.

Geography


Physical Geography

The Storm Sea Coast is flatter but more ragged than the lands to the north. Inland and south from Lake Dale the land around the cloisters becomes flat and dry. Golden grasses grow high and occasional copses of low growing gnarled beach trees break the waving terrain. Huge grey standing stones protrude from the earth here and there, and sometimes the earth banks up behind these forming shallow gullies and weird, wave-shaped cliffs. Siele carved on these stones millennia ago, and occasionally travellers still find carvings and text remaining on these rock faces. Many have split over the centuries and leave the land dotted with hidden clearings of scattered stone.

Further towards the coast the land becomes wetter and deep, narrow, fast flowing rivers and streams break the land almost violently. Even more of the land’s grey bedrock protrudes and shows in barren patches and the coast is formed almost solely of tall, craggy grey headland and sheltered muddy beaches that move with the season. In the land around rivers and springs lush patches of wetland and tiny dense forests spring up, nourished by their fresh waters, like the veins of the land. In the east where the boarders of the Forest Kingdom form the edge of Reddown the forest becomes and ancient, dark, threatening and dense, but only copses of such ancient forest remain, the rest of the land in dotted with immense and ancient tree-stumps where the enormous trees of this land have become the ships of old Sigard. Here the stripped land forms hidden peat bogs and the tall yellow grass recedes into low tangles of green scrub.

The Storm Sea itself is treacherous and hostile, full of submerged reefs, undersea rock spires and huge colonies of razor-coral. Between these features and the punishing weather few brave the sea much further out from the coast, and few of those return. The water foams and rages and during the many violent storms lightning tears the sky and the sea rips huge chunks from the headland, swallowing them utterly and forever into it’s surging depths. The jagged bays and inlets it rips into the coast for excellent shelter for the many trading towns of southern Reddown, and for people who don’t want to be found. Massive tidal caves are everywhere, but if they are not abandoned by high tide then anyone sheltering in them risks being swept away by the quick seas, or worse still the complete collapse of the cave.

Three major bays carve themselves into the coastline. Lander’s Bay in the west is the smallest of the three, but is deep and reliable, it is also the most popular with sailors because particularly high cliffs, called the kings, because past Kings of Sigard are immortalized in hewn stone along their faces, protect the bay from most of the winds of the open sea and storms seldom settle here for long. To the east Vailen Bay cuts deep into the mainland of Werndel. Along its furthest north shores the cliffs are low, and long sandy beaches stretch up to fertile rolling farmland unique to the east. The springs that feed through narrow rivers and stony streams to Vailen’s shores are clean and fresh. To the east Reddown is bordered by the Marath Bay. Its western shores are safe, long shallow beaches shelter between towering headland, and most travellers stick close to the coast here and travel is quick and relatively safe. On the eastern shore however rough cliffs rise to dense, dark forest, and slides of jagged grey rock often fall into the foamy water and razor sharp promontories of rock jut out from the bases of the cliffs into the sea. In the southwestern part of Marath Bay is David’s Isle. The island has two deep, sheltered coves once used by pirates for shelter but now used as safe anchorage for deep-hulled ships. Otherwise it is lightly wooded and rocky.

On the southernmost point of the coast rises the Purple Mountain.The land around the mountain is dark with thick green grass and the soil is rich and light. The mountain itself rises alone from the flat surroundings, and it’s slopes recede on three sides into the ocean. It’s name comes from an old sailor’s trick to tell the weather, when a storm approaches from offshore the mountain’s southern slopes are bathed in a diffuse bluish light, turning the exposed stone purple. The mountain is visible for leagues up the coast on either side. Ancient Siele histories talk about the mountain spirit as an angry creature, and they have several accounts of the creature raining stone and fire from the sky if not placated properly, but throughout the occupation of men there has been no record of such destruction, so the people assume that the spirit sleeps and build their towns in the mountain's shadow.

The weather along the Storm Sea Coast is the most brutal to be found anywhere. Lightning and thunder are common, and sheets of light from the sky arc and earth against the cliffs and thunder rolls and clamours just offshore. Bitterly cold winds can come off the sea without warning and grow into hurricanes with little or no warning, and occasionally vast waves so tall that they top the cliffs of the coast themselves tear hundreds or even thousands of feet of the coastline and pull it into the sea. The southwestern end of the coast is all barren grey rock, nothing and on-one even tries to live here.

Political Geography

The land once called Sigard has only three major divisions. The land has been split into three Earldoms, two controlled by the descendants of northern Earls and one ruled over by the Steward of Sigard, but controlled by means of centuries-old military occupation by the council. These major divisions are called Terr, Werndel and Sigard.

Setting Trait (1): A New Reddown While Reddown's history is in the north - the conquerors of Sigard not so long ago - the political and economic power is making a slow shift to the south, where sea routes facilitate trade with the east, and the massive hub of Lierkist concentrates tradesmen and materials. The southern earls are the new, emerging powers of Reddown's future, and they know it, and even the steaders here have more land, and with slaves their lands make more profit. This gives them a swagger not seen in the north, where the future is not so bright or sure.

On the furthest western end of the region, south of Havisham is the Earldom of Terr. Though the largest of the regions Terr is also the least prosperous and definitely the least populous, this is because of her position. Terr is not on the way to anywhere, no shipping lanes pass through its waters, no real industry has its foundation here and little will grow with any tenacity anywhere along the coast. Not to mention the brutal storms and hurricanes that ravage one part or another of Terr the year round. The only reason the Earldom remains wealthy is because of its sheer size. Squat stone walled cities line land within a safe distance of the coast and people pack these cities, making a desperate living because they are law bound not to leave their lands. The Earl of Terr is Carel Terr, and he rules from a palace in the town of Bandar. Since the occupation the Terr family have reserved the lucrative slavery contracts of the south as their own domain, and Terrish slaves are still the most prized on the coast. Terr grows rich from the slave trade while the people grow poor from lack of real trade. Terr would have to be a genius to have planned the situation, but he seems pleasantly oblivious as yet.

East of Terr, stretching from the southern banks of Lake Dale all the way to the boarders of the Forest Kingdom is the Earldom of Werndel. More populous than Terr, and with regular trade Werndell very closely resembles the boarder Earldoms of the north, but on a greater scale. Both wealthy and militaristic, Werndel is the primary land of the south and with long-standing peace between both Reddown and the High Warlock and the Warlock and the goblyns Werndel’s boarders are fairly secure. The Earl, Noel Wern prospers by lending his troops and funds to other Earldoms. While not a bad man, he is ambitious and intelligent and the Council are all well aware that one day he will suggest that Sigard, and more importantly Leirkist, be annexed once and for all by his domain. This would make Werndell a power to rival even Galastry and Sherevon in the north, perhaps even greater.

Sigard is a protectorate of the Council as a whole, and is a land under occupation. It has never been truly annexed into the nation of Reddown because no one can decide who to deliver rulership of the city to. And so Sigard remains, the ruin of a once great nation. The Steward of Sigard is descended from the third of the lines of Stewards. Simon Dranshen would probably be a fine ruler had he any real power, or any post besides keeping any Earl from ruling Lierkist. The city and territory are really administrated by a force of soldiers from Daultin, under the command of Davin Vaun. While Vaun leaves much of the simple administration of Sigard to Dranshen any changes must be passed by him and, if he finds them to be outside his power, addressed by the Earl’s Council at it’s next meeting. However the people read the banned histories, and remember their king’s line, and long for the day when their own people will sit on the throne again. While elsewhere in the Storm Sea Coast the people of Reddown have become one with the people of Sigard without any real evidence to divide them, in Sigard the people remain fiercely national, possibly because the occupation reminds them every day they are a conquered people, and every civil servant is brought in from the other Earldoms.

Social Geography

The people of the southern coast are more cosmopolitan than their northern cousins, though socially they seem a little behind the north. Their society works along roughly the same class system as northern Reddown. At the top are the Earls, only two here, and in a social context the Steward of Sigard is warranted all of the respect and position of an Earl, if not his powers. In Sigard however powerful merchant traders who control companies and even entire guilds have overtaken the steader class. Normally these men secure their standing among each other by means of wealth or even guild position. Many of the guilds, based around the function of the merchant or the goods he carries or service he provides, have several ranks and positions of power which a member could employ, giving him sway and position over lesser members, and while membership is not mandatory to compete with a guild in to lose your business quickly and foolishly.

Many guilds hold lucrative monopolies contracted to them by the Earls, others simply purchase the right to ply their trade. Merchants purchase titles just as the steaders in the north would. The landholding steaders have taken second place to the merchants because they are far poorer, though many merchants have bought themselves land. Steaders still buy titles, though only lesser posts are generally available to them and they exist more as a means for the Earls to control and define their lands than as a source of income, vastly overshadowed by the merchant class. They have opportunities that the steaders of the north lack however, because the use of slaves to supplement the workforce allows them to draw a greater portion of the profit of their steadding. Steads tend to need to be larger to be self-sustaining in the far more punishing territory of the south. The freemen of the south are exactly the same as their northern counterparts. Skilled labour free to leave the stead of their origin and not controllable, they also have the right to own slaves, though the exact number of slaves a freeman can own is limited by the law of whichever Earldom he makes his home in. Generally a Freeman earns his status by practising one of the trades designated that of a freeman, which can change depending upon what the merchants tell the Earl that they need. Generally the freemen can join guilds, their services become worth less, and are exclusive to the guild, which takes a portion of their income, but they are guaranteed security and property by the guild, so many take this option.

The serfs of the Storm Sea Coast are a dwindling class. Only on particularly large steads are there any serfs, most have either been enslaved or adopted a trade under one of the guilds. Farm labourers, fishermen and woodcutters still gather in small towns and trade stations making their living. The majority of the lowest class is made up of slaves. When one man owes another a debt, by the laws of Sigard, he was able to sell himself into slavery for an allotted period of time in order to repay this debt. Because it was such an essential part of Sigard’s society and economy attempts to abolish the practice have failed miserably. A man’s ability to use his life as a commodity has made slavery common, and the trading of these contracts of slavery has also become a common trade. In Terr especially the Earl has gathered generations of life-debt from some families and is able to provide a cheap, loyal labour force to any project he heads or sell them on to his merchant subjects. By controlling this limited cheap workforce he has prospered. Though a man is free after his debt is repaid he is left with nothing, so unless he has some useful skill he is generally left with no other option but to sell himself back into slavery for a few years so as to have enough money when he is finally free to live. The other way to acquire a slave is for a member of the freeman class or better to catch an earl-less vagrant. If he chooses to spare the vagrant’s life he can instead enslave him, though if a slave has already run away once it is probably still easier to kill him. If someone does this they not only have a right to the man they enslaved, but also any children he may have, and any of the children's children and so on until the owner decides, if ever, that the crime is repaid. Slaves are unpaid, and their owners can treat them however they wish, their lives are the property of their owners, however once a slave becomes a serf again he is entitled to property, no one polices this arrangement though, so conceivably a man who sells himself into slavery for just a year could end up enslaved for life very easily. He is totally at his master’s mercy.

Setting Trait (2): Frank Slavers Most of the peoples of Ahlonia are not fond of slavery. In the northern earldoms of Reddown it is outright unlawful, and in Highdunn to the east such practices are frowned upon, and usually only affect an individual. But in the southern Earldoms, where property and economy are more formalized, indentured servitude by debtors is considered a norm and necessity, and slaves are slaves until they pay their debt or are freed, which could take generations of a family, or perhaps even prove impossible to ever achieve. Trading slaves is also uniquely legal here - a slave is a commodity, and a debt can be passed from person to person at whatever value the owner of the debt places upon it.

The key difference socially between northern and southern Reddown, other than the presence and trade of slavery, is the concentration of the population on towns and cities. Because less of the land of the Storm Sea Coast is farmable or really usable the people tend to gather in sprawling townships. Along the coast these towns have squat stone outer walls to protect them from the worst of the damage caused by the storms that blow in off the sea. Because of the presence of the guilds there is a lot of skilled labour in these towns, as well as the menial serfs and the household slaves of the merchants and freemen, which only increases the trade moving through them. Each one is built around a trade station with a merchant venture attached, and generally the local guilds are in total control despite the town falling into one steader’s domain or another. Sometimes the town will be lightly taxed, mostly through road taxes levied on traffic to and from the town, but in some areas the steader’s power is not enough for him to so inconvenience the guilds and they are left mostly to themselves.

History


Timeline

-68 HC Landsmen arrive on Ahlonia, the fifth tribe of the Ral, called the Raed, remain in the
western hills.
0 HC The Ral leader Shaenian dies, the people split. The Earldoms of Galastry and Sherevon are established under his eldest two sons. The division is peaceful but competitive.
58 HC The council of Earls declare war with Shiel-Meial, and raise their war banners. Surprisingly initial campaigns meet with surprising success, and huge tracts of forest are torched and have keeps raised on them and garrisoned, the Siele pull back into the deepest forest.
61 HC The forces of Reddown suffer their first great defeat where the Forest Way now lies, there are no survivors and the line of the Earls of Galastry dies out completely with Simon. The Siele mount the bones of the men in the ruins of their tower at Tel-Celeste. The war begins to rapidly move against the landsmen.
70 HC The Earls ally themselves with the newly landed goblyn tribes of the north, most notably Dyurvar’s Hammers, in an effort to stem the tide of battle in their favour. This works well, as the goblyn’s prolific numbers and strip-mining programmes prove a fatal combination to the Siele. Dyurvar himself is admitted to the Earl’s councils of war.
92 HC The nation of Sigard is founded by King Lander, the accord of Ennis is signed by many of the southern trading towns bringing them under Sigard’s banner. Also the southernmost province of Reddown joins Lander.
703 HC Shiel Meial falls and the last of the Siele flee into the Roughlands. The Siele-King Fieme is killed when his tower is besieged, and his sister the Siele Queen Amiaiele takes command of the refugees. When they arrive in the northern vale they settle among the landsmen there. The King of Highdunn tolerates these refugees only because he can’t spare the forces to assail them.
1012 HC The goblyns in the Earldoms seize the Forest Kingdom colonies and name it Talthak. While no formal alliance is made between the tribes, they co-operate well with a common foe.
1042 HC Henry, last of the Kings of Sigard dies leaving no heir. The nation falls into civil war between several small factions with loose claims to the throne and various merchant lords backing them.
1044 HC After a brief period of civil war the ageing Chancellor Freir Grimm unites the navy and, under the threat of invasion by Reddown becomes Steward of Sigard.
1304 HC The council elects William of Galastry commander of their combined forces. The Earls of Reddown march on Lierkist, after a brief battle they besiege the port city.
1305 HC Sigard appeals for aid from Highdunn, but the King turns them down, telling the Steward “My ancestor swore an oath to the King of Sigard, and when his missive arrives so will my troops.” Most people speculate a secret accord between Reddown and Highdunn.
1307 HC Sigard surrenders to the Earls Reddown following the Battle of Lierkist, and is split among them, the Steward is allowed to retain his post but he is rendered almost powerless. Leirkist remains occupied.
1338 HC Varnal Wern, cousin of Henery Barven, occupies Fort Ennisguard and opens negotiation with the High Warlock and the Grand High Prelate to open the Forest Way.
1350 HC The first caravan travels down the Forest Way from Ennis to Cavaliers Falls, and arrives unharassed.
1427 HC Siele raiders breech deep into the boarders of Werndel. Armies from Galastry and from Kirshire march south to offer aid. The Kommeron seize on this opportunity to launch a simultaneous attack in Ennis where they burn the local Sheriff’s house to the ground with him and his family in it.
1482 HC Present Day. Kommeron forces raid Leirkist itself, they are suspected to have established a base of operations somewhere on the island districts. A group of dissident fanatics calling themselves the ‘shining ones’ has appeared in Leirkist to lobby for Solon’s elevation to oracledom.

People


The Storm Sea Coasters

The downsmen of the south (no longer allowed to call themselves Sigarders) differ very little in appearance from their northern cousins. Broad built, stoic and stout they do have darker, ruddier sin than the northern downers and tend to have a generally more windswept appearance and sometimes slightly redder, more sun-bleached hair. Otherwise the difference is imperceptible except by the difference in fashions in Leirkist.

The class system is as important in the south of Reddown as it is in the north. The divisions are, however, more escapable. It is easy for a serf or even a slave to buy his way into the freeman class, and for freemen to rise to merchants or steaders through service to the guilds. The south is a land of opportunity and the slaves are fond of this saying. If a man has enough money he can go anywhere, it’s getting the money that’s hard. The existence of legalized slavery in order to repay debt obviously changes the social-scape and takes a lot of work away from the common serfs, who often have to sell themselves into slavery to survive. A more disturbing trend is the serfs having several children and selling all but one into slavery in order to pay for the education of the eldest in a freeman’s trade. The merchant class are also a concern, especially to the Earls here. They know that they are the power behind the Earls, and that where it to come to all out war between the guilds and the Earls their lords would soon run out of funds to pay their armies and they would be left with no option but to agree to whatever the guilds demanded. As yet the merchants have not felt such unity that they would move to consolidate their power, and they still fear the northern Earldoms, but should chaos take the north by way of war, civil or with the goblins, they could resurrect a new Sigard far more surely than the Kommeron could ever hope to.

The Kommeron are an underground resistance group based in the city of Leirkist and the surrounding territory of Sigard. These men claim to be revolutionaries and loyalists, but most people view them as dangerous and unstable insurgents, interested in nothing more than agitating and causing property damage. Led by Aril Kiristforth and his lieutenants these men integrate themselves among the guildhouses and army posts of the city, hiding their allegiances until the right opportunity arises, then they launch attacks to seize goods or assassinate key figures or generally cause chaos. They are credited as the cause of some of the south’s greatest military defeats, especially in the Forest Kingdom, and with the murder of at least a hundred key noblemen and commanders since the fall of old Sigard. The people once saw them as heroes, but as the people of Sigard perceive themselves more and more as Downsmen over the decades and centuries that the nation hasn’t existed they now fear and hate the Kommeron, and for their part the Kommeron have begun to care less and less for their people. Despite public pleas from even the Steward himself to disband the Kommeron remain a presence throughout the entire Storm Sea Coast, and feature prominently in the daily prayers of the common people.

The people of the south practice their faith more from habit and convenience than from the devout piety that the ministers of the north have instilled. The faith of Koroth has never been popular, and the High Prelates have allowed the Sigardian belief in the one divh with two aspects to blossom rather than have the people lose interest in Koroth altogether. Aliel is more popular here, where the people pray not for protection but prosperity. The coast has never seen an Oracle of it’s own, and have always been plagued by a pagan belief in the storm-divhi Gruna who rules the seas and makes his home wherever the divh came from over the sea. They are terrified of the storm divhi, and they see his hand more than that of the dual faced Dioune divhi. They make offerings to Gruna to placate him, and beg him not to bring storms and killer waves against them and let their boats sail his waters in relative safety.

Flora and Fauna

Inland of the coast, in the fertile planes to the south of Lake Dale, in the Haelkith Planes, the land is all a tall variety of grass, broken occasionally by menhirs and sprawling, wind warped beach trees. Maple also grows in small groves and even wild olives and grapes can be found towards the southern boarders of the Forest. Citrus is extremely widespread here, and enormous groves of oranges and lemons grow wild throughout inland Sigard. Gorse, tea-tree, thistles, blackberries and other tenacious plants grow under the cover of the windswept grass, anything that can grow in ground parched dry on top and thick and damp beneath. Wild briars, violets and more broad-leafed grasses grow around springs, lagoons, streams and other water sources. The trees usually have protruding, misshapen roots that reach desperately into the water, and lilies and swampgrass often choke the banks.

The lizards, croakers and snakes are even more common her than in the Earldoms, the land is wilder and less cultivated, and larger breeds of adder also make their homes in the grasslands, though only the croakers venture out to the coast. Some people have been experimenting with breeding the large lizards as pack animals, but as yet they have proved too stupid to learn anything of use, and breeders are left with tame but useless creatures. The snakes prove especially dangerous and have replaced a lot of major predators on the Coast.

Herders keep large flocks of goats and sheep, and even cattle brought from Highdunn. Steaders who control huge ranches have their serfs and slaves move the flocks on an almost daily basis to keep them from falling regular prey to wolves and to keep them from devastating the fragile plant life of the Coast. Dogs brought from the north and herders with long bone horns move the herds with relative speed. Wolves wander the wilds, the wolves in small packs, often their blood diluted by wild hunting hounds, and foxes and boars can cause either a commotion or a lot of damage if they are surprised by a wandering herd. The wasps and bees of the north are gone here, but crickets and particularly large grasshoppers are everywhere, and smaller breeds of grass spider, and a big bluish fly that determinedly follows any animal it can get near for the bulk of the insect population. The symphonic chirping of crickets at night characterizes any journey through the grasses.

Gulls, pelicans and coastal hawks rule the skies, smaller birds like sparrows, thrush, starlings or land fowl tend to be isolated to sheltered valleys by the rough winds, and large unattractive brown wood pigeons and quails live in the undergrowth of the planes. Particularly large breens of seal, penguin and walruses live around the coast, apparently larger to cope with the rough seas and warmer weather. In the sea itself life teems in isolated pockets around the coast. Little more than immense blue and white whales can survive out from the coast, although many sailor’s tales tell of mighty sea monsters or living islands off the coast that bring down ships and rule the seas. Legend even speaks of a leviathan creature ages old that feeds on the whales and sleeps on the seabed. Some say that this creature must be the pagan Divhi Gruna, others call it his pet, but most hope it is just a sailor’s story.

Notable Individuals

The Steward of Sigard, “His Honour” Simon Dranshen
The current Steward of Sigard is really Sigard’s ruler in name only, and he is very aware of that. He is also very aware that his rule endures, not out of respect for his post, but because Leirkist is far too valuable an asset for any of the Earls to agree to to place in the hands of one of their peers. Still, this gives him little security. Dranshen is a studious and cautious man, diplomatic and astute. He has a keen eye for detail and for people’s behaviour he usually says little and observes much. He can deduce a man’s state of mind and the likely implications thereof within a few seconds of talking to him, and this tends to unnerve people who meet him. Despite his obvious lack of actual power Simon is a slow moving man, who manipulates rather than commands. A dozen tiny civic decisions might go unnoticed while a grand sweep to the same effect would be immediately barred. He has learned to do his best with the situation presented to him and to get the best from it, and out of a sense of genuine respect for his people and a desire to see to their well-being he is a contentious and efficient ruler. He is also aware that so long as he does not choose to rock the boat that his presence and post will not only be tolerated but, in the current political climate, is convenient.

The Captain of Sigard, Davin Vaun
The younger brother of Godfrid Vaun, and uncle to the Earl of Sherevon, Davin is the Captain of the force that occupies Sigard, and thus all decisions made by Simon Dranshen must have Davin’s approval. Davin is a proud man, powerful and iron willed but with a sense of general decency and fairness. He has a reputation for being good to his slaves, and even frees men for particularly loyal service. All people who have met Davin regard him as an honourable and fair man. It is Davin’s sense of fairness and justice that drive him, and while he can be opinionated and brutally judgemental because of this, he does have some sense of grey areas, and notices them when he absolutely must. It is this that stops him from any true sort of tyranny.

Earl of Terr, His Lordship Carel Terr
Carel Terr, Earl of Terr has made his name as the slaver earl of the south, and his fortune. The Terr family, since their inauguration as Earls of Terr, have realised the potential of legalized slavery in the south, and Carel’s ancestors, many of them cruel and ruthless men, have made the most of every opportunity. The slave trade has been good to Carel, and while he is not a man noted for cruelty his kindness is costly. He is a man of avarice and luxury who wants nothing more than to live out his reign as comfortably and profitably as he possibly can.

Earl of Werndel, His Lordship Noel Wern
Noel Wern is descended from the Earls of Barven, and has long considered laying a claim to Barvenham, however he links his family only by the marriage of and great great great grandmother, the the Earldom granted his ancestor Sir Daerik Wern for his part commanding the conquering armies of Reddown in Sigard please him well enough. Still, it grates upon his nerve that Pieter Tolbren in the north spreads his wide frame over both his own throne and that of Noel’s ancestors when it could be he keeping two chairs.

High Prelate, His Blessedness, Sarathi Solon
The High Prelate of Siagrd is the enigmatic Solon. Solon sees himself as an artist and a philosopher, and his odd and somewhat radical interpretation of the church of the Dioune’s gospel is often theatrical, outlandish and genuinely strange. Perhaps the most obvious and widly known of his eccentricities is that he always wears one of two masks. He has a golden mask depicting the face of the divhi Aliel and a steel mask depicting the face of the divhi Koroth. He changes these depending upon which aspect of the Dioune divh he represents in any duty. The other is fastened securely to the rear of his head when not in use, ready to be turned around whenever needed. He allows no one to see him without these masks, and has not for the past decade. He also wears a heavy hood, concealing his hair and the face on the back of his head. Some critics speculate that he has developed some terrible deformity or that the divh have visited a disease upon him, but with his other flamboyancies it is not hard to believe it is simply an aspect of his faith. Not only does he change his face, but his voice and manner of speech and body language change with the turn of the mask, speculation that he is an oracle, and that the divh speak through him is beginning among the common people, although the Grand High Prelate’s office has clearly stated that he does not fit the criteria to be a profit, and Solon has made no claims of the sort.

Aril Kiristforth
Aril Kiristforth is the current leader of the resistance group known as the Kommeron in Reddown and is the biggest outlaw in the nation. The reward offered for his capture is currently in the region of six hundred pieces of Reddown gold, a king’s ransom. And were Aril’s dubious claim to be descended from the kings of Sigard proved true the reward could almost certainly double.

While he has proved elusive, those who have seen Kiristforth describe him as tall and lean, with a shaggy mane of wavy hair and a close beard. He is relatively young, perhaps only approaching his third decade, and his features are powerful and noble, with a square jaw and piercing blue eyes. Aril has a booming voice and a commanding roar when he wants to be heard, but as his reputation says he has a talent for disappearing and moving about unnoticed. He usually dresses in layers of cotton and linen topped with a heavy leather greatcoat and a hooded weather cloak and scarf around his face. The Kommeron and their agents promote the legend of his being lethal in a knife fight and most of the military warn that he keeps his knives constantly coated in stoneflower sap.

Culture


Social Etiquette

On the Storm Sea Coast people are much the same as the Downers to the north. It is important to know how to address and behave in the presence of a superior, or indeed an inferior. A man must never make eye contact with his better, thus only equals may look one another in the eye in their presence. The lesser of two men must always keep his head lowered and his gaze downcast. He must speak only when directly addressed and should call his better my lord in the case of an Earl or member of an Earl’s family or master in the case of a freeman to a steader or serf to a freeman. Slaves address their masters as master and are forbidden to ever speak to another member of a higher class. A man may never be seated unless his betters are and then only after they have taken their seats. Conversely a better is expected to acquiesce to this standard behaviour in the presence of his inferiors because by speaking directly to them or attempting eye contact he risks causing offence by disrespecting the deference his inferior offers him. As always however wealth has the final word in the south, and their employees and business partners often refer to the more wealthy or powerful merchants as ‘my lord’ or ‘your lordship’, though never in the presence of an Earl or member of the ruling family.

Hospitality is less important in the south, and fills a far more political role. By ancient custom meals are eaten in the presence of blood family only, and a far more mobile and wealthy upper class in the form of merchants has rendered the hospitality of steaders and freemen redundant, so the only people who really take advantage of the tradition are the Earls themselves when they tour their lands (which really only occurs in Terr to date) and the freemen who serve as agents of the Earls and wear their livery. Most steader homesteads will have a separate guesthouse comprising sleeping chambers and a dining hall for guests so as to allow them to dine in appropriate privacy.

Arts and Entertainment

Art and music on the Storm Sea Coast have gained great popularity over the past few generations, but by recent fashion it is all of a highly religious nature. Sculptures and busts of Sarith, vast friezes commemorating events of mythological significance such as the great scene of Koroth battling the giant king Ettin that adorns the masonry of the main gate of Lierkist, and even painted water and wine vessels are popular symbols of wealth in richer areas and valued heirlooms of the poorer. Painting is less popular and most work tends to be in fired clay rather than cut stone, so works have a relatively short lifespan and seldom outlive their artist, although local potters have developed a potent glaze that they use on sculpture and more fragile pieces. It is considered supreme arrogance to depict events in history or even worse a living person because such representations are considered divinely inspired and thus it is only right that only the divh or their disciples should be so represented. Most artists devote the inspiration for their work solely to the spirit of Aliel, and possibly because of this the divhi herself very seldom appears, but rather is only hinted at as a presence or sometimes as the artist herself. Because so few artists are literate written words very seldom feature, but representations of guardian statues depicting giants or occasionally the sea-monster Gruna or his children are used, however many deem these irreligious.

Similarly music is very popular, but rather than the bar-room songs of minstrels found elsewhere on the isle, grand concerts of choral work and organ music, usually played at temples, and often at the Basilica at Leirkist itself, are the more common form of expression. Again everything has an intensely religious inspiration and often entire choral operas are composed to retell important religious events. Most common however is that a musician is allowed by the temple to play for an assembled attending audience on the steps of the temple, thus religious devotion has found more of a spectacle in the south.

The artists themselves are actually developing as a group of professional freemen in areas where the wealthy demand their services. The Guild of Playwrights, Actors and Artists in Leirkist offers them a safe place to practice what would be otherwise an irregular and difficult profession, but many believe that they can find their inspiration by struggling alone to produce their work, and a popular movement is developing around the belief that by ones art costing an artist so deeply that an element of an artist’s soul can be imparted upon the work and thus duly grant it the element of divinity which all art should surely strive for.

Architecture

Buildings on the Storm Sea Coast reflect the dominance of the weather on life in southern Reddown. Buildings are low, stout, thick walled and heavily shuttered. Where stone isn’t available wooden buildings huddle together and are surrounded by low stone walls. Lean-to attachments serve as storage at the sides of house and re-direct the wind up and over the house rather than letting it buffet the sides, and Thatching is impossible with the high winds that blow across the plains and so shingles are used over wooden planks and are then covered with a layer of tar-soaked cloth. The effect is foul smelling and messy but eminently weather tight. Usually homes are built around a large common room with two or three smaller private quarters off it. Usually families will have a room for the head of the household and then a room for male and room for female children, the division is usually quite distinct between the sexes. Guests, who are very seldom invited to stay, will usually stay in the main room.

Larger homes will have a family room and a public room, the house will be mirrored in one private portion and one for visitors and non residents. Steaders and similar moneyed freemen will often have a separate guest entrance and often a completely independent guesthouse. Multiple storeys are rare in the south outside dense cities, so larger houses tend to be sprawling with several courtyards and open areas, often looking like several small houses abutting one another. It is common to use the central courtyard to entertain and for a household to keep a furnished garden around a large fire pit as a sort of communal common area.

Temples and other public buildings often use extensive underground complexes for storage and support, sometimes the cellars can be as large as the actual building and can go as deep as two or three levels. Especially in temples one large room dominates the ground floor, and often large public spaces will have their own well and similar facilities, and will tend towards being based on a circular shape with a round stone wall and a peaked dome that reaches to the ground on most sides of it.

Fashion and Dress

The attire of the Storm Sea Coasters tends to be more mindful of weather conditions than that of the other Downers. Men of the lower classes wear linen shirts belted at the waist by broad leather belts, leather over-tunics or vests are common, and often lined in wool or fur, especially along the coast. Bound leggings are common, though hose is worn by the more prosperous even among serfs. Colours tend to be very neutral and leather is often rough and unpolished. On their feet men wear either broad leather boots bound around mid calf or heavy felt slippers when conditions allow. Headwear is common, and when outdoors men wear either loose leather or felt hoods or pointed felt hats, both tend to be tied on against unpredictable winds. The women wear linen skirts and shirts and vests like the men, though usually the women’s shirts are cut lower and the sleeves tend to be shorter, stopping half way down the forearm. They also wear felt shoes, and often stockings but usually go barefoot indoors.

Fashions of the steaders and freemen are similar, although steaders will usually go to great lengths to wear jewellery or especially fine tailoring or any other mark of prosperity or expense that they can to distinguish themselves from the freemen. Men wear woollen or linen shirts, or sometimes silk, with lighter weight linen vests or tunics. Colour is more common than in the north and felt or cloth caps are common outdoor wear. Older men will wear fur-lined robes and fitting matching hoods. Men tend to go clean-shaven, though younger men cultivate well-trimmed goatees, and hair is worn no longer than jaw-length. Women wear one piece linen dresses, often in dark colours, cut low around the neck and long around the ankle, and usually loose around the waist and sleeves but fitting around the bust. Leather slippers on their feet usually have a high polish. Women’s hair is worn long and usually braided, but often worn in a net in polite company. Jewellery is rare among the freemen, though merchants and traders will wear cheap, gaudy pieces to advertise success and prosperity, but among the steaders the wearing of heavy, ornate chains and amulets is common, as is the wearing of brooches and rings, or of rare feathers in one’s hat, anything that has the obvious indication of wealth and superiority. Women’s dresses are usually highly embroidered and decorated with gold or silver threads and their hair is braided through with the same. Their jewellery tends to be smaller and more understated with simple precious chains, anklets and bracelets. The wearing of makeup, while introduced through the theatrical elements of the region, is seen as whorish and uncouth, and while many women have adopted the practice in the upper classes, they are careful to keep their outward appearance natural and to ensure that they are never caught purchasing makeup, as a result travelling salesmen who are willing to be discreet can make an exceptional living.

Diet and Eating Customs

Mealtimes are very important to the people of old Sigard. Customarily families eat alone, and only members of an immediate family are welcome at the table. Guests may eat the same meal but they will do so separately to their hosts unless they are direct relatives. The act of sharing a meal with another individual is an extremely intimate one and is central to family life and to courtship. The only time it is acceptable to eat in the presence of a non-relative, or even a stranger, is during a religious festival. This is not to say that people will not eat in other’s presence, it’s simply a tradition associated with major meals, and often field workers or herders will carry a salted jerky with them to keep them sustained through the workday. Lunch is the major meal of the day and everyone returns home to be with their families and eat. Slaves, however, are often made to eat communally and usually not until the end of the workday.

Meats such as deer pigeon or beef are common to the wealthy while boar and rabbit is eaten by the lower classes and generally the major meal will always include a meat dish. Bread is another staple of meals, made with a low-grade corn it is coarse and yellow-brown but complements most meals. For the breakfast meal most people use bread as a base and supplement it with egg and milk, often frying the bread in egg with a few seasonings. For suppers after the workday cheese, bread, orchard fruits like apples and occasionally preserves are eaten, and usually a warm cider or mulled wine is drunk before going to bed, otherwise mead and beer are available in establishments in most major settlements and steads.

Eating establishments are thought of as unusual by travellers; inns will usually have a common room for drinking and socializing but will usually have four or five small dining rooms where they provide meals. While this privacy has its benefits, meals are seldom provided outside these rooms. A few establishments, especially in Leirkist, specifically cater to foreigners, and often one building will have a dual set of façades and amenities, one for foreigners one for locals. Many, especially in coastal trade-towns will cater solely to foreigners. On ships, where privacy is usually impossible, sailors practice quite different eating customs. Crew adopt themselves as a sort of extended family and eat together, generally dieting on fish stews and dried fruit and vegetables. This has led to sailors often being thought of like a huge married crew by traditionalists, which in turn leads to a lot of implications few would say to a sailor’s face.

Education

With the legal institution of slavery there is an incentive to provide to society, and for an individual to keep in out of the lower classes for fear of slipping into this enslaved class. Thus any individual who can afford to will adopt and train under a freeman to ensure they will always have a trade and thus never be enslaved, unless they fall into debt, and will always have value as professionals. These apprenticeships do not lead into any obligation by the freeman to employ or otherwise support his apprentice, as he will usually want to do this for his own children, it is just a way for an individual to learn a trade that will either better or secure his station in life and for the freeman to make a secondary income.

There are few options outside of the adoption of a trade for anyone to gain an education, but for those fortunate enough, either by natural talent or advantage of birth, adoption into the Diounate leads to a comfortable living and an eminent education. Usually anyone entering into the Diounate spends a year in training at Southaven, after which they are granted a post, often in support of another, higher ranking priest, they are granted a living for life by the church.

Women’s only recourse to better themselves is to marry into a better class. Often a father will try to marry his daughter to a man with security, primarily because the marriage is annulled in the event of the husband’s entering into slavery, and often the father’s household can’t afford to keep her, especially in larger families. Once her father is dead a woman’s situation becomes worse, as none of her siblings is responsible for her and she is forced to depend upon the charity of whoever will support her until she can re-marry or to sell herself into household slavery.

Religion and Philosophy

The religion of the Storm Sea Coast is very similar to that of northern Reddown, but more progressive in it’s thinking. Mostly this is due to the recent influence of Solon, although in the past the close proximity and intermingling trade routes with Southaven have always given more cosmopolitan southerners ready access to the latest in religious and philosophical thinking. Also historically the nation of Sigard never acknowledged a state faith, rather sanctioning any religion. Local faith was in ancestor worship until the Reddown conquest, and elements of that have remained and been adopted into local faith, priests often consult with the dead in the form of simple augury, for advice of to predict the future, and often the dead are invoked for protection in the name of the divh. Particularly prominent members or dynasties, especially those of the Earls, are said to occupy a special place in Paras after death, and their spirits can be summoned forth from paras in times of great need to aid their descendants.

Priests, especially in Lierkist, have adopted the Southavanien concept of prayer for attention. That is to say, not only can one address the moods of the divh on mass through offerings and important ceremonies, but that if a divhi is an omnipresent being then it is possible to develop a personal relationship with the divh by sufficient personal offering and worship. As a result it has become popular for prosperous families to have a small shrine at home to which they make personal offerings. Usually the setting up of this shrine is overseen by a priest but beyond that priests play little or no role in active day-to-day religion. Some people believe that if, while making an offering, that they make a request of a divh then if the divh is pleased by the offering then that specific request may be granted, and while many priests use this suggestion to encourage their supporters to make offerings to the Dioune (and thus to them) no one has made any official indication that this is anything but wishful thinking.

Recently there have been claims among the local populace in Lierkist that Solon is in fact the promised sixth oracle. While the High Prelate himself downplays these suggestions, greater and greater weight is growing among the people, and even amongst his own followers, for his examination by the Order of the Sixth Oracle to perhaps confirm this.

Despite Solon and even the Grand High Prelate’s greatest efforts, cults to the sea-devil Gruna are still common along the coast. Here they see the power of Gruna first hand day to day, and so small cults develop in secret, based around the promise of secret lore taught only to his initiates. Cases have even been found of entire towns converting to the cult and attempting to conjure the servants of Gruna to do their bidding. Cults meet in secret, usually in hidden caves and inlets, where they practice ancient chants and try to call up the ancient spirits that sleep beneath the sea. While legend speaks of their ability to call up winds and great waves, and even of human sacrifice and cavorting with the creatures of the sea, and the strange deformed spawn of man and fish Diounate records speak only of small groups of talented hedge-magicians, though the cult of Gruna does seem to inspire near fanatical loyalty in it’s initiates.

Transportation and Communication

Mules and wagons usually facilitate inland travel on the Storm Sea Coast. The breeding of mules is done on every stead, and every steader has a herd at his disposal, so good mules are common and cheap, and used to being ridden or hitched to wagons. Teams of mules are used to haul bigger wagons and carriages, and some are bred large enough that teams of ten to twenty can be used to haul logs in the logging camps along the boarders of The Forest or to pull shallow hulled barges across ferryways or up shallow streams. Barge is the most common and efficient way to move goods, and every major waterway has a small harbour at its mouth, usually tradestations locate themselves along major waterways, so that goods can be loaded, unloaded, traded and even transferred onto larger vessels for longer journeys. Many people lead mules rather than ride them and use them as beasts of burden as their speed is far from great, and even in teams they seldom move much faster than a man can walk, although their endurance is far greater and they can travel for a far greater portion of the day than a man can. As a result trade and travel tend to be slow overland, and the only true way to move fast is by small, lightweight sailing ships. While a little more dangerous they travel close enough to the coast that broken masts and damaged hulls are easily repaired or, at worst, escaped, with a minimum of danger, but this makes it risky to move goods in this fashion. Merchants use much larger, wider vessels called wind-breakers. These ships are so broad as to be almost round, and have deep heavy hulls. They are slow, and manoeuvre extremely poorly but almost never capsize. In addition they will often have two or three hulls and two main sails, meaning that they can endure huge amounts of damage from the wild weather of the Sea of Storms before they have to put into harbour. If they sail too far from the coast however many are swept away, never to be seen again.

Setting Trait (2): Kingdom of Sailors The identity of Sigard is tied up in its sailors and navigators. If you want to cross the seas, or build anything much bigger than a fisherman's coracle or a river barge in Ahlonia, you need Sigarder shipwrights and Sigarder sailors, and the reputation of this land is tied up in its ability to cross the seas, and the fanatical way in which the various guilds guard these secrets.

Common Pastimes

There is little in the way of leisure for the people of southern Reddown, but many of the things that are common fare for time all over Ahlonia are true here too. Drinking, gambling and music fill the spare hours and days of rest for the serfs and freemen. In Leirkist and Ennis and a couple of other major centers inn have grown up into casinos where games of chance and quality local drinks are partaken of. Though not heavy drinkers men here are especially fond of honeyed mead and ale. Every gathering is based around music, though only gatherings for the upper classes will have a musician of their own, the serfs will often bring their own instruments and sing and dance together, especially at festivals and other major gatherings. Recently, though only among the richer merchants and freemen, the visiting of art galleries and collecting of pieces of art has become popular.

Political


Legal System

The laws of Reddown rule its southern Earldoms also, though with a little refinement. Central authority is necessitated by the lessened status of steaders in the south, thus when an individual wrongs another they are expected to approach a higher ranking third party to act as mediator. This system is well established within the guilds, and they have professional mediators permanently in their employ for use by members only. Steaders and Earls have the power of life and death over their subjects, and freemen and serfs in the service of the guilds agree to be bound by the decisions of their guild superiors or lose their guild membership, and thus the legal protection that implies.

If an individual owes another individual a debt that he cannot pay then he is enslaved by the individual he owes the debt to for whatever period that the owed party deems appropriate for repayment of the debt. Once a man is reduced to slave status he gives up all of his legal rights and cannot take his master or anyone else before a mediator. He has no property and no rights and his master can kill him at his leisure should he feel the need. Usually parties are reasonable about slavery and periods of enslavement seldom exceed five years, except in the case of guild money-lenders who often seize steaders or other high ranking individuals who are indebted to them for life. The guilds however have a reputation for more than fair treatment of their slaves, and especially those who are useful to them are often freed and given guild membership. Once a steader is enslaved his land immediately reverts back to being the property of the Earl of the province for reassignment at his leisure.

The only other major difference in the south is the concept of contractual law. That is to say an agreement made in the presence of an Earl or one of his nominees is binding, and the penalty for breaching said agreement is surrendering all of one’s property to the Earldom and being enslaved by the party with whom the contract is made, and the threat of military enforcement is carried with this. Often guilds and high ranking guilders will use the Earls to negotiate lucrative state sanctioned trade agreements, like transfers of monopolies or the adoption of debt or large scale money lending, or sometimes even land rental from the steaders by guilds for logging camps or independent trade stations or other ventures or betrothals between dynastic powers. Because individual parties can feel secure in written contracts notes of credit have also entered the currency at upper levels of society allowing the Earls and others with large and reliable treasuries to increase their own wealth and circulate notes of credit as currency so long as confidence in their wealth remains high.

Military

The Earldoms of the south use the standard format of all Reddown, except that cavalry are even rarer here. Rather than horsemen the southern Earldoms field an especially heavy infantry unit at the center of their forces and lead enemy charges into them. Generally there is a single elite infantryman for every fifteen regular infantrymen and a skirmisher for every five. Tactically speaking generals from the coast field their armies as two wings of regulars and a tightly packed center of elites. Their skirmishers range out and fire on an enemy then flee in the face of enemy advance straight through the center. Then the elites bear the brunt of the enemy offensive and the infantry close in on their flanks. This kind of hammer and anvil technique leaves very little room for mistakes but has served the Earls well against the goblins in small skirmishes along the forest road. Usually elites are drawn from the Earl’s own personal guards, which are larger than the retinues of the north for three key reasons; firstly because of fear of the Kommeron and other insurgent groups, second to remind the merchants that were they to defy their masters their initial casualties wound be astronomical, and finally because standing guards can actually generate a profit for an Earl. Because no other member of the community can legally raise a group of armed men in Reddown the Earls of Werndell and Terr and the Captain of Sigard can rent the protection services of their standing armies to merchant caravans and business ventures in dangerous territories. Regulars and skirmishers are paid professionals but usually only remain employed for the duration of wartime, after which the army is stood down because the Earldoms simply cannot manage the expense of a full standing army down. As a result it takes a while to mobilize against any given threat and the Kommeron, with lightning raids and guerrilla tactics that closely imitate those of goblin tribes have gone essentially unopposed.

The other unusual elements of southern military are the use of two bodies not found in the north of Reddown. The first is slave conscripts. The Earls of Werndell and especially Terr have so many serfs indebted to them that they can raise entire fighting bodies of slaves instead of levies. While not as mobile as the northern levy troops because their locality may not be immediate they add an expendable body of men to to the southern armies that gives them a little tactical versatility. The other unique body is the navy. No northern Earldom, even Barvenham, keeps a standing navy (though some have one or two tradeships registered in their own names) however the Captain of Sigard maintains a full navy in the name of the council and entirely funded by grants from the council. The navy is not his, but he has tactical command as an element of his rank. There are three kinds of ship used in the standing navy. Currently serving are six large broad hulled galleys with heavy forecastles and driven by slave manned oars and broad sails, smaller modified trade cogs, still broad beamed and oared provide a little more mobility and also support for the galleys, and roughly eighteen of these patrol between Leirkist and Southaven constantly, two of which are usually maintained in a seasonal dry-dock. Finally thirty small coasters serve as fireships and boarding craft. These are almost totally sail powered but carry large rams that they can use in a good wind, which is common along the southern coast, and would theoretically be used to harass any approaching war fleet or large pirate vessel until the larger ships could arrive. While the navy is relatively inexperienced due to the lack of any other real naval power in Ahlonia they do occasionally get a chance to test their mettle against small pirate fleets based out of the southern islands and the south of the Forest Kingdom, and the re-enactment of key historical naval battles serve both as public entertainment and tactical drills for the crew.

Police and Armies

In farmsteads or guild territories ex-soldiers usually hire out their services as guards. They are hired privately equipped and usually make a decent living. They are able to work much longer than a military career would last and, with the exception of logging camps along the edge of The Forest, the work is much safer. These hired guards usually don’t expect to meet much resistance in their duty so they are lightly armed and armoured. The average mercenary guard will carry a footman’s mace and wear quilted coat and a leather breastplate. The armour functions as much as an indication of office than it does for any functional protection. Most of the men were veterans at some stage and are usually sourced from the elite infantry or regular forces.

In and around their centers of power, and in their capital cities the two Earls use their Elite Infantrymen as a police force. This has a twofold advantage: The first is to reinforce the Earl’s presence and influence to his people by having tough, well armed men in his colours enforcing his law. The second advantage is that this keeps the unit in constant practical experience at working with one another and in combat. Keeping the peace breeds a good level of comeradery and discipline in the men and keeps them constantly ready for combat should they need to take the field. Most elite infantrymen vary from unit to unit, but the general model is usually wearing a chain shirt and brigandine grieves and bracers and carrying some kind of pole arm and a footman’s mace. They don heavier arms and armour on the field, but these are the usual when patrolling the streets or serving as an honourguard.

Banair’s Wolverines

The elite infantrymen employed by the Earldoms of the south are usually standing military units with proud histories and traditions, and prestigious membership. Perhaps the most famous and active are Banair’s Wolverines, based out of Ennis they serve as the guard of the city, and are no longer legally allowed to enter fort Ennisgard. Founded by Banair Coit in 1,258 HC they have distinguished themselves in many battles as tenacious, relentless and nearly unroutable, having fled the field on only two occasions in their entire history. Famous for the horsehair plumes that they wear that each member must claim from a goblin reaver, they usually wear long chainmail coat and tall, pointed helms and carry tower shields bearing the arms of the Earls of Werndell and a rampant wolverine in the top right. They are trained with spear, axe and mace and are equipped depending upon the opponent that they expect to face. Currently the unit’s number is set at three hundred and they are commanded by the Marshal of the Guard Marak Baran, a proud and ruthless man with a tactical mind like a bear trap, trained at strategy under by Noel Wern himself.

Economy


Major Industry

Sigard was always an extremely wealthy nation, and always at the forefront of industry on the Isle. Even today the lands along the Storm Sea Coast keep busy producing goods that travel as far as the Maethian arm. In Werndel logging and milling of The Forest is a major industry. Local loggers foster growth in small patches of forest in the valleys a few miles in from the Forest’s boarders, and also keep the road around the Forest Way cleared so that there is no room for ambushers to hide. Logs are dragged back to mills along the boarder where men break them down into sizable planks and beams and ship them to ports by barge.

Ranchers and steaders keep herds of sheep and cattle, primarily for milk and wool, but also for a secondary produce of dried meat. Primarily however ranchers and steaders make a living from the vineyards and olive groves they keep around their estates. Wine and olive oil are the south’s most profitable and popular export, and some key estates have become very famous, and certain years are quite valuable in certain circles, for both the wine and the oil.

However by far the greatest industry of southern Reddown comes from old Sigard, and lies in the sea. Shipbuilding and crewing is what the people of old Sigard are most prized and celebrated for. The sailors and shipwrights of Sigard guarded their secrets so closely and so jealously that today they are still the only people on the Isle who are capable of constructing or sailing anything seaworthy. The other men of Ahlonia can’t achieve anything much more complex than the mule-driven barges that plough the rivers carrying goods. Every ship in Ahlonia was built in the port of Leirkist, from wood cut in Werndel, and crewed by Storm Sea Coasters. Three major vessels are produced: Galleys, Cogs and Coasters. Galleys are warships, and only three or four exist outside the Reddown navy. Cogs are broad, deep hulled ships ideal for trading, they plough the coast from Leirkist to Kembar, through Southaven and as far as Thairon, but are also capable of moving away from the coast, and can brave all but the harshest that the Storm Sea can brew. Occasionally traders go as far as Khald or Caldare and come back with strange and exotic goods, although the Ahlonians still remain fairly insular in that respect. Finally the tiny coasters, little single sailed vessels not capable of going more than a couple of miles out from the coast. These occasionally make the trip to Kembar, but usually are just used for short distance overseas travel or crossing Lake Dale. The major advantage of these vessels is their speed over land travel, and the fact that they can move up and down rivers to reach deeper inland. Sailors to man these vessels only come from Sigard too, and sailing is something almost dynastic to these people. Sailors who are not from a long line of seamen are almost unknown, and the training of someone who can’t trace his family back at least three or four generations in the Storm Sea coast is completely unheard-of.

Major Export and Import

The Storm Sea Coast is probably the largest producer and exporter of raw and milled lumber in Ahlonia, frantically pushing back the boarders of the Forest Kingdom with axe and saw. Conversely other raw materials are relatively rare, and especially stone and minerals are largely sources from the Earldoms in the north. The slave trade, though a major one, is largely internal to the region. Thanks to a less than favorable set of conditions the farms here are not nearly as prolific as those of the Earldoms, and a lot of food moves south along the tradeways too. What the coast does have in abundance is skilled tradesmen, and while raw materials might largely be in short supply professionally crafted goods like tools, weapons, armour and especially seagoing vessels pour out of the cities here. This is evidenced by the hefty presence of the guilds of Ahlonia in and around Lierkist and Kembar.

But the true wealth of Sigard lies in the so-called 'white gold'. Along the coasts slat water is bucketed up onto exposed rock and left in the sun to extract the salt. Large crystals of this valuable spice and preservative is collected in enormous volumes, crushed to powder, and sent all over Ahlonia where it is used to preserve food for the winter months by salt wagons, that travel up and down the forest way and north to Reddown.

The Guilds

The southern coast of Ahlonia, particularly the metropolitan centers of Southaven and Lierkist, are home to a group of powerful tradesmen's guilds. Each guild is a leader in its field on the Isle. The guilds administrate all labour of their field in the areas where they are in power. No tradesman can operate without paying his dues to the guild, and similarly anyone trying to shirk on a debt or push prices down in an area will find a guild representative at his door smartly. The guilds set prices and often buy surplus off their members - especially in the case of the Guild of Foresters, Loggers and Hunters - in order to manipulate prices and supply from year to year. Often guildhouses will even act as intermediaries, buying goods from members and on selling them at a markup to loyal merchants. There are seven major guilds operating in Ahlonia, four of which have found their way out of the borders of old Sigard. The Guild of Shipwrights, Guild of Carpenters, Guild of Smiths, Guild of Foresters, Loggers and Hunters, Guild of Scribes, Guild of Stonemasons, and Guild of Minstrals, Playwrights and Artists are all powerful and influential bodies in the Ahlonian economic and social landscape.

Today on the Storm Sea Coast…


Only a month ago a large contingent of Kommeron invaded Leirkist, there was a short and brutal battle with the local constabulary and the Captain's marines and the Kommeron took heavy casualties, but what is most unnusual is that the survivors fled and simply vanished. While the officials reported that the Kommeron were routed into the countryside it is almost impossible to think that many men got out of Leirkist so fats, and it seems more likely that a great many Kommeron are currently being sheltered in Sigard's ancient capitol right now. If so then these guerilla attacks are sure to continue, or even get worse now that the insurgents have a sizable presence.

The ‘Shining Ones’, a group of extremist religious zealots, are marching in Ennis and Leirkist demanding that Solon be recognized as an oracle. They are an enigmatic group devoted to the charismatic High Prelate, though he claims no actual association with the group. A representative from the order of the sixth Oracle, Wern Coramal has come to investigate whether or not Solon should be considered an Oracle, and more importantly whether or not the Shining ones pose a threat to good and pious faithful of the Church of the Dioune. Solon himself has appeared at one of these marches, and while his words were modest ones he did not actually dissuade this behavior.

The Southern Isle of Ahlonia
The Earldoms, The Storm Sea Coast, Southaven, The Tresser Veldt, The Heartlands, The Roughlands, The Maethian Arm, The Vale of Mists, The Forest Kingdom
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