The Three Cities
The region dubbed the Three Cities is a narrow band of land, a sort of cultural buffer between Kelorn Haedrasia and the domains of the west. Defined by the once-great cities of Kelthkastel, Neuboula, and Polwa, the region was once one of the most heavily settled in all of the Kelorn lands, probably in all of Allornus, but now that it has been displaced as a political and economic hub by the Haedrasian conquest, the region has declined. Still, it is a defiant reminder of the heights to which the coalition of nations that formed the Kelorn Empire soared, and a bastion of the culture and history the like of which has not survived in the free west.

Tech Code: 6
Governments: Authoritarian Theocracy Under the Haedrasian Impreatry Templarate
Religions: Imperatry Temple.
Industries and Trades: Agriculture (hemp, corn, rice, cotton, cork), herding (sheep), dyemaking, hunting (antelope, manticorre), tanning, leatherwork, cordwork, woodcraft and stonecarving, sculpture.
Major Terrain: City, Flatlands.
Languages: Low Haedrasian.
Major Settlements: Kelthkastel, Neuboula, Polwa.


Physical Geography

The Three Cities are situated in some of the most hospitable and fertile land of western Haedrasia. Two great rivers - the Amber and the Neuboul - keep the region rich and fertile, and the placid banks of Lake Kelth make for rich pickings, both for hunters in the small wooded region along its northern fringes, and for farmers both working the land and waters for corn and rice. The weather is generally temperate, with warm summers and short winters, and a lengthy rainy season in spring, making the land green. But all is not idyllic and pastoral, for much of the land away from the great cities is wild, especially in the west, and unprepared travellers who become lost in the grasslands to the south will sometimes struggle to find enough water, or suffer from exposure on the flat expanse of grassland. Of course, there is food, water and shelter aplenty for those who know where to look.

Political Geography

Long ago Kelthkastel, Polwa and Neuboula were free cities at the heart of the breadbasket of the Kelorn civilization, and it was in Neuboula that Malar and Haederas first met with the Kelorn orators to negotiate their respective lands. Millennia later, and the cities are under Haedrasian rule, a mere footnote to that vast landsman empire, empty of all but a handful of the peoples whose ancestors laid their stones. Close to the hub of the western kingdoms, and to make matters worse the former home of the Ma-Len mage clan, the haedrasians keep a close watch on the Three Cities, believing that rebellion poses more of a danger here than anywhere else in the Kelorn lands. Thus their presence is more oppressive, and the atmosphere more closely resembles that of the Ghan territories in the east than the rest of the Kelorn states, where the empire has been careful to let the indigenous peoples keep much of their culture.

Each of the cities is ruled by its own tyrant, and each of the tyrants essentially has his own territory, though the three often work in conjunction because their charges have much in common. Historically the region initially had a single tyrant, like any other territory, after the reformation, but so many rebellions and plots were uncovered over the intervening years, and so many banned texts turned up in the purges of the mage-finders, that responsibility for the tumultuous land was split between the cities, leading to the colloquial name by which the province is now known.

Like most of the Kelorn provinces, there is a marked distinction between subject peoples and citizens. Citizens have greater legal rights, but lack the freedom of worship granted to the subjects. Any crime by a subject against a citizen will usually be punishable by death, and non-citizens are taxed more heavily, and banned from becoming master craftsmen by law. The rule of the tyrants is far from absolute, but is entrenched in the bureaucracy of the temple. They are not priests themselves, but rather organizers and keepers of the local military, and are bound to serve any templar above a certain rank, and to grant audience to any ordained member of the temple. However while they must defer in matters of state and law to the priests of the war-Divhi, the tyrants have practically unlimited power to govern the subject peoples and acquire funds to raise, equip, and drill legions. As well as the duty of keeping the peace and enforcing the law in the name of the Arch-Primate.

Social Geography

Life in western Haedrasia - indeed all of Haedrasia - there are two very different classes. The citizens and the subjects. A citizen is the descendant of a father who was also a citizen, and only a citizen in Haedrasia may become a master craftsman, serve in the legions, or enter the priesthood who form the ruling class of the Imperatry Temple. However, unlike the Kelorn subjects, they must be initiated into the Imperator's Temple and serve it faithfully for life, and all able bodied men must march with a legion should they be called to. They pay fewer taxes to the temple, though they must make tithes whenever they visit the temple. While they cannot make slaves of their subjects, they have so much more wealth and power that the Kelorn subjects - be they tribeless, or the tiny handful of myr who are tolerated as visitors to Haedrasia - that they will always be beholden to their benevolent overlords.

Perhaps, given their conquered status in the heartland of their ancient culture, one might expect this indelible division to breed contempt in the Kelorn peoples, but despite the concerns of the lictors and their secretive leaders, the Kelorns of the three cities have largely accepted their lot in life. They see the massive legions of the region drilling outside their walls, and they know just how inexorable the grip of the greatest empire known to the world is, even better than their provincial counterparts to the north. For the most part, they have determined to make the best of their position, and use their ability to negotiate with the peoples of the nations to the west to their advantage. They operate little shops and stalls in the bazaars of the Three Cities, and do their best to isolate themselves, and prosper within their limitations of their position. Or most do anyway. Because whispers of rebellion have never quite been stamped out, no matter how heavy the boot, and the sight of the free lands of the west so tantalizingly close, and Haedrasians living in their ancestral palaces, and re-consecrating their temples, built in times immemorial, it is inevitable that a few in every generation will do more than just dream of freedom.



c. YED -2408 Neuboula is founded.
c. YED -1721 Kelthkastel is founded.
c. YED -1719 Polwa is founded by the warlord Abou the Ape under the name Aboullua.
c. YED -1230 Polwa and Neuboula join the Kelorn Federation
c. YED -1380 Kelthkastel is annexed by Polwa and Neuboula in the name of the Federation, and many of its upper class are forcibly resettled in the far east, by the Ironheads.
c. YED -1726 Abou annexes Neuboula, and is killed besieging Kelthkastel. His commanders take control of his territories.
YED -204 Haederas and Malar come to Neuboula to meet with the Kelorn Orators. Haederas is offered a piece of land where the Unchallenged City now stands.
YED 126 Plague sweeps the western Great Plains, decimating the populations of all three cities, and leading to districts of each being abandoned, and their buildings sealed with the dead and dying inside.
YED 155-160 Able-bodied men from the Three Cities are press-ganged into service in the Lizard Wars.
YED 260-266 Lizard forces besiege Kelthkastel, several Caliban assaults manage to resupply and re-garrison the city, but the siege is eventually lifted by a combined Haedrasian and Caliban assault.
YED 301 A council of Kenu seize control of Neuboula in the absence of most of its Kelorn leaders in the wake of the Lizard Wars. They quickly take control of most of the Three Cities region, and persuade a Haedrasian Legion to help them pacify neighbouring Cal Manar, then elect one of their number count of the region.
YED 450 The Ma-Len mage clan is founded in Polwa.
YED 504 Haedrasian Legions clash with Kelorn forces around the Neuboula region, but are repulsed. This signals the beginning of a thirty year border skirmish between the two regions, but all out war never breaks out, and the Kenu pay considerable restitution in coin and goods to eventually gain peace.
YED 1355 The Three Cities are amongst the first to throw their lot, and their considerable resources, in with Aulandor Rage and the Fourteen-Hundred.
YED 1364 Aulandor Rage imprisons Haederas, all three cities officially join the magocracy.
YED 1450 Rage dies. Marius Augustin retakes the Unchallenged City from the Fourteen-Hundred and refounds the Haedrasian Empire.
YED 1471 The Ma-Len lose most of their brothers in the retaking of the Unchallenged City. The few survivors salvage what they can and flee to the west, destroying everything left behind.
YED 1489 Haedrasian Legions march on Polwa and Neuboula, besieging them for eight months before taking them.
YED 1490 Kelthkastel surrenders to the Haedrasian legions.
YED 1510 Lictors purge the temples, palaces and libraries of the region, seeking remaining Ma-Len. Over six thousand are executed as mages, heretics or traitors, and several temples are burned to the ground. Goblyns and hobgoblyns are driven from the region, but a few native Kenu are allowed to remain.
YED 1534 The First Irian Rebellion sees the Irinos of the Three Cities riot, murdering several Haedrasian officials after the sacking of a temple to Irik in Polwa. Haedrasian Legions take control of the streets, and the elders of the Irian communities are captured and executed without trial.
YED 1586 The Imperator officially designates the Kenu of Kelthkastel subject peoples, and extends the legal status of subjects to them. They are the first myr in post-reformation Haedrasia to receive this honour.
YED 1875 The Second Irian Rebellion sees Irinos bring in allies from the six guilds to rise up and attack Legion strongholds throughout Neuboula and Kelthkastel. For a time the Irians take the cities before more legions are brought from the salten marges to quell the rebellion. Many rebels escape into Cal Manar and Vledos.
YED 1887 The Kenu of the Three Cities' status as subjects is revoked amidst fears if their involvement in the Irian Rebellions. They are escorted from the Empire.
YED 1908 Lautul Gaurus, Tyrant of Polwa dies of a mysterious illness, and the templar Dravis Khalmet is sent to replace him.
YED 1919 Present Day.

Setting Trait (1): Echoes of the Ancient World trait


Citizens of the Three Cities

In most of Haedrasia, myr are unknown and unwelcome. While the Haedrasians deign to be overlords to landsmen of other nationalities, they have driven myr from their lands, and where they will not be politely moved on, the legions are ready to remove them by force. So the Three Cities region is almost unique because in all of Haedrasia, the small communities of Hobgoblyns and Kenu who live near the western border are amicably tolerated, though only as third-class residents, and formally as 'guests' of the empire. Alongside them, a number of Kelorn landsmen form the bulk of the region's labour class, working the hemp fields and herding the sheep. Kelorns here seem to have integrated with the Haedrasians more than they have in other Kelorn territories, and often have darker, caramel coloured skin and dark hair, as well as height closing on that of their overlords. Of course, the paler skin and straight hair subsists for several generations, and so they are never mistaken for full citizens.

The Haedrasians here, on the whole, are more tolerant of the outsiders - perhaps because the route between Kelthkastel and Cal Manar is the most trafficked of the routes between the two regions, and certainly the easiest place to pass the Haedrasian border for a foreign trader, with the sheer proximity of the westernmost city. Perhaps this greater tolerance has led to more mixed stock, or perhaps the lifted restrictions of the magocracy era saw many marriages between overlords and subjects, but whatever the case the Haedrasians of the Three Cities are often of paler skin, though the full Haedrasians with a buried Kelorn ancestor or two are a far cry from the mixed-blood Kelorns who work in the fields. Of course, as in any land of mixed stock, a number of radical groups of pure-blooded Haedrasian citizens have emerged, and lead violent attacks against anyone they perceive to be of mixed blood, or who has the 'foreign taint' as they call it. Most officials make a show of seeking out these vigilantes, but many make a point of not trying hard enough that anyone is actually implicated.

Flora and Fauna

The south-western Haedrasian territories truly are the richest lands in the entire templarate, and the region around the Three Cities is one of Allornus' foremost sources of plants which have been cultivated for food, and the wild ancestors of many plants which now provide staples for the crops of civilized races may well have had their origins in this region. It is little wonder then that it has always been settled, and that each of the apex empires of their times have held this territory. The flora of the Three Cities region is as resilient as it is bountiful, and crops here often prove more resistant to the diseases than their cousins found elsewhere. In addition, many of the wild crops that have their origins in these lands preserve the taste, fragrance, colour, hardness and other original characteristics which tend to be lost in the course of cultivation.

Species of wild wheat are particularly common, with countless variations springing up and crossbreeding throughout the countryside, as well as in farmers' fields. The Three Cities are also the home of many other cultivated plants, such as chickpeas, lentils, apricots, almonds, figs, hazelnuts, cherries and sour cherries. Wild fruit groves prove common, though where farmers have begun cultivating bamboo from further south the crops have gone wild and begun to dominate. The hemp crops that have made the Haedrasians so successful also grow in abundance here. Of the large number of ornamental flowers common to the fallow fields of the Three Cities, the tulip, crocus, snowdrop, lily and fritillary are all common, and emerge in great numbers with little coaxing.

While millennia of settlement has tamed the land here, the south-western Haedrasian borderlands are the original homeland of several species. Wild antelope have only become more common since the Haedrasians have wiped out most of the large predators of the region, with the exception of the ferocious manticorre, while the Kelth pheasant being native to the region. Sheep likely originated here, and when the massive flocks that roam the region go wild they thrive, leading to considerable profit in returning wild sheep flocks to farmers. Plains cats are still found in more wild regions, though the creatures have become reclusive. In their absence migratory birds have taken advantage of the Three Cities' strategic position as a passage from the Shoulders of the World to the Sirolas Mountains, and the main migration routes in Allornus pass through the region, bringing immense flights of all manner of bird over the land in spring and autumn. However, the most spectacular migration is the flight of storks down the Neuboul - so many that they block out the sky for a few hours as they pass over.

Notable Individuals

Dravis Khalmet, Tyrant of Polwa
The Tyrant of Polwa, Dravis Khalmet], was sent from the Unchallenged City itself to assume the post, after his predecessor's sudden death went unsatisfactorily unexplained. And experienced commander who served both in the salt flats and in Kel Wacuite and Cal Manar in his extensive career, he is an efficient and trusted name, known well to the ranking members of the Templarate. Had Dravis taken the priestly oaths earlier in his career he may well have been a candidate for the King of Swords now. Instead he has been tasked with pacifying Polwa and reassuring the Imperator that this territory is secure. The fact that he has had the honour of an audience with the Imperator himself means that the citizens of Polwa hold him in awe, and many ask that he touch their elbows in a show of blessing when they see him on the street. For his part, the gruff Khalmet has little time for such foolishness.

Kwasis Isrelius, Tyrant of Kelthkastel
Kwasis Isrelius descends from illustrious forefathers, and his line features both a King of Shields, and an Arch-Primate of the Unchallenged City, and the Tyrant of Kelthkastel makes sure that no one forgets it. While the other figures of import in the region are largely in agreement that family connections, rather than any personal merit, are what earned him his post in the Three Cities, the braggadocios Tyrant is quick to remind that greatness is guaranteed by merit of his bloodline, as it is for the Imperator himself! While the corpulent Kwasis is very much concerned with the opulence of his court, he is also known for lavishly rewarding those who serve him well, regardless of their station, or even their race.

Marco Katelego, Arch-Primate of the Three Cities
The Arch-Primacy of the Three Cities is not the most prestigious of posts in Haedrasia, but it is not the least either, and many templars will never even approach any such rank, but Marco Katelego was a promising neophyte, and an admired and accomplished field commander, orator, and temple scholar, and he is convinced that his posting in a border backwater is a political conspiracy to keep his sphere of influence in check. Because of this his heart isn't in the Three Cities, and he spends much of his time corresponding with his agents in the Haedrasian provinces, and studying news from the Unchallenged City. Still, when it is needful, the Arch-Primate's impassioned speeches, fervent wisdom, and keen, agile mind are more effective than a dozen legions.

Tradis Severus Titus, Tyrant of Neuboula
The youngest and newest of the three Tyrants, Tradis Severus Titus was sent to Neuboula a little under three years ago when his predecessor retired to an estate a few leagues to the south. A loyal legion commander drawn from the Judicator legions of the heartlands, Tradis has grown too old to serve on the field, but refused when he was offered a plot of land in the Soldatry, and in recognition of this dogged loyalty he was granted the post of Tyrant of Neuboula. Still learning exactly what that entails, Tradis' loyalty to the Imperator drives him to accept nothing but excellence in himself, and he has hungrily surrounded himself with wise advisers - often without much regard for their pasts or credentials.

The Tongue of the People
Whether the individual known as the Tongue of the People is an person, a group of people, or even exists at all, he (or she) has become one of the greatest folk heroes of the age, and has been for almost a century. The Tongue crops up in all of the Three Cities from time to time, burning down government buildings or even shrines, killing unjust officials and templars, and robbing excisemen and merchants. A few celebrate him, though always in secret, but most - citizen and subject alike - fear the unrest and chaos he causes.

Anaman Tregio
The free agent of the Green House in the Kelthkastel is something of an unknown to the people of the Three Cities. Anaman Tregio has come directly from the home of the Green House in the far east, not to oversee the affairs of the House, which are conducted by Marius Malius Kofu, or for any specific purpose really. Rumoured to be a distant scion of the Imperatry line, if this is true he is in grave breech of the law by being outside the Royal Province, but of course Tregio denies the rumour with a laugh. Still, he has taken a keen interest in diverse and often obscure matters of House business, and many are becoming uncomfortable about the young aristocrat's motives.

Today In The Three Cities…

Where Haedrasia and its neighbours have contact, the Three Cities sees its share of daily drama. Those trying to escape Haedrasia's oppressive regime, and others trying to infiltrate this wealthy and powerful land, pass over the borders west of Kelthkastel, and it is no secret that the nations to the west feel the Haedrasian influence pressing hard against their borders. Intrigues on both sides are common, as spies and informers move to and fro trying to guess at the plans of the other, while groups who seek to destabilize the empire infiltrate, wreck all the havoc they can, and then flee into the free lands to the west. And there is no greater agitator than the mysterious and much sought-after Tongue of the People. The Tongue has been active in Neuboula lately, where he has been speaking out in secret meetings against the Templarate - word from the Traitor Hunters is that he is inciting riot and rebellion amongst the field labourers in the region. However the burning of the home and family of the mage-finder Vontan Hale in Polwa also reeks of the Tongue's influence.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, rumours have begun to spread of a large band of hooded men making camp far from legion garrisons or major settlements. They ride during the day, and have been sighted by many hunters in the southern plains, but they wear heavy robes and hoods drawn over their faces, leading to much speculation about the strange band's race. Perhaps two hundred strong, they appear heavily armed, but their purpose is unknown. The Imperatry Plains are vast, and it is not hard to conceive that a band of such size could move around unchecked for months, but what is strange is that not a single legion outrider sent to scout for this band after sightings are reported has found any trace of them. Not tracks, or a discernible patter, let alone the riders themselves. Only the remains of camp sites. Could they be disappearing into thin air? Or are they a false rumour spread wide amongst the subject huntsmen for some unknown reason?

Equally mysterious, if a little less sinister, are the movements of Anaman Tregio, a ranking free-agent of the Green House who usually makes his home in Kelthkastel. While it is no secret that he is an enigmatic individual, given to keeping his business to himself, what he does seem to be keeping secret are monthly sojourns over the western border. A few in the know have reported seeing a disguised and hooded Tregio ride out of Kelthkastel and into Cal Manar under cover of night once at the beginning of every month. Then, a few days later he returns. Stranger still, word from the Manese is that he rides south into Kâdoc. What his business in that land is, or why it takes him away so regularly is unclear, but it might go some way to clarify his otherwise inexplicable presence in Kelthkastel.

The Imperatry Plains of Mighty Haedrasia
The Frozen North Cosarian Islands, Perca, Lekia, Illyum
The Ghan States Khalavic-Ghania, Trazdek-Ghania, Dragolchok-Ghania, Royal Haedrasia
The Central Flats Haedarium, Icarium, Lukaria, Haedrasia and the Unchallenged City, Roetia
The Drak Frontier Black Ice Bay, Maldrakaneum, The Salt Flats, Turana
The Kelorn Districts Gamon, Marisarn, Cal-Tolun, Trodur, The Three Cities
The Southern Soldatry Pannonium, Sacraminium, The Bair
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