Halstead

From Avlis Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of the series on
Kurathene
Toran.jpg

History of Kurathene
Kurathene Timeline
Kurathene War System
Kurathene Military
Kurathene Honors
Kuras


Kurathene Fiefdoms
Arvanos · Calazeria
Crullath · Cytheria
Halstead · Julaspium
Medec · Osannia
Pylatea · Servator
Trenium · Valorian


Kurathene PCs
Kurathene Lords


Related subjects
Geography
History
Toran
Senath

General information

Current Lord: Prefect Lucia Atilius Va'Klaren

Capital: Halstead Fortress

Fief Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Major Faiths: Toran (Predominant)

Government: Military Dictatorship

Population: Approx 1,000,000 prior to its fall (91% human, 6% dwarf, 2% elf, 1% other)

Exports: Iron, silver, hard gems, coal, marble & other decorative stone.

Imports: Food, lumber, textiles and luxury goods

Trading Partners: Cytheria, Pylatea and Tyedu (during the peaceful years).

Alliances: Cytheria

Geography

A moutainous land of long harsh winters and short summers located on the empires northeastern border, Halstead is at the limits of where large scale, organised agriculture is possible. (Think the Baltic states for the summer, Siberia for the winter.)

Halsteads northern border is formed by the northern sea, while to the west and south it borders Cytheria and Pylatia respectively. The Gald river forms the eastern border of the prefecture and it's fertile west bank and flood plain is the centre of the feifs food production. The east bank is populated by isolated imperial settlements and a number of the smaller tribal groups that had originaly settled in the area for trade purposes, but who, over the years, had adapted a more settled, quasi-imperial lifestyle.

Halstead fortress was originaly a simple legionary marching camp built of earth and wood, but by the time of its fall Halstead fort had evolved into one of the most powerfull fortresses in existance. A sizeable town grew up under the protection of it's impressive stone walls, originaly built and maintained by dwarven masons, and its extensive array of seige weaponry.

Regional History

Halstead is formerly one of the six provinces of the prefecture of Cytheria (along with Gallice, Mysilia, Evencreek, Venthald and Cythius), and was the fringe outpost at the northern reaches of the Kurathene Empire. Thus, though it was in an isolated region, with few natural resources, it tended to dominate the strategic thinking of both the prefects of Liandyra and Cytheria.

During the Imperial Era it was populated primarily by Imperial soldiers, usually of the Third and Seventeeth Legions, centered around the impressive stone battlements of Fort Halstead and anchored by the irrigation provided by the River Gald. It also contained the Kurathene northern port city of Port Masteus, which was the starting point of any iron convoys coming from Galdos since the 15th century.

As its strategic importance increased with the advent of Galdosian River Route, settlement was encouraged during the 16th and 17th centuries through the advancement of land claims to military veterans, and eventually the majority of the civilian population were clustered from the ranks of the Imperial Army, and the rather humble city of Port Masteus later became known as "Garrisonville" by Imperial Navy officers due to the large numbers of Imperial Army soldiers who had settled there after 20 years of service.

The fall of the Empire deeply fragmented Halstead itself, Port Masteus remained in the hands of the Imperial Navy, though Fort Halstead became its own fortified retreat for the remnants of Imperial Order officers serving in Halstead at that time. Traditionally ruled by the legion commander of the fortress, the region became more and more isolated from the rest of Kurathene...

the first post-Imperial garrison commander, Legate Lord Warner va'Klaren believing that he commanded the final bastion of Imperial tradition. (Though his successors knew this to be false, as they traded with the Imperial North Seas Fleet stationed in Port Masteus) This reinforced the innate conservatism and strength of the local populace, and in many regards made them far less likely to accept foreign support to maintain both the fort and it's elaborate system of siege weaponry designed to protect it from marauding barbarian hordes.

As for Cytheria, originally Halstead was treated as a break-away province. (Think, Taiwan vs China) But eventually they understood two things. First, they didn't really have the power left to project it into Halstead and take Fort Halstead by force. And second, whatever they lost from letting va'Klaren and his legion hold the fort, they gained by not having to pay for it themselves. It was basically that they were getting a free ride in the area, so why bother?

Around 60 years ago there was a dramatic fall in the number of barbarian incursions into the region and a corresponding increase of trade. This long period of peace, broken by sporadic barbarian raids that were easily dealt with resulted in a vastly increased sense of security.

A shift in priorities then occured under legate Magnus va'Klaren as ever scarce resources were diverted away from the upkeep of the fort - by that time one of the most powerfull fortresses in existance - into improving and extending the mines and agriculture upon which Halstead depended for survival.

This policy, intended to make Halstead fully self-sufficiant, was continued into the present time by the last fief lord Willem va'Klaren, along with a continuing gradual deteriation of the forts defences and fabric.

This period culminated in the fall of Fort Halstead in 2142 (rough date), to the forces of the Giant King Orgoron.

Currently, Halstead is almost entirely lawless, with small sprinkled Imperial villages holding out against the newly settled barbarian hordes. The only exception lies near Masteus, where the Imperial Navy's North Sea Fleet and its cannon keep the hordes at bay. The pragmatic nobility of the region have generally accepted that they require the assistance of 9th Legion's Expeditionary Unit sent to protect Masteus.

The Remnants of Seventeenth Legion, now calling themselves Klaren's Martyrs, having refused the help of the I.N. have reformed as a roving army of fifteen thousand, protecting the remaining Imperial settlements in the region and attempting to retake it from the clutches of the barbarian hordes. Time will tell if they are successful, or they wind up truly martyred as their name implies.

Life and Culture

The culture thus was an odd mix of communal ties (reminiscent in fact of army camps), and a transplanted original culture of Toranism mixed with the army habits of the settlers. In spite of, perhaps because of their distance from Kuras, they took great pains to maintain as much of their cultural cohesion as possible, though eventually trade with the local barbarian tribes did introduce relatively distinct family structures into Halstead society, the most noticable of these being the adaption of a clan based social system.

Land ownership

For many years prior to the break up of the empire it was official policy to give plots of land to retiring legionaries in recognition of their services and to give them a stake in the future prosperity of the prefecture. This policy continued after the break-up of the empire, but over the years the practice died out and land ownership became concentrated in the hands of the nobles, who generaly rented their lands out to tenant farmers.

Politics

Halstead, from it's creation first as a military outpost of the empire and then as an imperial colony in all but name, has evolved into a military dictatorship run on strict Toranite principals.

Traditionaly Halstead is ruled by the senior member of the Va'Klaren clan, which can trace it's lineage back to the Proconsul of the 17th legion originaly assigned the task of securing the empires northern border by the emperor.

Halstead has an unusual form of government in that the senior male member of the Va'Klaren line commands the army and is responsable for the defence of the prefecture while the senior female member of the Va'Klaren line is responsable for the prefectures civil administration.

Halsteads nobility, which has all but ceased to exist since the occupation, had been organised on an adapted clan system, with each clan responsable for the civil administration of their lands. The clan leaders were assisted in their duties by elected councils. Tradition dictated that only the emperor had the authority to grant noble status or create new nobles. Thus, even before Orgoron's invasion Halsteads nobility was slowly becoming extinct as the various noble famies either died out or merged over the years. The *new* nobility that arose after the break-up of the empire were generaly looked down upon by Halsteads *old regime* nobility.

Army

The 'Klaren's Martyrs' legion (the old imperial 17th) which in its organisation, tactics, drill and traditions is somewhat akin to a living, but still very formidable, fossil. Reduced from 60,000 to 42,000 men.(15,000 of which are still holding out in the Gald river flood plain, the rest are now in camps along the Cytherian border.

The Martyres are supported by the auxilary militia, which was a localy raised defense force to protect the villages and settlements of Halstead, but later became to be seen as a conscripted extention to the legion.

Although service in the military is not prohibited, very few women are to be found serving in the army. Those that do are traditionaly restricted to service as medical orderlies or within the army administration, thereby freeing up manpower to serve in *front-line* combat units.

Legal system

The legal system has it's origins in the old Imperial military law, adapted over the years to better reflect the needs of a civilian society, although most outsiders are generaly unable to reconise the suble differences between the two.

Crime, which is rare in such an ordered society, is normaly punished by a fine, with a period of service in a military penal battalion for those who can't, or will not pay. The death penalty, although it exists, is rarely enforced and condemned prisoners simply exiled for life on the understanding that the original sentence will be carried out if they ever return to Halstead.

Religion

95% of the population are Toranite, and although the worship of other gods is not illegal, it is generaly frowned upon. The edict enacted during imperial times outlawing the worship of Aarilax and Maleki are still rigorously enforced.

The only exeption is the worship of Toblin due to the high regard in which the Dracon are held.

Trade

Exports: These consist of iron, silver, hard gems, coal, marble & other decorative stone. Plus trading with the Tyedu (during the peaceful years).

Imports: Food, lumber, textiles and luxury goods form the bulk of imports.

Current Events

Currently, Halstead is almost entirely lawless, with small sprinkled Imperial villages holding out against the newly settled barbarian hordes. The only exception lies near Masteus, where the Imperial Navy's North Sea Fleet and its cannon keep the hordes at bay. Though the pragmatic nobility of the region have generally accepted that they require the assistance of 9th Legion's Expeditionary Unit sent to protect Masteus...

The Remnants of Seventeenth Legion, now calling themselves Klaren's Martyrs, having refused the help of the I.N. have reformed as a roving army of fifteen thousand, protecting the remaining Imperial settlements in the region and attempting to retake it from the clutches of the barbarian hordes. Time will tell if they are successful, or they wind up truly martyred as their name implies.

The Kobolds of Halstead

Officialy there are no Kobolds in Halstead; unofficialy those Kobolds who have adapted to life under Imperial rule are accorded the full protection of the law like any other resident.

Due to the harsh climate acting as a curb on the their normaly progidous rates of reproduction Halsteads Kobolds never came to be seen as the pests most other nations perceive them to be and in many of the heavily fortified hamlets and farmsteads along the east bank of the Gald river small families of Kobolds could be found acting as vermin catchers, rubbish collectors, and inteligent guard dogs, a practice that slowly spread into Halstead itself over the years. They also created a niche for themselves working in the mines exploiting the mineral resouces that others considered to be to uneconomical to mine.

Popular legend has it that the Kobolds acceptance as an unofficial underclass in Halstead began when a chicken farmer in the Gald river caught a small family of Kobolds raiding his stock and didn't have the heart to kill the miserable, half starved and freezing creatures. Instead he offered them a place to live in his outbuildings and food on condition that they guarded his stock. The arrangement worked so well that the practice spread to other farms. The rest, as they say, is history....

Gnasher-No-Teeth even had a cookbook published giving details of over 70 recipes for rat - although being aware of the rather picky nature of humans where food is concerned, he cleverly gave pork as a suitable substitute for rat, while other more 'exotic' ingredients were replaced with things more suited to a human palete - which over the years became something of a must-have collectors item.

All-in-all, those Kobolds who learnt to suppress their natural instincts found that they had aquired a safe and comfortable lifestyle compared to their *uncivilised* cousins - but all that changed with the coming of the barbarians.

The Kobolds of Halstead soon found they were accorded the same treatment as any other Halstead resident and slaughtered on sight, a fact that wasn't lost on Tribune Maximilian Flint, commander of those Halstead forces cut off and isolated along the Gald River.

At a historic first meeting between goverment representitives and tribal elders, Flint made no rash promises for the future, simply stating that any Kobold who enlisted would be accorded the same rights and priveleges as any other soldier serving under his command, and that he would do his best to ensure that they got full credit for their contribution in liberating Halstead and official recognition as Halstead residents by a restored government.

Kobold Militia

While the tribes always kept a manner of fighting capable kobolds mostly for hunting or defense from larger animals it wasn't until the barbarian raidings and the meeting with the Haltead government that they felt a strong urge to take a more formal manner in their training and deploying of forces. Naturally some of the more seasoned Kobold warriors or casters took on roles of leadership to train the masses on combat and harsh survival. Among the seasoned warriors the elders also chose some to act as the militias fighting minds.

New to the concept of a formal militia the Kobolds adopted a system of rank and privlidge comparable to the Humans they would fight alongside. While they did have a basic pillar outline as to followers and leaders they also chose to create a naming system for each warriors role in combat they the Kobold chose to fight as. While there is no real set outline as to this naming system there is a base understanding for easy identification.

The core ranks of the militia which is mainly 70-75% of their standing forces were given a basic breakdown: Grunt, Rusher, Shield

The leadership ranks were kept more along the lines of their own heritage as a sort of privlidge: Shakar, Rissul, Srii,

As per the status naming of the fighting style certain basic status' were given: Shaman, Caster, Slinger, Dark Eye, Slasher

So in order of easy identification a brand new front-line Kobold warrior who preffered the down and dirty approach to fighting with blades would be called "Slasher Grunt"

Timeline

to be edited

Publicly known information

The Refugee camps Over the years since the initial invasion many camps sprang up along the Cytherian border to house people displaced by the barbarians. Although many of the camps were well run and organised for the benefit of the refugees, there were those that were run purely for the advantage of those in charge, with corruption being rife and those who could not afford to buy food and other supplies often going without.

Current Fieflord Little is known publicly about Halsteads new lord, the lady Lucia Atilius Va'Klaren, exept that she is rumoured to be young, and only the second woman to rule Halstead in her own right. Although reportedly shy, she has, when required, exibited the ruthless efficiency associated with her family in stamping her authority over the army and across the refugee camps.


Notable npc's

Octavius Atilius Va'Klaren (Deceased?): Octavius was Lucia's father and the fieflord for the period between the fall of the fortress and Halstead being overrun. He suffered from ill-health from an early age that, coupled with a severe phobia of all forms of magic, meant that he was unsuited for a military career. Instead he became an able administrator and judge. With it's ever decreasing resouces of raw materials and manpower it was mainly due to his organisational talents that Halstead was able to hold out for as long as it did.

Tribune Maximilian Flint: Senior officer of the 'Martyres' Born into a family of small landowners and farmers in the Gald valley Flint was repeatedly passed over for promotion during a career as an officer that, at best, could only be described as mediocre. After the fall of the fortress Flint found himself the surviving senior officer of those Halstead forces cut off and isolated in the Gald river valley, and, without the constraints imposed by higher authority, displayed an unsuspected flair for the unconventional tactics required to hold back the barbarians.