Pylatea

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History

See: Pylatea History

Geography

Pylatea has mountains, lakes, and rivers to the north and eastern sections. Hills and flatlands cover the central and outlying areas, a region known as the Epillus steppe, hilly, with little rainfall and short grasses. Pylatea has little arable land and the rough terrain is not condusive to large-scale building.

Economy and Resources

Wood resources: Almost none. The steppelands are devoid of trees altogether, and even the mountains are very sparsly populated with trees, the only ones being imported on the request of a rich landowner, in many cases.

Mining: The mountains provide a strong source of Titanium, and limited amounts of iron. The mixture of steppe land, mountains, and minerals from the underground aquifers of Galdos, have made the land an exceptionally rich deposit of most types of exotic gems and stones.

There are also stonequarries useful in the building of the homes colonists live in across the fief.

Animals: The lake and rivers provide a huge supply of fish, and the mountains and steppes have several types of woolly oxen and deer useful for their meat and skins.

Farming and Agriculture: The stepplands and mountains make agriculture nearly impossible across Pylatea. The long sturdy grasses are excellent for cattle fodder, however.

Unique Features

Pylatea seems plain and desolate at first, but that hides the uniqueness of this rich land.

Primarily, the lands were quite recently not in Kurathene hands. They were one of the last frontier regions, and controlled by the local steppe and mountain tribes. As such, there are still Wemic villages, most dominant being the camp know as Ter'Shada, and the plains regions and ancient hunting grounds of the tribes, Ter'Shen'Bak.

These flowing seas of grass are a home to another unique feature; The Pylatean wildflower sea. Western Pylatea, leading to near the borderlands of Julaspium, is a region rich and wildflowers of all types. From a distance overlooking the plains, it's a bright contrast to the dry browns and greens of the steppe, offering yellow, red, blue, purple and white pools scattered throughout. These regions are sacred to the local wemics.

The City of Lake Blackhammer is a unique feature in itself. Built into the side of a large cliff region, with the lake to the east, makes only two real entrances to the city. Within the cliffs themselves is a myriad of one of the worlds largest depostits of various gemstones.

The lake is also fed from the great underground lakes and mountain rivers of Galdos. The rich mineral makes it thick with the inland freshwater fish that feeds almost all of the residents of Pylatea, whom reserve the cattle and oxen for the more important purposes of needing a hardy animal to travel the ever changing weather of Pylatea.

Nort of the city is another feature that needs mention. The Aquaduct. Built to bring a source of water to the city of Lake Blackhammer that was not thicker in the mountain salts, it is the main water source for the residents of Pylatea. It is a grand feature, built over, and in some parts under the mountains themselves, before dumping into a man made seperate segement of the lake, now known as Julians moor, after the noble family of Julian.

Another dramatic feature is the strange artifacts of the mountains. Monoliths, stone circles, and even a large carved stone statue decorate this unforgiving region. It is assumed they were made by the precursers of the mountain tribes, but nobody is certain. Now that Pylatea is under firm Kurathene control, however, it may become the next great archeological site of the empire. The wemic tribes now use the stone circles in their ceremonies to their Gods.

Last, but not least, is the region itself. Pylatea is a strong contrast of climates, landmasses, and cultures. Partially mountains, partially steppe, and still a region in transition, from barbarism to the Kurathene civilization. The tribes are still prevelant in much of the land, but the empire is slowly gaining control and bringing law and order to the land.

The climate is a feature for it's brutality. The dramatic changes in land from extremes, and the mountains north and east, prevent much rainfall, and provide a harsh climate. The days can change from overwhelming heat to bitter cold in the course of an hour, and it often takes months to see a short sprinkling of rain.

The summers are generally dry, and range from extreme heat in the steppes, to a mild and teperate climate in the mountains. Winds often push through the mountains of Galdos and bathe the region in a chilling cold for several days, sometimes even bringing snow.

In the winter, the reverse is often true. THe mountains are harsh and cold, and the steppes are vast and windy, offering no protection from the icey gusts, but often a warm wind will push in, and trap itself along the mountain ridge before pressures shift it away. These winds bring a welcome sudden gust of summer like heat.

The Pylatean League

The Pylatean League is the outgrowth of the Treaty of Blackhammer, which originally formed the mutual defense alliance between the eastern principalities after the rise of Crullath in the mid-19th century. Gradually built from the framework of mutual-defense into a more cohesive identity, the Pylatean League is primarily known for the much greater Galdosian influence in its culture.

Formed with the Duchy of Pylatea as its central state, the League consists of a rough confederation of six other principalities and their bordering Galdosian settlements. Because of their access to high quality dwarven goods, the League boasts one of the best trained and best equipped armies in Kurathene, easily pound for pound the equivalent of any major force short of the Fourth Imperium or Crullathian Empire.

This relative security, combined with the need for a strong centralized leadership after the fall of Servator to Crullath has been a key component in the rise of Pylatean unity. While the individual dukes and princes still retain sovereign control of their territories, the League has begun to assert its primacy, including introducing new tariffs and lowering trade barriers between League members.

Military

The Knighthood

The Chivalric Order that resides in Pylatea is a branch of the Most Venerable Order of the Hammer. Common soldiers who distinguish themselves often are accepted into the knighthood. The sons of noble families also commonly join at a young age as a way to distinguish themselves before retaining their parents positions in society

The Knighthood follows a strict rank system:

  • Page
  • Squire
  • Knight
  • Crusader Knight
  • Baronet
  • Knight Commander
  • Knight Grand Commander

Sons of noble families often enter into the knighthood as children. They are given the rank of Page, and are more or less errand boys for the other higher ranks. Commoners who distinguish themselves as Men-At-Arms, and pages who put in their time, are promoted to the rank of Squire, or Knight in Training. This is the first rank in the knighthood that activly fights on the field. Individuals who earn the favour of the leadership of the Order of the Hammer and the Blackhammer nobility then are granted Knighthood, and recieve the rank of Knight. Knights act as the elite soldiers of the fief, and often are also the intermediates of the nobility to the commoners. When a knight distinguishes himself through dedication to the fief, the nobility, and above all, the church of Gorethar or Toran, they are given the option to either remain in the knighthood in a combat role, or begin moving towards a more political role.

Knights that choose combat are granted the title of Crusader Knight. The ones that choose to follow a role that leads to politics become Baronets. Most often, the title of baronet is only handed down to Knights who own land. Quite often knights become Crusader Knights until they earn enough wealth to become landholders, at which point the choose to become baronets, which is a strong doorway into the low levels of nobility. Crusader Knights who attain land but still choose to serve the Knighthood are promoted to the rank of Knight Commander after further distinguishing themselves on the field.

The commander of the Order of the Hammer is currently the leader of the House of Praetlyn, Eupheus Davicus Praetlyn. The title of this role is Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Hammer, and is the highest rank in the knighthood. The term 'distinguishing on the field' is relative of course. The monarch of the fief, the Blackhammer hier, can grant rank as he or she desires, and as a political tool to gain the favour of noble families, will use that power to hand out empty rank and title to gain favours in the future.

The knighthood is generally trained in the use of Warhammers, and wear strong plate armour. Silver and Gold are the standard colours.

Motto of the Order of the Hammer:

Glory of the empire, enemy of Tyranny


The Pylatea Army - Kurath's Reach

The established common army below the knighthood is a branch of the Magnus Legion named Kurath's Reach. The army is mainly filled with commoners. People who are not able to distinguish themselves through craftsmanship and other means often join Kuraths Reach as a way of making money and earning respect.

Kurath's Reach Titles:

  • Man-At-Arms
  • Legionary of the Steppes
  • Champion of Justice
  • Crusader-General
  • Grand Lord-Commander

The new green recruits are not given rank until they gain field experience, at which point they either join the Pylatea City Guard, or recieve the rank of Men-At-Arms, where they are more or less officialy a standing solider of Kuraths Reach.

Men who distiniguish themselves, but do not desire to join the knighthood can recieve the title of Legionary of the Steppes. Legionaries of the Steppes are often granted command of small units and patrols, or platoons. They are generally under the command of higher ranking members of the Order of the Hammer or Kuraths Reach at all times, however. The title and rank attained after Legionary of the Steppe is Champion of Justice, and is the command rank among Kuraths reach.

The highest rank received in Kuraths Reach is Crusader-General. Crusader-Generals are often accepted as knights during their service, and individuals who are never accepted for knighthood early in their careers often step into the nobility through this rank. A member of the General Assembly of Lords is generally granted command of Kuraths Reach. The current commanding noble is Benedict Algar Rheineg, of the House of Rheineg. The Title granted to the Noble in command of Kuraths reach is Grand Lord-Commander of Kuraths Reach, and carries with it the noble title of Earl.

The Kuraths Reach is also famous for their Longbowman and peasant rangers, recruited from the hardy rangers who hunt the Galdosian Mountains and the Epillus Steppe. The Ranged soldiers among the peasant ranks generally use crossbows, because of the power they pack, and the ease in which the green recruit can learn to use the weapon. The soldiers of Kuraths Reach wield all variety of melee weapons, particularly among the peasant soliders who have to supply their own weapons. Peasant often pick the field of battle of weapons no longer needed.

Wemics in Kuraths Reach are rare, and only seem to appear in times of high recruitment demand. Wemics are often expected to serve in the army, but often form their own small units, which do not have any real ranking system. They are made up of Wemic Plainsmen

The City Guard

Commoners who don't have the stomach for field pitched combat, but survive long enough to be given the option of becoming Men-At-Arms often choose to join the city guard over remaining in Kuraths Reach. The City Guards are sent in small garrisons to protect nobles and commoners and enforce the law. In times when the villages and cities are attacked, they are under the command of Kuraths Reach as Men-At-Arms.

City Guard Titles and Ranks:

  • Blackhammer Watchman
  • Commander of the Walls
  • Captain of the Guard
  • Chief Justice of the Peace, Sentinel of Blackhammer

A noble of the General Assembly of Lords is often placed in command of the City Guard, and retains the title of Chief Justice of the Peace, Sentinel of Blackhammer. The Current Chief Justice and Sentinel is Artair Marcellus Julian, of the Noble house of Julian

Demography

The layout of the fief has produced a distinct group of people. Because of the limited trade and contact with the dwarves of Galdos through minor expeditions into the mountains, Pylatea's people have some similar cultural nuances. The small villages are often more 'clan' oriented. Much of the population follows the dwarven and gnomish deities, though Toran is still a dominant deity. Many people that live in the mountain villages and in Lake Blackhammer are craftsman, where blacksmiths, weapon smiths and armorers find ample resources. In the steppes and hills, people are herders, farmers and hunters.

Due to Pylatea's difficult living conditions, villages are small and sparsely populated and travel over the hills is difficult by foot. Agriculture is limited due to the lack of irrigation and arable land. Hunters often worship Pelar and live in the forested isolation of the mountains, or the steppes, coming to the villages to sell their hunts and furs.

The steppe is home to many wemic prides. The wemics are accepted throughout Pylatea and actively participate in general affairs; however they seem to prefer the nomadic lifestyle of the steppes rather then city-life. The wemic population has two noble houses in the General Assembly of Lords, but most wemics don't regard this as significant, and many believe it to be simply the human monarchy placating the wemic population for a usefull source of skilled fighters. A wemic noble has never lead the General Assembly. The wemic population worship their cultural deities, though many that live in cities and villages convert to the more common deities of the fief, Toran and Gorethar, and sometimes Pelar.

Pylatea has a strong sense of class and gender difference. The upper class nobles all maintain the business and trade, and the lower common classes do the manual labour and grunt work. Few plebians manage to rise in rank in the fief with the most prevelent ways through military success or through skill in craftsmanship and trade. Warriors and blacksmiths are generally the 'elite' of the plebian classes.

Pylatean females are not considered 'lesser' over the male population, but are expected to perform different duties. Pylatean males are the soldiers, craftsman, and merchants; females are expected to perform as administrators, and raising the family. Though females are technically allowed to become soldiers, craftsmen, or even merchants; 'proper ladies' just do not partake in such careers.

Politics

The government structure is based on law and order. The Noble house strongly abides by the codes of conduct and chivalry of the Kurathene empire. The government strives for honor and justice above all else.

Nobility

There are several noble houses.

The House of Blackhammer – Monarch, leading noble family
The House of Praetlyn – leading Nobles of the General Assembly
The House of Rheineg
The House of Julian
The House of Calnarghy
The House of Hammerpaw – Wemic nobility
The House of Ter'shada – Wemic nobility

There is also a representative Draconic, Shhallak. He and his family are friends of the leading Blackhammers. Though not a notable noble family, the Blackhammers accepted a Draconic family advisor, and the family retains it's advisory role. Though many of the human nobles think the Dracon family is simply trying to wedge it's way into power, it would outwardly seem they are more interested in furthering the ideals of strict ethics over the more moraly guided humans, and make sure Law is strong.

The Monarch of the Fief follow the title of Grand Duke/Duchess, rather than declaring themselves king or queen. The Leader of the General Assemble of Lords attains the rank of Duke of Pylatea.

The leading family members of the noble lines are:

The House of Blackhammer – Auwenilda Viarra Blackhammer, Grand Duchess. Currently, however, her brother Gabriel Sergius Blackhammer is taking the title of Grand Duke of Pylatea, leading until her return. Her mother, Chrystal Isidora Blackhammer, the 2nd Grand Duchess of Pylatea, abdicated the throne in favour of her daughter, instead prefering to devote her time to finding a suitable husband for the Grand Duchess Auwenilda. The House of Praetlyn – Eupheus Davicus Praetlyn, Representative of the Assembly of Lords of Pylatea, Duke of Pylatea, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Hammer, 1st Prefect Liandyra, 1st Earl Praetlyn, 1st Viscount Wintercast, 1st Baron Halvia, Knight Grand Commander of the Royal Order of Kuras The House of Rheineg - Benedict Algar Rheineg, Duke of Pylatea, Grand Lord-Commander of Kuraths Reach, Magus Legion, Pylatea The House of Julian - Artair Marcellus Julian, Earl of Pylatea, The most honourable Chief Justice of Pylatea, Sentinel of Pylatea The House of Hammerpaw – Tira Hammerpaw, Pridemother The House of Ter'shada – Jerhima Ter'Shada, pridemother The House of Calnarghy - Domenias Logan Calnarghy, Earl of Pylatea

The previous Grand Duke, Nathan Elliot Blackhammer attained the title after the conquest of Pylatea and the establishment of the capital, Lake Blackhammer. Originally Duke Eupheus Davicus Praetlyn held dominion, but being an established aristocrat meant he needed to place a trusted noble into leadership. He granted Nathan Blackhammer a title of Duke. Duke Blackhammer established the City, Lake Blackhammer, and began active trading with the outlying fiefs, establishing a strong industry in the trade of local resources from the mountains, and quelling the last rebellions among the dominated wemic tribes. He eventually declared himself Grand-Duke of Pylatea, and monarch of the fief. Euphus never challenged the title, and accepted his role as Duke. He did, as a way of snubbing the now ruling Blackhammers, create a General Assembly of the local lords, and he chose the leading noble families, even the two most notable Pridemothers among the wemic tribes.

Grand Duke Nathan Blackhammer maintained control by appealing to the people. His strong devotion to the ideals of both Toran and Gorethar increased his popularity. He was, however, not a skilled diplomat or merchant, relying on his Dracon friend and advisor, Shallak, and secretly relying heavily on his very diplomatically talented wife. One of his many decisions that made him popular, but rather unpopular among the general assembly was to 'donate' almost all of his family wealth to the people of the Pylatea upon his death. This assured that when his wife became Grand Duchess, there would be a strong appeal to keep her in power, and not have power roll down to Euphus, or his family. The Grand Duchess Chrystal almost immediatly abdicated her rule. She realized the plight the family was in. Without wealth to maintain the much needed economy and strong army of Pylatea, they would surly be swept aside by either another noble house, or by a rival Fief lord seeking the strong iron deposits in the mountains. She granted her daugher the rule of Pylatea, and the title of Grand Duchess. She then began her current diplomatic tour seeking a suitable, and by suitable I mean rich, husband to not only maintain the Blackhammer families dominion of Pylatea, but to assure their financial well being.

Nathan also had established a radical system of appointment of heirs after his death. He did it to not only maintain his families strength, but also because he knew his wife was stronger diplomatically and economically than he was. He wanted her to rule after his death, so he made a strong declaration, something that the other noble houses were not nearly as welcoming of.

The new selection of heirs was as follows:

Monarch Widow of the active monarch Eldest Blackhammer Son Eldest Blackhammer Daughter Any Eldest remaining sibling, with no favour given to gender, but to ability and popularity Eldest Niece/nephew of Active monarch - name is changed upon coronation, ties with direct family are removed Eldest Aunt/Uncle of active monarch - name is changed upon coronation, ties with direct family are removed Adoption of the Eldest son or daughter from the most popular of the General Assembly of Lords - name is changed on coronation, ties with direct family are removed

This meant women would be able to retain the power officially and absolutely, even after marriage to a suitable husband!

This caused some strife among the leading families, but garnished a bit more respect from the notable Wemic families. However, Grand Duchess Auwenilda had managed to distinguish herself somewhat, fighting with her brother and father during disputes with bandits, and malekite giantkin raids from the mountaintops. She had gained the diplomatic skills from her mother, however, and not the build of a soldier.

Nathan had asked that his son and daughter take a pilgramige to further develop their beleifs in Toran and Gorethar, in Law and righteousness. They would return after their pilgramage to the south was complete, and be properly ready to take the throne after the death of their mother.

Of course, this couldn't happen because of the abdication of the title. Auwenilda still wanted to honour her fathers request however, and left on a pilgramige, giving her brother the title of 2nd Grand Duke. He would run the fief until her return.

Many of the noble families were happy with this, assuming that Auwenilda would probably not survive the pilgramige. This would put the male heir, Gabriel, in the seat of power permenantly.

However, because there is no way to assure this, the noble families within the General Assembly have ralllied under Duke Euphus to try and manipulate the Grand Duke Gabriel Blackhammer to convince him to try and change the law and keep the throne after his sisters return. The outcome of these political challenges has yet to be seen.

Of course, this internal instability does not bode well for the Fiefs image interally throughout the Empire. The diplomatic travels of the Lady Chrystal, Auwenildas mother, are the only real voice trying to maintain Pylateas good standing.

The Monarchy

Pylatea is a monarchy, with a noble governing council, called the General Assembly of Lords.

Pylatea is ruled by the noble house of Lake Blackhammer. The rulership is heriditary, in the event that the line does not have a suitable heir, either one is chosen through marriage or one of the leading houses 'donates' an heir. This donated heir has their name changed and becomes a member of the Blackhammer noble family. As such, the noble line became 'muddled' over generations.

At current, the noble Blackhammer line is human. Wemics are often in other noble families, but as of yet wemics have not been accepted as the ruling monarch, and it is doubtful they ever would.

During times of a ruling female monarch, the Queen is expected to maintain policy and administration and marry a notable noble knight or general to oversee military affairs. In the times of the ruling monarch being male, the King is expected to marry a well educated woman of capable administration to manage the fief while the king is busy protecting the borders.

The General Assembly

The leading King or Queen of the Blackhammer line controls the government absolutely, but to assist in matters of state, the General Assembly of Lords also assists in ruling, to a very limited degree.

The leading nobles throughout the fiefdom assemble during the harvesting season or in times of emergency. The Ruling noble of the Blackhammers presents issues that need addressing and the General Assembly debates them. After the debates, the reigning monarch decides on the action to be taken. On a lesser scale, the General Assembly is often used as local tax collectors and responsible for maintaining the local garrisons and supplying provisions to the soldiers.

The leading nobles chosen to join the General Assembly of Lords are selected by the General Assembly and the monarch during meetings of the assembly. If a member dies during the year, that noble house is no longer represented until the next meeting, where the General Assembly and the Monarch will decide whether or not to allow the heir to his family's seat in the next. The ruling Blackhammer monarch can remove or add a member to the General Assembly at any time. Because of the lawful nature of the citizenry, and the ideals of a greater good, people assume the monarch strives for only what is just and right, therefore trust absolutely that the monarch's decisions are for the good of society as a whole, and rarely questioned, even by the noble houses. The monarch of the Blackhammer line has absolute power over the General Assembly at all times.

The General Assembly of Lords meet in Lake Blackhammer, in the main hall of the Blackhammer Keep.

Foreign Relations

Pylatea is primarily a producer of metal goods and seeks to trade these goods to maintain enough food for the villages. Pylatea often seeks alliances and strives to maintain strong relations with other fiefs in order to maintain a supply of food and sale of goods. The leadership and populace often views themselves as crusaders of Kurathene, champions of justice and good, and form alliances with fiefs of similar ideals.

Capital City - Lake Blackhammer

Lake Blackhammer is built in a valley, towards the lake and mountains for defense. It is constructed around a central keep and the buildings were constructed in an irregular, winding series of alleys to increase defensibility and keep the city small. The central keeps walls maintain shrines to Toran and Gorethar.

Religion

Toran, Gorethar, Clangeddin, and Fegall are the primary gods of Pylatea. Other commonly accepted deities include Pelar, worshipped among mountains hunters, Ayreh Gidol, and Balgar, worshipped among the wemic tribes in the steppes. Worship of most evil deities such as The'ton, Maleki, Valok, and Aarilax is illegal.