Capital: Kindem Hua (Hawksholme)
Government: Feudal Monarchy
Current Monarch: Queen Heulyn II
Major Religion: Traditional Keledoni beliefs
Languages: Selmari is the national language. Isolated areas still speak a little Draeg, and the trade tongue is widely understood.
Keledon's national standard is a golden falcon displayed on a crimson field. At times the field is divided into alternating rays of red and crimson, and displays a crown when used in a royal capacity.A variation of the standard in which one side is black, and which includes the crown, is used as a specifically royal standard for the monarch, who employs it on state occasions and as a representation of the office of monarch, rather than the individual, and is used across dynasties.
The association of the falcon with the crown is an ancient one, beginning with Sothar and the founding of the kingdom a thousand years ago. Red and gold have remained the colors of kingship and nobility in Keledon ever since.
Keledon is a wide land, occupying the entirety of the Alagar, a peninsula jutting southward from Amallon and into the great waters of the Maraseri. It's northern and eastern most borders are defined by the steep and nearly impassable peaks of the Ironfist Mountains; only Cardas Pass allows a relatively simple crossing to the realm of Akaryth beyond.
The mountains give way to rocky foothills, then a wide and open stony plain that sweeps westward towards the sea, and the kingdom's holdings in Southern Sen, towards the Sixlunds. The kingdom is divided into several great regions, or Reaches, each of which has its own fairly unique character.The Marches occupy the northernmost parts of the kingdom, and consist of a wide, stony plain crossing the peninsula from Southern Sen along the southern side of the Ironfists. The land is tough to work and produces little without great effort, yet it's well watered and can yield enough grain to support her people.Some strains of wild horses, related perhaps to Lathani breeds, were tamed here; the ancestors of the best steeds of House Terwin, who rules the Reach.
The Dalelands sit immediately south of The Marches. Bounded by the interior mountains on the south, the Dalelands are a rolling region of lakes, forested hills, and valleys. The region is fairly fertile, and strongly associated with the Druids of the kingdom, forming (together with the Haft) the ancient heartland of the religion in the kingdom. The Dalelands have long been settled and are a well-populated and peaceful region. House Ebethar rules the Reach.
To the northwest of the Dalelands is North Arvendur, or Cardashire. The rocky foothills and western slopes of the Ironfists make up much of this region's terrain, which is broken by the incredibly fertile and green expanse of Carda's Vale. The pass into Akaryth, one of the only reliable means of crossing the Ironfists, opens on the eastern frontier of the region, where it meets South Arvendur. House Caerwyn rules North Avendur.
South Arvendur, found immediately south of its northern namesake and east of the Dalelands, consists of wide, rolling grasslands, well watered by rivers, that give way to foothills and the slopes of the Ironfists in the east. Its northeastern corner joins with North Arvendur at Cardas Pass. South Arvendur is more fertile than its counterpart but just as grim. Bright skies are rare here, where House Dreigon holds sway.
South of the Dalelands is The Haft, home to the interior mountain ranges of the kingdom, and the great cleft valley that lies between them. Of all the reaches of Keledon, the Haft is the wildest. In its eastern lands lies the Woodmere, and west of that it grows wilder yet. The region is sparesly populated compared to others, and is deeply connected with the traditional myths and beliefs of the kingdom. Indeed, the Haft is the heart of Keledoni religion and belief. It is the part of the kingdom where, it is said, the walls between this world and the next are thinnest. House Morym rules the Haft.
Culain occupies the heart of the kingdom, sitting east of the Haft and south of the Dalelands and South Arvendur. Also called the Blackmoors, Culain is a great rolling stretch of country, parts of which are covered with great lakes and forests. The region produces a good yield of crops every year and is well known for its fine wool and textiles. It is a tremendous breadbasket for the kingdom, and is therefore a wealthy holding. House Alens rules Culain from its seat.
Northeast of Culain, running to the sea, is Blackfordshire. The reach is dominated by a great river that forms its southern border; north of this is a wide and open grassland leading to low coastal mountains and a wide belt of forest. The region alternates between harsh, rugged beauty and fertile, open fields. Blackfordshire is a mutable region; powerful storms lash its shores, but give way to beautiful periods of calm, sunny weather. House Argawain rules Blackfordshire.
Lothyan lies south of The Haft and Culain.Its west is dominated by the northern reaches of the Greatwood. Moving east, the land becomes flatter, opening into a great plain that extends to the sea. Open farming dominates the region, which is tougher to defend due to wide, flat expanses. Here, it is the noble House Kurdwyn that rules in the Queen's name.
Elbana lies west of Lothyan and is an ancient part of the kingdom. The northwest stretch of the Greatwood fills more than half the Reach, which also runs up against the ancient and mysterious deeps of the Haft. House Derthion holds sway here, honoring the druids and the oldest ways.
Kingslands dominate much of the kingdom's south. This rolling region of farmland, rough hills and the southern Greatwood fill the coffers of the Throne, and offer a wide variety of resources, from mineral and agricultural to marine and manpower. The Kingsland is ruled directly by the monarch, and today much of it belongs to the royal House Halad.
Southlands / Kalabarshire occupy the southern most part of the peninsula. A great forest occupies part of the Reach, running into mineral rich but inaccessible coastal mountains. Rich arable land runs along the rivers of the Reach, and its forests produce ideal woods for shipbuilding. House Windmere, the wealthiest of the kingdom, rules these lands.
The Isles are the final region of the kingdom, and occupy an archipelago off the peninsula's southeastern coast. The people of the Isles are the roughest and dourest of the land, but are as comfortable at sea as they are on solid ground. The Isles are largely barren, and support very little agriculture. Reliance on the sea, then, is inescapable. House Borudh rules over the Isles, and it is largely due to the islanders that Keledon is considered well-nigh impregnable to marine attacks from the east.
ClimateEditThe climate varies across Keledon, but the majority of the realm is temperate, and covered in forest, grassland and plains. Wildlife is as would be expected in such a climate, as situated in Western Europe. In the greater elevations of the land, such as in the Ironfist Mountains or high in the mountains of The Haft, a boreal or alpine climate predominates, with even plant life dropping off steeply above the tree line.
Small parts of Culain, Blackfordshire, Kingsland and the Southlands are warmed by oceanic currents and tropical deciduous forests are found there. In these small regions, fruits such as oranges and lemons can be grown.
The Isles are frequently lashed by storms coming up from the sea, or down from the Ironfist Mountains.
TemperatureEditThroughout the year, temperature varies considerably. In the warmer part of the kingdom, the average yearly temperature can be as high as 16-18 C; The coldest parts of the kingdom--high in the mountains, can have a negative annual average temperature. In terms of weather,vsummers tend to be warm, and brief in the northernmost regions of the realm. Winters on the peninsula can be harsh, as storms come up from the south and down from the slopes of the Ironfist Mountains.
RainfallEditKeledon's weather tends to be very wet, especially as the peninsula is bounded on three sides by the ocean. Part of the kingdom receive up to a meter of precipitaion a year, a great deal of it being in the winter snows. The higher regions of the the realm, such as the Haft, North and South Avendur, and parts of the Marches are subject to ferocious winter storms that bring with them freezing rain and deep snows that, once fallen, tend to remain until the warmer days of spring arrive.
Spring itself is characterized by a large amount of rain; when combined with melting snow this can sometimes create a flood risk in parts of the land. Spring waters the land well, and gives way to summers which are hotter and usually much drier. Beginning with the second harvest, in early autumn, rains begin to fall again, though not as frequently as in spring, until winter arrives again.
The kingdom of Keledon is a monarchy, ruled and governed under the authority of the king of queen of the realm. The ruling monarch oversees and rules the kingdom with the aid of the King's or Queen's Council.
The entire land is divided into twelve provinces, or Reaches, each of which is ruled by one of the kingdom's Great Houses. Each House maintains its position as a representative of the Crown, and is sworn and honor bound to it. Within each Reach, the ruling House has unrestricted power and authority, so long as it does not interfere with Royal right, prerogative or edict. Each of the Great Houses, in turn, holds authority over Major and Minor Houses within its Reach, and the lands over which they rule. For example, House Glynn rules the village and surrounding lands of Wolf's Rock. Those lands are part of the holdings of the Major House Rithyr. So the members of House Glynn swear loyalty and fealty to House Rithyr. Rithyr's lands are within the Reach of Abrethed, that is, the Dalelands, so they swear loyalty to House Ebethar, which rules that Reach. Minor Houses may offer some of their holdings to a knight in heir service, further dividing their lands. House Ebethar, in turn, swears loyalty to the Crown. Thus, through a chain of allegiances, political power in the kingdom is concentrated and united in the monarch. Peasants do not own land; instead they live on land owned by a noble House, and pay their rent through taxed crops and labour. In exchange, their lord is required to offer them protection and security.
A legal system exists alongside the multi-layered system of lords and commoners. Minor matters, such as disputes concerning property lines, market issues, and so on are generally handled by local Druids, who serve as common magistrates. Greater offenses, including theft, murder, rape, desertion and so on, are tried before the local Lord; higher ranking nobility may assert their privilege and oversee a case. For example, a horse thief captured in the lands of House Rithyr is tried. House Ebethar, is it so chose, could take over arbitration of the case.
Defendants are entitled to a trial by jury for all serious offenses--those that cannot be settled by a Druid. The jury is not required to be composed of the defendant's peers (that is, members of the same social class). Such noble rights, such as a trial by combat, do not exist in Keledon, as they do in Akaryth, Sitadori, Matlisan, or other kingdoms dominated by the High Path. Duels may occur among knights to settle non-legal grievances. Nobles may, however, opt for a trial by Druids, in which a triumvirate of Druids forms a judgment based on their own wisdom and investigation.
Keledonian law applies to all peoples in the kingdom, including the nobility and visitors. The Queen does not extend any form of diplomatic immunity to visitors. Outright slavery is illegal in the kingdom, as are rape, theft, murder and other such crimes. Openly wearing or carrying a sword within the capital or other major population centers is illegal for those not legally entitled to such a weapon (such as soldiers, nobles, knights and so forth). There is no legal difference between men and women, nor is there a strong current of sexism within common society. At the noble level there is sometimes a sense of a woman's worth being in her ability to cement alliances through marriage and progeny. The kingdom encourages foreign trade and so strictly punishes any sort of economic crime.
The law is based largely in a combination of ancient tribal traditions; the reforms of Sothar and some who followed him; and Alindorean-derived operative frameworks in the spheres of economics, property and inheritance. The Crown is the highest legal authority in the land, but the highest echelons of the Druids carry great authority in both religious and legal matters.
Druids form the majority of local magistrates outside of major cities; low nobles and upper middle class educated men and women usually fill the role within cities. Punishments for crimes are usually fair; crimes such as rape, murder, treason and sedition carry the death penalty. The monarch has the absolute ability to pardon or condemn anyone at whim; the nobles, while bound by the law, are also bound to enforce it within their own lands. Country justice tends to be restorative (righting the wrong) while city justice is punitive (punishes).
The following crimes are punishable by death:
- Attempted Murder
- Engaging in slavery (note a foreign visitor may bring their slaves, but may not engage in buying or selling human beings. Queen Heulyn has been known to free the slaves of visiting dignitaries).
- Violating one of the Three Enclaves
- Killing a white stag outside Endless Day.
Other crimes can be punished through amputation of a hand (theft; repeated assault); time in prison (assault and battery, robbery); or time in the stocks (slander, petty theft, etc).
Among Nobles, trial by Druid may be demanded in place of the more familiar trial by jury. In this case, a trio of Druids is called upon to make a judgment based on both their individual reason and divination. Trial by combat is not a legal right in Keledon as it is in Akaryth, but knights have been known to settle personal disputes through such duels.
The Queen maintains a military force, as do most nobles with the land and resources to afford it. Law prohibits nobles from raising forces greater than a certain percentage of their lands' population with the exception of war times or special levies placed by the monarch. Most peasants have some martial skill, and can be considered 0-level warriors, as popular sports and games are usually physically competitive. Various orders of knighthood exist in the kingdom and several of them are military in nature. All of these orders report to the monarch or her appointed representative, with the exception of the Knights of the Griffon, who always report to the king or queen alone. Warrior knights serve as heavy troops and battlefield commanders in serious conflicts. The forces maintained by Houses tend to be much smaller in peacetime than in times of war.
Keledon's soldiers tend to be fairly well disciplined and skilled with shortswords, pole arms and bows. Of course, specialization exists within the ranks. The Queen maintains several keeps throughout the kingdom, usually staffed with her own troops and providing her with a ready source of information.
PeopleEditThe people of Keledon vary widely in appearance. In the northern parts of the kingdom blond and red hair are common, as are light eyes. The southern parts feature brown and black hair and darker eyes. In the west both blond and brown hair is common, as are brown, blue and green eyes. There is enough travel and intermarriage within the kingdom to make these descriptions approximate at best.
Clothing varies from area to area, with some favoring bright colours and other muted; some areas prefer specific cuts to others and different materials. Wool clothing is common in the northern areas but cotton rules in the southern. Outside the cities people tend to congregate in small agricultural or pastoral communities. Most communities are host—or have access-to a druid, who serves as a local magistrate and healer. Most Keledoni people celebrate festivals associated with changing seasons and agricultural cycles.
Bards are also held in high esteem among the Keledoni. The terms 'minstrel' and 'bard' have different meanings in Keledon. In the kingdom's reckoning, a minstrel is a traveling entertainer, while a Bard has a similar profession, but as trained for a period of time with the Druids, learning lore, and wisdom. The common person is not literate and therefore enjoys song and tale to the exclusion of other forms of entertainment. Most country people are fairly fun-loving but also industrious and clever.Marriages are causes for celebration but are often taken on for economic as well as romantic reasons. Polygamy is not accepted within the kingdom.
The dead are remembered during harvest time, and are honored out of fear, reverence and respect.
Religion (Main Article)Edit
The Keledoni people follow a religious tradition rooted in their legends, songs, tales and myths. There are major myths that everyone in the kingdom knows--such as that of King Sothar, who founded the realm--and local ones found everywhere.
The Keledoni believe there are two worlds--the physical one we see every day, and the Otherworld, often called the 'world through the mists', the 'Grey Realm', 'the Land Behind' or, simply, the Grey. Within the Grey there are distinct realms, such as the elemental ones. Gods, spirits and heroes live in these different realms. The two worlds are not firmly divided, and things can slip back and forth between them if they know how. The Grey holds a central role in Keledoni myths and beliefs.
There are several sacred days celebrated each year in great festivals. Solstices and equinoxes (first days of each season) are venerated, as are two others. The first is held in mid-May when Spring has truly taken hold of the land. The second is celebrated in two parts--at first harvest and then again at last harvest. The Druids themselves celebrate a few additional days sacred to the priesthood but less so to the laymen.
Keledoni religion does not require specific rituals or acts be carried out by regular followers. There are many local traditions found throughout the land, but folklore forms part of daily life, not a religion that can be celebrated separately.
Among the common people Druids are held in high regard and serve as arbitrators, healers, soothsayers and guardians of wisdom and history. The monarch of the kingdom cannot legitimately occupy the throne without the blessing of the Druids, who alone are empowered to perform the rites of kingship that make a monarch.
There are several major sacred sites within the kingdom such as Capel Derwydd, Draoi Vale and the Whitestag. Stone circles and other megalithic-style sites are found scattered throughout the country side.
The Keledoni druids have had a long tradition of friendship with the Ashani, and the four-fold elemental scheme central to druidry was learned from the Ashani over a thousand years ago.