Dalaborn receives the nickname of the Sword of the Empire, and many consider it a military state because of the large percentage of soldiers who are part of its population as well as the numerous guards who march through its streets.
The principality covers a vast and diverse territory. In its western part are located the Mountain Range of the Winds, that close off its border with Alberia and Galgados, while in the east there are great plains with sparse forests. The flora is Mediterranean, but with many native species that are unique to the principality. The climate tends to be cold and in the west it is common to have large snowfalls during the winter.
Dalaborn is not a very rich principality and its inhabitants have become accustomed to simple living, taking only what they need. Nevertheless, although their livestock farming, agriculture and industry are not very prosperous, the nation receives great contributions from Abel to finance its armed forces and to make sure that the people living there do not suffer any need. It does not have great goods factories or guild groups either, so the only notable thing about them are their forges and weapons factories, since they take advantage of their greatest natural resource: the iron and steel mines of its mountain ranges.
Although a prince has governed Dalaborn since it was established as a nation, the Lord of War that watches over the heart of the Empire holds the true power there, because not only does he control practically all the armed forces of the principality, but he also has ample judicial prerogatives. Traditionally all the princes of the Vale dynasty, governors of Dalaborn, are also great generals at the service of a Lord of War (often some of them have also obtained that title in the past). The principality also has an enormous number of fortresses pertaining to Thadeus Kisdain’s armies, over which nobody else, not even prince Vale, has power.
The area is full of small cities constructed inside military bastions, called city-fortresses, and in the entire land there is only one great metropolis, its capital Eron.
The principality possesses a powerful army supported by the private troops of many feudal lords. The soldiers of Dalaborn not only receive exceptional training, but they are exceptionally equipped for any contingency, which makes them one of the most effective armed forces in the world. Additionally, located in the principality are also thousands of soldiers of Thadeus Kisdain, which reinforces the military power of the area even more.
Dalaborn currently breathes a belic atmosphere and its people see possible war fronts everywhere. After several invasions by tribes of Goldar on its eastern borders, prince Vale has reinforced the defenses by placing a great number of armed divisions in the area, soldiers anxious to receive the orders to take the neighboring principality for the Empire once again. They also keep a close watch on the Coast of Commerce and its recent attempts to incite a rebellion against Abel in Helenia. Nevertheless, its greatest enemy is without a doubt Togarini, who they see as the most serious threat against the stability of the Sacred Holy Empire.
Everyone fears that war is on the horizon.
Culture and Society
Dalaborn is a principality that has become accustomed to a difficult life from the beginning. Its inhabitants are not given to luxuries or pompous ostentations, preferring practical and permanent things. Their famous city-fortresses, immense bastions constructed in metal and stone that rise through the entire territory, are a perfect example.
The great majority of its population is made up of farmers and ranchers, but followed very closely by the soldiers. From an early age, young men learn the use of weapons and receive special military training. The male population is forced to serve a year in the army of the principality when turning twenty and, if they wish it, women can also enlist with the same rights and duties as men.
Religion holds an importance for the common people but, as busy as they normally are, they are not given to remarkable conduct in the name of Church. It is one of the few principalities that hinders the freedom of the Inquisition in favor of Tol Rauko, with whom its governors maintain many ties with.
While the bourgeoisie are fairly inexistent in Dalaborn, the military nobility plays a predominant role in society and normally the army ranks are comparable to the noble titles. The principality has a deeply rooted feudal structure, and each one of its regions or city-strength is governed by a nobleman who shows his absolute control within his region. Each one has a small personal army that receives his taxes and, within certain imperial prerogatives, dictates his own law.
The Honor Duels
The tradition of Dalaborn’s nobility grants them the vindication of lost honor through personal combat. In order to keep one of these duels from ending in further revenge plots, a series of limitations must apply to their celebration. First, the offended must explain the offense in a public place and name the one responsible, as well as demand revenge in the form of a duel. The weapons may be cavalry lances or any hand-to-hand weapon that can be acquired. The duels usually stop after being knocked down, although the more serious offenses can end in death. The combats always take place in the aptly named Hills of Honor, on the outskirts of the most important cities. Naturally, nobody is forced to accept a duel, but anyone that refuses to do it will be considered a coward. If the offended is an old man, a boy, a disabled person or a lady, they may name a champion to fight for their honor. This right also applies to the offender.
In time of war, the honor duels are considered illegal and any non-authorized duel is punished with exile.
Thadeus Kisdain has been the most powerful and important Lord of War of this generation. An old bearded imperial referee in the service of Elias, he backed him during the coup d’etat against Lascar Hawke and later obtained the title that belonged to his lord. During those years, he was admired for his intelligence, political shrewdness and ingenious covert maneuvers, which allowed him to maintain absolute control of his dominions without causing unnecessary bloodshed. A loving family man, he had two adopted children: Exodus Kisdain, who he raised from boy, and Donoban, who was almost an adult when he lent him his family name.
From the arrival of Eljared to her ascension as Supreme Archbishop, Thadeus was always against her due to the dark influence that she had on his old friend. When the Emperor ordered him to attack the territories of the South, Thadeus refused to obey the order and his station was temporarily replaced by Exodus, remaining locked up until the Breach of Heavens. When everything finished, Thadeus quickly recovered the control of his armies and unconditionally supported Adelina as the heir of the imperial throne, being the first in recognizing her as Empress.
Despite his old age, Thadeus represents a key piece in the stability of the Empire today, since its military power is the greatest in Gaia. As personal advisor of Adelina, he has an enormous influence on her, and is worried about her refusal to attack Azur, although even he no longer wants to see any more bloodshed. What troubles him most at the moment is the destiny of his children, since both disappeared during the Breach of Heavens and he has no idea where they could be.
Regarding the Supernatural
The great majority of the Dalaborn people are prepared for the supernatural in some ways, but that does not mean that they do not fear it or that they openly accept the mystical powers. Centuries ago they were forced to fight for their lives with the infinite beasts that populated their lands hunting men, which is why today many still hold standing grudges over those events. Therefore, people generally believe that the forces of the occult only cause destruction, death and pain to man. The only unexplainable thing which they show a tolerance towards is unusual combat ability, like the Ki Dominions, because on more than one time they have seen them executed by agents of the Empire or the Lord of War. Nevertheless, people do not necessarily see them as divine gifts, but as skills developed through hard work and training.
Even so, whom ever makes a grand display of supernatural abilities will possibly be considered a wizard or a demon, and will very likely end up in the hands of Tol Rauko or, with any luck, in the custody of one of the agents of the Lord of War.
The History of Dalaborn
Before of the formation of the Sacred Holy Empire, the entire area of Dalaborn was an amalgam of proud rider clans who lived free and independent. From time to time, the factions fought amongst each other or they found themselves forced to defend against an endless plague of supernatural beasts that teemed through the valleys, but with the arrival of the Murohan, a great Jayan tribe that wanted to settle their lands, it wasn’t long before people rallied together against a powerful common enemy. Accustomed to the constant fighting and war, the appearance of the Messiah and later the formation of the Holy Kingdoms unified the territory as a powerful nation equipped with an impressive army. When Judas initiated its offensive, Dalaborn’s soldiers were the only army among all mankind’s forces that were able to temporarily stop the enemy’s advance. Sadly, in spite of their martial mastery and their exceptional training, since they lacked the same supernatural abilities they feared, their soldiers would eventually be overwhelmed. Nevertheless, it was precisely in Dalaborn where Aeolus Hawke, destined to become the first Emperor, would reunite his broken armies and reroute the offensive that would finally end the War of God.
Governed by the Lord of War Sergei Vale, Dalaborn joined the forces of Abel in 227, and was one of the main supporters in the consolidation of the Sacred Holy Empire years later. In that chaotic time, with thousands of beasts and monstrous creatures destroying everything everywhere, a chain of city-fortresses was built to guarantee the security of the population and to have a line of defense against a possible attack from the north. Fifty years of absolute martial law and the continuous spilling of blood were necessary for a lasting peace, a period during which the nobility stood out because of its military nature.
After two centuries of relative tranquility, in 516 Dalaborn faced one of its greatest catastrophes in history. A long drought ruined most of the harvests, which gave rise to a famine and a strong discontent among the people. The nobles continued levying taxes, in spite of the country folk not being able to pay them in any way. In many cases, physical punishments were put into practice and even some executions. That ended in a revolt so massive that it could not be quelled. In just a few days, several fortresses were either conquered or destroyed, and soon the rebels prepared themselves to charge against the capital. Everything coincided with the second rise of Lannet and Shivat, which is why the Empire, as much as the Lord of War, paid little attention to these events. Prince Arkandy Vale, who was on the shores of Shivat, heard the news of the revolt and was forced to return to his lands as quickly as possible. Also, given the proud nature of the nobles of Dalaborn, he refused to request aid from the Emperor or the Lord of War. Although the peasant army exceeded 100,000 men and the prince’s army was barely 30,000 soldiers, the rebellion was squashed. However, Arkandy was impressed by the incredible passion of the rebels and interrogated the leaders of the rebellion, discovering the extreme circumstances that had made them revolt. Without a moment to lose, he acted accordingly and ordered the execution of ten powerful nobles that had brought suffering to the people. Since then, the military nobility consolidated as the supreme rulers of the principality under strict supervision of the Lords of War.
Dalaborn armies supported the rise of Elias Borges and his later appointment as Sacred Holy Emperor. Having been the Lord of War of their lands, the Dalaborenses felt a certain affinity towards him, aside from the fact that his wife Iliya was a native of the principality. Therefore, during the insurrection caused by the actions of Eljared, Dalaborn not only remained faithful to the Empire, but also supported it militarily.
Nowadays prince Edgar Vale governs the principality, although the one who wields true power over the region is the Lord of War Thadeus Kisdain. Dalaborn, that keeps its strong military skills sharp, has become a key element to the Empire’s safety and stability. Its inhabitants, just as those of Abel, support the Empress; although many of them secretly fear that a little girl will not able to keep the peace. Vale, disciple and unconditional follower of the Lord of War, aspires to be deserving of his teacher’s title someday and has sworn to protect Adelina with his life if necessary.
Relevant Geographical Features
Dalaborn is a region with great geographical diversity, in which massive mountains as well as great green prairies are gathered. Unfortunately, its northern coast is full of mountain ranges, which prevents the construction of important ports or a stable commerce by sea.
The Mountain Range of the Winds (Eastern area): The legendary Mountain Range of the Winds is, without a doubt, one of the greatest and steepest mountain masses in the entire Old Continent. It extends miles throughout the principalities of Dalaborn and Galgados as a near insurmountable natural barrier. Although perhaps its eastern area is the most accessible, the mountains are still extremely high and steep, which makes it very difficult for them to be settled. Even so, since they contain enormous quantities of iron and black steel, many villages and mines have been built into the side of some mountains, where they extract the valuable metals.
People tell hundreds of shocking stories about the Mountain Range of the Winds and the dark dwellers that lived there in the past. Unfortunately, the reality behind some of these tales is more frightening than the legend. In ancient times, during the Age of Chaos, a large-scale war engulfed the area. Cities, perhaps even entire civilizations, were buried under rubble beside an endless number of monstrous aberrations. Many of these entities were sealed, but not destroyed, in the depths of the mountains; until the agents of Rah freed some of them during the War of God.
Even today, the entrails of the mountain range hide relics of past eras, lost cities with supernatural protections and horrific nameless entities that wait, slumbering, to be set loose in the world once more. Who knows if the excavations in a particular mine will yield dire consequences for mankind too horrible to imagine…
Plains of Eibron: The enormous flatlands of Dalaborn, split in two by the Anluin River, are called the plains of Eibron. Except for some small forests, the region is practically level. It is here where the famous city-fortresses of the principality are scattered. In the past, during the days the Empire was founded, terrible battles against beasts and monsters were held, which many villages of the area still remember.
The Anluin River: The Anluin is the only large river that crosses the principality. Its tributaries spring from the eastern part of the Mountain Range of the Winds and flows into the North Sea through the Plateau of Argadas. Because of the coastal mountains, the Anluin has become an important transit route for commercial boats and small military ships.
Mountain Range of Zhoria (Eastern area): Although not so vast and steep as the Mountain Range of the Winds, Zhoria is a mountain mass that extends several miles into the territory of Dalaborn. The great majority of its peaks are so high that they are covered with snow year round. Centuries ago, the area was used as a colony by Solomon during its golden age, and its summits preserve the well hidden resting place of the Lost Logias ruins.
Plateau of Argadas: Located throughout the northern coast, the Plateau of Argadas is a gigantic plateau elevated about 1,300 feet above sea level that partially blocks the entrance to the principality. The raised area is very fertile, filled with fruit trees of all types, as well as a variety of wildlife. The only dangerous animal in the region is an enormous class of lizard called mesargadon that predominantly feeds on fruit, but with a territorial and violent temperament, might attack just about anything. The plateau is bisected by a wide and steep throat, through which the Anluin courses.
The Plain of a Thousand Thunderclaps: This immense plain is sited a few miles to the west of Eron, and is the location of the final battle between the rebels and the armies of prince Arkandy Vale. According to the chroniclers, its name comes from the heavy cavalry that charged the land and pounded it under the helmets of the animals as if the skies had unloaded a thousand thunderclaps on the battlefield. Several monasteries are built on it in memory of the fallen, and many knights visit the place in commemoration of those tragedies. There is a rumor going around amongst the country folk that on some moonless nights, the phantoms of ten executed nobles ride through the plain, looking for revenge on the descendants of those that caused their downfall.
Places of Interest
Dalaborn has a great collection of city-fortresses and a considerable number of small towns distributed all across its large plains.
(Town, Population 1,300+ )
Located on a slope of the Zhoria Mountains, in the dukedom of Dimah, Nikoleva is a community renown for the quality of its weapons and the master armorers who live there. The town, constructed in the mountains, is usually covered in snow throughout the year and in winter it is very difficult to travel there.
The most renown weapon forges in the whole Empire are located in Nikoleva, because in the last few years they have begun to combine their efforts in making modern arquebuses and matchlock pistols. Their production is still small, especially compared with the crafts of more conventional weapons, but the proximity of the Yellow Valley of Galgados and the sulfur that it contains is keeping its research and development advancing steadily.
Nikoleva is governed by the old baron Kiryl Stefan who fought beside Elias Borges and whose only intention is to maintain peace and tranquility in the area. But the duke of Dimah, true lord of the area, has other plans for the master armorers, whom he wants to use to equip his personal army. A group of hooded bandits are the cause of many disturbances as of late and baron Kiryl, nearing his fifties, has to patrol the outskirts of the town with only a handful of men. Of course, the Duke plans to kill the veteran knight using the bandits as an alibi.
(Metropolis, Population 232,000+)
The last of the four “Guardian Angels of Abel” is the city-fortress of Ogara, generally known as the Scarlet Fort or the Iron Angel. It receives this unusual nickname for being constructed with garnet metals and vermilions, which in conjunction with its tall gothic constructions, gives it a certain majestic look as well as sinister. Ogara is possibly the most unbreachable fortification in the Empire and, many believe, the entire world. An old war bastion of Solomon, never has it fallen before any enemy forces. It is the only city in Dalaborn that survived the armies of Rah and also the place from which the counterattack of Aeolus was launched. Its colossal metallic walls over 25 feet high, forged with the principles of Soloman’s technomagic, are practically impassable by any means, even supernatural ones.
Currently the city is the main bastion of Thadeus Kisdain’s armies, and almost half of its citizens are troops in his service that pass the day practicing their combat exercises. A long tradition of military nobles make up the leading class in a place where the bourgeoisie has little or no power. The present leader of Ogara is the right hand man of Thadeus, the young general Yuri Olson, an impetuous man but with an unsurpassable talented on the battlefield.
The Scarlet Fort is known to have an intricate and modern sewer system, comparable only to the one in Archangel. This is because it is also an inheritance from the times of Solomon and, in the entrails of the city, remains of the Lost Logias can be found. That’s why the agents of the Empress are undergoing secret investigations there, trying to analyze the true power of the remnants.
(City, Population 24,000+)
The city-fortress Pernov is the most eastern fortification in the entire principality, which serves as the last line of defense against Goldar’s borders. Constructed on an elevated plain and protected behind its great walls, it is a vital stronghold characterized by its frozen climate and the constant snowfalls that whip it all year long. In the last few months , Pernov has encountered a series of surprise invasions from the Skuling Clan of Goldar, which have not only robbed them of several weapon shipments, but have also devastated the small village of Svat, just a few miles south of Pernov. The death toll has weakened the spirits of many nobles who assure that the “savages”, as they call them, used strange trained beasts in their attacks. In order to secure the border, prince Edgar Vale has transferred an armed division to Pernov, but there are some who see this act more as a possible offensive against Goldar than a simple defense measure.
The present marshal of the city is Duchess Illylaya Knobel, an intolerant woman who wishes to avoid a war at whatever cost, but who is not willing to witness the massacre of her people either. Illylaya is accustomed to dealing with the supernatural, since she has crossed paths with several mystical entities throughout her life. Currently, she secretly has a romantic relationship with archmage Elliot Golead, who in spite of his hatred for politics, tries to help his loved one in any way he can. Publically, Elliot is but a rich eccentric who lives in the wealthiest part of the city. The Magus Order and the Order of Yehudah have tried to get him to join their ranks for a while now, but for now, the powerful spellcaster has not shown the slightest interest in any of them.
(Metropolis, Population 493,000+)
Eron is the immense capital of Dalaborn, an impressive city that extends several miles through the Eastern plains of the principality. It began as a small town built at the banks of the Anluin River, but it grew rapidly until becoming a prosperous expansive city. Acknowledging the favorable climate and the growing importance there, in the year 463 prince Sergei Vale transferred the capital to Eron, investing great sums of money to transform it into the formidable metropolis that it is today. Constructed in eight independent sections with walls that reach several levels high, the city is a masterpiece of military engineering that can close off any one of its eight districts to prohibit all types of attacks on the others, and thus imprison the attacker in a mousetrap. Filled with forges, the hundreds of smoke columns that leave the chimneys of the factories can be seen miles away, giving Eron the appearance of a smokey grey mountain encased in metal.
Each one of the city’s sections has an enormous castle, governed by a high member of the nobility who administrates and organizes the neighboring districts. Of these two are notable, the formidable Castle of Nowe and the fortress of the Sword King. The first is the home of Thadeus Kisdain, who divides his time staying here with the one that he has in Archangel, whereas the second is the official residence of prince Edgar Vale, who is also the city’s ruler.
Remarkably, Eron is also one of the few great metropolises that have allowed the Templars of Tol Rauko to construct a conclave inside their walls, who use it as a base of operations in the principality. The members of Samael are uncomfortable with it, but strangely, the Templars pay very little attention to them, practically ignoring them. Why, nobody knows for certain.
(Fortress, Population 5,000+)
The Garrison Stronghold is the place where the Empire train the Unicorn Wolves, the elite heavy cavalry of Dalaborn, called thus by the metal horn on the heads of their armored mounts. The training here is rigorous and only the best riders and soldiers have the chance to enter. Not one of the Unicorns has been accepted by recommendation; all of them have achieved it on their own merit. People say that the knights’ armor repels arrows as if they were mosquitos, and their swords cross the enemy rows like a scythe that harvests the wheat.
The Stronghold is located near the intersection of Alberia and Galgados, very isolated from any population. Wandering around in the neighboring areas is prohibited without the proper authorization, and lost people have the risk of being accused of espionage and being taken prisoner in the castle’s cells to await a predictable verdict. The security is extremely tight, and it is rumored that the fort has even had knights of the Heaven Order as guardians. Actually; the Empire is using it for the research and development of several experimental weapons based on the Lost Logias.
(Fortress, no known inhabitants)
Located on the outskirt of the Mountain Range of Winds, Castle Deniesil is an ancestral fortress that was left vacant in year 972. A strange plague descended on it and all its inhabitants died in a matter of days. After the tragedy, several scientists went to verify the effects of the plague, only to finish infected themselves and then die a few days later. Afraid of spreading the plague, prince Vale quarantined the castle. Since then, Deniesil has remained guarded by a small group of Tol Rauko that keeps monitoring the fortress from a few miles. The Templars have tried to infiltrate inside on one occasion, but that cost them so many lives that they lost all desire to attempt it again. Black Sun has a strong interest in what could have caused this plague, because some of the writings that were recovered indicate that the lord of the castle found something while working in its cellars. The nature of what it might be intrigues both organizations.
(City, Population 36,000+)
Leena is the most important harbor city in Dalaborn, because it takes advantage of the opening that the Anluin has in the Plateau of Argadas to comfortably link the coast with the interior of the principality. For that reason, Leena has become an important commercial nexus overseas, having developed a rich market and passage of transit for the retailers. Another reason of its relevance is that, being the only port near The Barren Icy Lands, most fishermen and retailers of those regions use it as front door to the Empire. They commonly export sealskins and whale meat, both which are considered to be of the most exquisite quality. Possibly, Leena is the only city of the principality in which the bourgeoisie has true power, almost comparable to the nobility. In the past few years some wealthy merchants have worked in the city who settled down artillery companies which, although to a smaller rate than in Kanon, grow quickly. After the conflicts that caused the fragmentation of the Empire, the port is visited by many mercenary groups looking for a patron to serve and sailors of the north lands resting between trips.
Other Settlements: Sendel, Sillermay, Rakvara, Taranov, Tzer, Shkar.