The principality of Galgados, also called the Country of Valleys, is a valuable member of the Sacred Holy Empire. The vast area that the principality is composed of finds itself isolated from the rest of the continent by two great practically impenetrable mountain chains, the Mountain Range of the Winds and the one of Zhoria. The only passage between both formations is the Passage of Hecate, which is also the capital of the principality. In its interior, Galgados is filled with dozens of fruitful valleys, separated from each other by plateaus and mountains of little elevation. Whereas the vegetation in the mountainous zone is scarce, that is to say practically nonexistent, the valleys enjoy a full fertile ground of rich meadows and green forests. Unfortunately, the climate is quite adverse for its people, since the strong winds that come from the Torn Coast whip the territory due to its steep geography.
Galgados is a self-sufficient principality, whose valleys, rich in agriculture and breeding, produce enough food to live without worry. Nevertheless, given its great difficulties to export materials from the interior, commerce is poor and it is almost limited to small amounts of iron and steel extracted from the mountains mines. All these minerals usually are purchased by Dalaborn, which uses them to forge weapons. Because of its complex geographic structure, the territory does not have the need for large armies. Each valley is limited to a few guards for its own security, being that the only great concentration of soldiers in the principality guards the Passage of Hecate. Even so, if a combined army was necessary, the viceroy (a title that is equivalent to the one of prince) could call to arms the soldiers of the valleys, which undoubtedly represent a considerable force.
The governmental system follows the guidelines common to Abel. The viceroy is in the peak of power and periodically meets with the mayors and delegates of the inner valleys.
Despite the apparent calm that reigns, the political situation is presently quite tense after the death of Victor Daorland, the previous viceroy. The problem is that his three children, the young Marina and the twins Karlson and Frederic, dispute the control of Galgados savagely. The situation is arduous since it was never exactly settled which of the two brothers was the successor, and Marina, the eldest daughter, now says that she has the same right to the crown that the Empress Adelina had when she claimed the imperial throne.
Culture and Society
You could say that the society of Galgados, apart from the common traditions of the Empire, is quite varied, since each one of valleys typically has its own customs and uses. These are people who live in a serene and quiet manner, accepting life with a smile and always trying to see the positive side of the things… even when things seem to go wrong. Accustomed to the rural environment, the social structure of Galgados doesn’t see significant differences from the bourgeoisie, the clergy and the common folk. Even the wealthiest businessmen of the region are only people privileged by money, and do not consider themselves that much different from common citizens. The nobility also tends to be of low lineage, and usually live in the villages and small cities as overseers and mayors. Only the most important of the aristocracy has its own independent castles, although never located too far from the people that they govern.
The religion is considered something whose goal is to bring out the best person inside of everyone, which is why Alkavian faith is seen in a brighter light. The Church does not have a very structured hierarchy of power in the region, and in every valley there are only a few local parish priests who are generally important members of the community in which they live.
Although there are several cities scattered throughout the valleys, the most common are the smaller towns and villages. In fact, there is only one large metropolis in Galgados, its capital Hecate.
Because of its extreme geography, Galgados sees very few visitors, so its people are not accustomed to dealing with foreigners. Even so, they tend to be very hospitable, and are always interested in listening stories from the outside, which they feel very disconnected from.
For nearly a year, the various supporters of the three heirs to the position of viceroy have caused a certain tension in town. Things are still far from confrontational, but the uneasiness continues to rise.
Without a doubt one of the most showy, and at the same time outlandish, elements of the Galgados culture are the windriders, great devices that allow the people of the valleys to take to the skies using the airflows as if they were sailing on enormous oceans.
In fact, the windriders do not properly fly, but are sent down from high places, lifting themselves by strong winds and gliding down from one place to another. Those that use them are called Riders of the Wind and people see them with admiration. There is not a single boy of the valleys who has not occasionally dreamed of streaking through the sky like them when he grows up, so children are always practicing with their comets, the more popular toy of Galgados. The most expert riders are even able to dominate the airflows and remain aloft in the skies for several hours, thus crossing enormous distances. For many, to let themselves be taken up by the bursts next to the flight of birds is an act of extreme freedom.
These devices are true works of art in the science of aerodynamics, constructed using light metals and resistant silks, treated with various compounds to give them firmness. Most of the people of valleys don’t know the origin of these apparatuses or from where the idea of its creation arose. The masterful craftsmen who make them just know that their parents and their grandparents built the same thing that they do since they arrived in the valleys. Some old legend that speaks of “The Windknights” tells how centuries back, even before of the birth of Abel, the old settlers of the valleys taught the first inhabitants of Galgados how to create them.
The windriders have many uses, from taking parcels to the post office and messages from one place to the other, to commerce on a small scale. In this way, many isolated valleys by mountains can all theoretically communicate with the outside.
Regarding the Supernatural
Unlike other principalities, which think that things like magic or the supernatural are the stuff of fairy tales, many people in Galgados know that the old myths are real. The cause is the great ruins that citizens find in the old valleys from time to time, or the unexplainable things that some of them witness when they least expect it. Given such developments, the wisemen usually say that the supernatural are “ancient powers” and that the best thing to do is to leave them be.
The people of valley distrust anyone who displays supernatural abilities of any kind, whether magic, psychic or Ki, but they will not automatically regard it as “demonic”. In contrast, they will consider what the use is and the consequences, beneficial or harmful, that such powers bring. Anyway, if they realize that someone is a source of problems, they will ask that person or people to leave as soon as they can and get as far away as far as possible.
The History of Galgados
Long ago, even before the establishment of the Holy Kingdoms or the coming of the Messiah, all the land that Galgados now covers comprised the western Sylvain nations, the same ones that fought against the Primeval Gods during the Age of Chaos and confined them inside of the Mountain Range of the Winds. Unfortunately, the natural protection of the area did them little good against the floating fortresses of the Duk´zarist when the War of God erupted. After being virtually wiped out and having their cities destroyed, the valleys were repopulated by human refugees who sought the safety and security that the mountains afforded them. Some had lived in the region centuries ago welcomed by the Sylvain, whereas others crossed The Passage of Hecate from the great plains of the continent. These settlers founded hundreds of villages, some of which quickly grew into large communities. Each valley, separated from the others, lived and developed independently for a long period of time, fending off the attacks of thieves and plunderers.
The armies of Abel initiated first contact with the territory in the year 229, leaving a contingent of soldiers in the Passage of Hecate, but preferring not to travel too far into the valleys. It would not be until more than seventy years later, in the year 301, when they finally burst in into Galgados with the intent of annexing it to Abel. By that time some valleys had already formed into small kingdoms, which did not appreciate being forced into a union with an unknown power. However, despite the friction and initial problems, the union of the principality went peacefully after discovering the great advantages that would accrue to them. The greatest and most powerful of the monarchs received the title of viceroy (equivalent to the prince of Galgados), whereas the rest adopted the aristocratic titles of dukes or counts with extensive control over their own territories. Many valleys took years to learn of the existence of the Empire (it is possible that some towns even today, are ignorant of the existence of Abel).
During the following centuries, Galgados peacefully prospered by taking advantage of the benefits that the Empire granted them in legal, economic and security issues. The viceroy moved the capital to the city of Hecate, from where he controlled the various valleys using the fast postal service the Riders of Winds provided to him. The only major incident occurred in the year 678, when the peaceful valley of Adalia took up arms and launched a surprise attack against the neighboring communities. Led by Duke Heinz Herzerg, the assailants, who acted like madmen possessed, advanced for one week devastating everything in their path, without the slightest sign of fatigue or mercy. They were finally defeated by a coalition of the viceroy’s armies and the Lord of War (along with a few Templars of Tol Rauko, which became interested in the events for no apparent reason), although not before they destroyed several villages. Since then, things have returned to the normal peace, and those events are reduced to a fleeting nightmare that nobody wishes to remember.
Galgados has completely ignored the events that have lead to the fragmentation of the Empire, having sided with Abel at all time. However, the viceroy’s death has forced the prince into a dangerous political situation for the succession of the crown, which appears to have no easy solution. At the moment, it remains an internal matter of which of the three potential heirs will finally be occupying their father’s seat at the throne, but a few voices have requested the intervention the Empress to solve the crisis. Although so far it hangs undecided, with waning hope, everyone waits for a resolution without being forced to make this decision.
The Three SuccesorsEdit
The internal conflict between the three heirs for the control of Galgados is definitely turning into a headache for everyone. Since none is willing to compromise, the situation has become really thorny.
Marina Daorland, the eldest of the three, is an attractive woman of twenty-five who firmly believes that she is entitled to the crown despite being woman. She studied at the Great University of Lucrecio, where she proved to possess great talent, especially for historical facts and the occult. Upon returning to Galgados, she became interested in the ruins scattered around the principality, and initiated several archaeological expeditions that caused her serious problems with Tol Rauko. After the death of her father, there were many who were shocked to hear her declare her intention to be the successor, although a large portion of people, who have a special affection towards her energetic personality and her attention to the citizens, supported her. Even without mastering the mystical arts herself, Marina believes that magic and mysticism are not evil, but phenomena that can lead man to a brighter future. Her objective is to take control of as many mystical devices and as much magical knowledge as possible, hopefully acquiring enough economic and politic power to persuade the Empress that she is the right choice for the succession of Galgados.
The twins, Frederic and Karlson, are as identical physically as they are different behaviorally. Both have just turned 22 years old and their blond hair and blue eyes give them the appearance of fairy tale princes. Karlson Daorland is cheerful, young and daring, always taking news with a smile on his lips. Yet he is as stubborn as a mule and believes that his sister is too immature to be a good ruler. Although he shares a very special bond with his twin brother and he thinks that his heart is good, he feels the sinister emotions hidden within Frederic and does not wish to see Him in power. His biggest hobby is to fly skies as a Rider of Winds, in which he is a true expert. Karlson receives the support of a few nobles that consider him their friend and the support of many people of valleys, where he spends many hours traveling from one side to the other.
By contrast, Frederic is cruel and manipulative. He desires rulership for the simple pleasure of making others obey him and has the support of many powerful nobles, who have either been bribed or threatened. Concerned that this is not enough, Frederic has secretly met with Matthew Fawkes, lord of Azur, and has vowed to support the Alliance if he can take succession of Galgados. Still waiting to take control of the principality without using force openly, Fredrick is planning to assassinate his sister Marine and frame his brother Karlson for the murder (whom he does not wish to see dead). Gaul has provided a significant number of supernatural agents and assassins to carry out his plan.
Marina suspected her brother is up to something due to a mysterious tip of mysterious origin, which is why she has strengthened her security by hiring bodyguards with supernatural abilities. Unknown to her, a mysterious third party has already thwarted an assassination attempt before it even began. In truth Marina’s “guardian angels” are a small squad of Wissenschaft Crows looking out for the safety of the young heir. Important members of the organization believe that it is a part in Grayson’s master plan to stifle the power of the Alliance and to delay any short-term offensives. In fact it is nothing more than an unusual whim of the Prince of Lucrecio (quite rare), because some time ago he met Marina and found her amusing. He intends to keep her alive in the future, just to see if she is able to accomplish everything that she has set out to do.
Relevant Geographical Features
Galgados is a land full of rugged mountains and broad valleys crowded together. Many geographers have spent years trying to draw accurate maps of the canyons and the passages, although there are still some discrepancies in their correlation and exact locations. Visitors say that the principality is a labyrinth, where it is very easy to get lost among the hidden pass and tunnels. Its coastline, which connects with the upper area of the Torn Coast, is virtually unworkable, so it has no major ports.
The Mountain Range of Zhoria (western Zone): The Mountain Range of Zhoria serves as a natural border in the southern part of Galgados, separating it from Arlan and Abel. Also known as the Mountain Range of the Eternal Snow, its peaks are often covered by ice all year round. There is an old legend that says when the winds are very strong, Zhoria blows snow into the valleys, creating a beautiful spectacle called the “Tears of the Mountain.”
The Mountain Range of the Winds (western Zone): The Mountain range of the Winds is placed in the north of Galgados. Extending further and higher than its eastern section, the strip is completely impassable even for the most experienced climbers. It is full of mineral resources, especially iron, which is often extracted to trade with Dalaborn.
The Mountain Range of Winds is also one of the places with the largest number of relics and ruins in all of Gaia. In several of the mountain peaks Erai Lahan have been raised (which means “stone seal” in the Sylvain tongue). They are massive marble and crystal constructions that enhance and protect the supernatural seals in the depths of rocks, keeping Primeval Gods dormant within them. To awaken any of these entities it is necessary to destroy first the Erai Lahan and then go into the Earth and destroy the seal itself. Tol Rauko has protected the great majority of these constructions, but there are also powerful mystical defenses within the earth.
The Yellow Valley: This place, a small valley of only a few square miles, is named for the large amount of sulfur emanating from several vents throughout the area. It cannot support animal life and it is impossible to remain in the place for an extended period of time, at the risk of being poisoned. The valley has remained empty for centuries holding no relevance for people, but after the discovery of gunpowder, it has begun to attract some merchants interested in bulk powder supplies. The truth is that in the depths of the valley lies a creature of enormous power, a fire elemental lord named Flammergger, who is anchored to some rocks that imprison him inside the earth. The core of its chains is a rock crystal that could fetch a crazy market price, but removing or destroying it would inevitably free the elemental.
The Gorge of Damnation: An apparently vulgar slope of area located between the valley of Luzt and Bremah, has become a very popular place since the appearance of large veins of gold that attract hundreds of treasure hunters. As the terrain is rugged with very steep slopes (some impassable), the accidents here are tragically common. At the less explored end of the gorge we can find the Throat of the Devil, a crevasse half a mile wide and of immeasurable depth. One false step near that dangerous gorge amounts to a fatal fall. There are also some rumors about enormous birds that fly out to the gorge at night and attack anyone foolish enough to stay out after sunset, but whether it is truth or just ancient legend, has never been proved.
The Caves of Wolfheim: This is an area near the valley of Bern, riddled with small caves. The place is rich in wildlife and plant resources, but very difficult to enter, so it is relatively untouched. The inner caves are an intricate maze nearly impossible to memorize. The dominant lifeform are the wolves; specifically, one class of highly intelligent wolf of supernatural origin, the My´hal, which is able to communicate with each other using some kind of mental link. The wolves do not fear the humans and know that they should never allow entrance to their home, because they understand what man could destroy their lifestyle. From time to time, a wolf cub gets adventurous in the caves and gets lost in the mountains, coming into contact with humans. The lucky ones end up as pets due to their high intelligence, but they always keep their instinctual urge to return home.
Valley of the Lake: This whole valley, near the Mountain Range of the Winds, is entirely flooded, forming an immense tranquil lake. The place is full of clean crystalline water, and is a very beautiful landscape that often attracts visitors. Sometimes, the Riders of the Wind fly over it, enjoying the exceptional view, considered one of most beautiful in all the Empire. Built on the mountainside down to the calm waters of the lake there is small but luxurious mansion, which traditionally acts as a summer residence and a place of retirement for the viceroys of Galgados. It is also common to hold receptions here for some of the most important authorities of the Sacred Holy Empire when they come to visit down in the Valleys.
Places of Interest
Galgados is the principality with the greatest amount of relics and ruins of Sylvain origin worldwide. It is not uncommon for each of its valleys to have at least a few remnants of past times, whether a simple ruin or something much greater.
(Metropolis, Population 153,000+)
Hecate, located in the passage formed by the Mountain Range of the Winds and The Zhoria Mountains, is the largest and the most important of all the cities in the principality. It became the capital in the year 501, when the viceroy moved there from Ospren. Because it is built on such an unusual site, Hecate has a very peculiar form. The city itself is very narrow but stretches over several miles, taking advantage of both walls of the gorge to build many houses. Architecturally recharged, it is divided into two main areas; the Passage of Stone Houses and the Hanging Houses.
The first is the part of town lodged into the earth between the two walls of the gorge, where the nobles and people with greater financial wealth reside. This is the area of excellent taverns, shops and other relevant places. Luxurious and ostentatious, the homes are extremely high (up to four or five floors), since they always try to make the most of their space.
In contrast, the poor men and the miners live in the Hanging Houses, large buildings of stone and wood, built along the walls of the gorge. Its structure, full of complex steps and bridges, sometimes becomes a labyrinth. In some places, the Hanging Houses directly connect to the mining zones.
Hecate is very busy, as anyone who wants to enter or leave Galgados is forced to pass through it. Although their main source of income is the metal extracted from the hundreds of mines that were built on both sides of the gorge, in recent years has experienced an economic boom, and many merchants have moved in to sell their products to travelers that visit there. By its nature, it is an impenetrable fortress that completely prevents any attack attempted on the principality, as in each one of its entrances, an enormous metal door blocks the passage.
The present lady of the city is Marina Daorland, although one of her two brothers, Karlson, also lives there. Marina resides in the tower of Tarth Lömen, a great Sylvain construction that presides over the entire city. Made with white marble, decorated with dove-shaped gargoyles and capped with a large dome with a beautiful statue of a woman who raises the arms to heaven, the place holds a curious resemblance to The Tower of the Winds.
According to the stories told, Hecate was built on the ancient ruins of a city that sank centuries ago. The strange remains discovered by miners while they excavated paths through the bowels of stone have confirmed this fact.
From the moment that the first mines in Hecate were excavated, there were several entrances to the peripheral area of the inner ruins called The Accesses. In view of the great benefits derived from its exploration, the viceroys of Hecate preferred to keep their existence secret. When the information became public a trade association of explorers, calling themselves The Seekers, was created, people who devoted themselves to exploring the ruins (which they called The Citadel) searching for the legendary treasures of past eras. As compensation, they could keep half of what they found. However, after strange disappearances, the existence of the Citadel could not be hidden from Tol Rauko, which sealed all the entrances and forced the monarch to enact severe laws against continued exploration.
Although nowadays The Seekers do not officially exist, the organization continues to act covertly. Many work on commission, either for wealthy nobles, Black Sun or Marina Daorland herself. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the characters could be hired to explore such strange ruins.
(Ghost Metropolis, Population Unknown)
The Citadel is the enormous tower that lays dozens and dozens of miles below the bowels of the earth in The Passage of Hecate. Over the course of centuries the true name or origin of the city was lost, but the vast majority of occultists who have visited it believe it is one of the greatest sunken cities of the Sylvain in the war against the Primeval Gods. In fact, the place is an ancestral Ebudan metropolis that soared the skies thousands of years ago, until the race was expelled from it.
The Citadel, shattered and lodged deep within the Earth, has fractured into several parts, making it impossible to access all of them from a single access. However, the buildings are kept in inexplicably good condition, so visitors may walk through its dark streets as if it were a gigantic labyrinth long forgotten. As if this were not enough, the place is dangerous as well. Formerly, it housed one of the greatest nodes of magic of its time, which became frighteningly twisted, inevitably corrupting its inhabitants. These beings, ancient Ebudan or older beings, perished ages ago, creating a legion of aberrant entities anchored to the gloomy city.
(Rural Community, Population 6,000+)
Siebenvolken is a thriving community comprised of seven neighboring valleys. Prosperous and self-sufficient, it is a true haven of peace and harmony. Although subject to the viceroy, in the communities the power is not hold by the nobility, but by a council composed of seven representatives, one from each valley, who must all be at least 60 years old. This odd tradition has two strange justifications; to ensure that its leaders have considerable life experiences and, since they don’t have much left in the world, to keep them from getting too greedy. For generations this system has been so effective that nobody’s judgment has ever been called into question. When a natural disaster strikes or the harvest is lost, the seven leaders usually order a series of appropriate well suited measures to mitigate the effects of the calamity.
Although they are not militaristic, bandits prefer to avoid Siebenvolken. This is because, for some unknown reason, the locals have a strange and unexplainable talent for fighting, and even young children, simply playing with wooden sticks, would be able to give several well-trained normal guards a beating.
The Ospren Valley
(City, Population 22,000+)
Once the capital of the principality, Ospren is an important city located in the central valley of Galgados, a majestic place with beautiful buildings of stone and wood, which could be considered the core of commerce with
the mainland. Almost all imports or exports pass thought this city. It’s said that a considerable number of strange people from other countries use to meet here. This is because Black Sun uses Ospren as a base of operations for its own Seekers and agents.
The current lord of the city is Duke Kelton Smilhaussen, a nice man loved by the villagers for his pleasant demeanor. Kelton openly lends his unconditional support to Frederic Daorland as viceroy, but that’s only because secretly Daorland has kidnapped his only daughter and threatens to kill her if he does not aid his ambition for power.
(Village, Population 300+)
Seemingly a simple village of isolated valleys, Hannelone is probably the largest remaining Sylvain community in all of Gaia. Endowed with great magical skills and a mastery of illusion specifically, its people have lived there for centuries as simple and peaceful valley dwellers, without anyone suspecting that not a single one of them is human. Although it is unusual, sometimes they visit the other villages to keep up appearances, but are always very reserved. They have managed to conceal their identity from Samael and even from the Templars of Tol Rauko, who have made visits to Hannelone in the past without suspecting anything unusual. The community leader is an ancient Sylvain queen named Marionneh Ul Del Liannes, a peaceful woman who only wants to live in harmony with others. The only problem that the people of Hannelone have is that some of the younger residents, more impulsive than their elders, want to leave the valley to explore the outside world. That is not to say that some of them have escaped from time to time, causing a considerable worry to their parents. And the fact that Kaithel Ul Del Liannes, the energetic daughter of Marionneh, is one of them, only foretells of more trouble for the people of Hannelone.
(Fortress, Population 6,000+)
In a place with a supernatural legacy as high as Galgados, it is only natural that Tol Rauko keeps a strong presence. Icarus is the base of operations for the Templars in the principality, the place from where they control and regularly monitor the safety of the ruins and the artifacts in these lands. This stronghold, equipped with powerful supernatural security, is built in a small central valley, which Tol Rauko paid for an exorbitant amount to the viceroy of Galgados centuries ago. The current lord of the fortress and the one responsible for the principality is Milton Droth, an elderly man who takes his work very much to heart, knowing the devastating impact of failure.
The Tower of Winds
(Building, Population 100+)
The Tower of Winds is a colossal white marble building just over a mile tall that crowns the Valley of Loid. It’s an ancient construction of Sylain origin that managed to remain miraculously intact. Currently the site has become the unofficial headquarters of the Riders of the Wind, who go there to compete, tell tales and to learn to how to soar the skies at the hands of the experts. It’s run by a small group of riders, many of them elderly, who are dedicated to training the young ones who travel there. The Tower has a number of places from which you can launch and, due to the strong winds that flow through The Valley of Loid, vast distances can be covered. It is said that from the highest terrace, known as The Door to the Sky, a truly skilled rider can cross all of Galgados in his Windrider.
The Tower of the Winds was formerly a temple of Uriel (the Ilakavir Aerevah Nul to the Sylvain), The Spirit of Freedom, and the site still inspires many young idealists today.
The Valley of Adalia
(Ghost City, Unpopulated)
Formerly a thriving and populous valley, following the military uprising that took place three centuries earlier, the city and its surroundings have been completely empty. The buildings, decrepit from years of disuse, are crumbling down, which gives the place a truly ghostly appearance. While decades ago a large group of nomads tried to repopulate the city, the Templars of Tol Rauko soon imposed their law there, prohibiting entrance to the valley. Since then very few have dared to venture there, and mysteriously, most have committed suicide or become dangerous psychopathic murderers.
Other Settlements: Falsten, Hemingen, Rievem, Sölliken, Renroth, Benken.