|Main Ethnic Groups:||Asher (95%), Sinner (3%), Aion (2%)|
|Government:||Monarchy (Imperial Principality)|
|Flag:||The effigy of Saint Helena on a field of corn|
|Masculine Names:||Ambrus, Antal, Bence, Demeter, Edvard, Gergely, Gazsi, Henrik, Janos, Konrad, Miksa, Samuel, Szilard, Tibor, Vencel, Vilhelm|
|Feminine Names:||Agnes, Annuska, Csilla, Edina, Gabriella, Gizella, Ildi, Kamilla, Mara, Panni, Rahel, Sarika, Szilvia, Terezia, Valeria|
|Last Names:||Abduvaliyev, Bakics, Demko, Guran, Hamori, Hara, Imanci, Kajetan, Kasnar, Maloros, Ordina, Telek, Vasary, Veligan, Wessely, Zavadsky, Zsoldos|
Helenia is a peaceful principality of farmers and agriculturists that has been a haven of peace for centuries. Located east of Abel; Goldar and Gabriel are its neighbors, two of the countries that have claimed their independence from the Sacred Holy Empire.
Most of the principality is made up of vast prairies, mountains of various sizes and one or two forests. Although its bordered by the Inner Sea, its coast is nearly impassable due to the steep mountain ranges and immense cliffs. The climate is warm and pleasant, with lovely sunny days and sufficient rainfall to assure rich vegetation. There are very few wild animals, but strangely enough, many kinds of livestock.
Located between the two greatest economic powers of the world, Abel and Gabriel, and being neighbors to the cultural cradle that is Ilmora, no politician quite understands why Helenia has not prospered commercially in these last few centuries. Its main source of income comes from the export of cereals, cotton and livestock to the neighboring principalities, especially to the Coast of Commerce, that buys more than half of Helenia’s annual production. Another one of its more successful businesses is the breading of horses, since its purebloods are recognized as the best in the world, comparable only to those of Baho. Because of their steep coasts, their marine exports and all commerce by sea is almost nonexistent.
Similar to imperial customs, the nation is governed by a prince, who has absolute control of the government, administration and laws. He meets annually with the union representatives and nobles to discuss the future of the region and impose new laws or modify existing ones. The current prince is Dorian Kartarbak, a good-natured old man that is beloved in his country. For many foreign governors, Dorian has always been a pleasant gentleman that likes to mediate conflicts to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
Helenia possesses a sparse population that finds itself spread throughout many villages. It does not have any important cities, except for its fair capital, the city of Farna. The complete lack of a professional army and the inexistence of fortresses or military bastions make of the principality a militarily weak nation, incapable of protecting itself without the support of the Empire and the Lord of War Thadeus Kisdain.
Helenia is currently experiencing a moment of crisis. The fragmentation of the Empire, along with its geographical situation, has jeopardized the peace in the principality that its citizens have enjoyed for so long. In the months past, its northern border has undergone a series of lightning invasions by a clan from Goldar that has devastated farms and towns. In addition, due to the enormous economic pressure that Gabriel exerts over its towns, everyone in Helenia generally feels uncomfortable. The people also worry that their prince Dorian, being elderly, does not have a clear successor.
Culture and Society
If the inhabitants of Helenia are characterized for anything, it is for their good nature and calm demeanors. They are simple people who live peacefully, without worrying too much about anything. They like nature and the rural landscapes, which makes their farms the most important part of their lifestyles. For many sociologists, the true reason why Helenia is not an important mercantile center is precisely because its people think that way. Although generally they are not drawn to crowds, they make an exception with the great fairs, without a doubt their most important festivities. There they can compete with one another and are entertained, only to disperse again until the following year.
The nobility and the high bourgeoisie in Helenia are almost nonexistent and there are hardly any rich landowners exerting any kind of control on their properties. In the principality there’s no feudal structure or social inequalities other than those of mere titles. On the other hand, the Church holds enough sway, since the local parish priests are probably the most respected and influential people of their respective communities.
Helenia receives many visitors traveling through its lands, but few tend to settle down. Even so, the hospitality of the Helenios is legendary, and it is said that all doors to the principality are always open for those that need a place to spend the night.
It is also important to mention that there exist a large number of solitary nomads who wander freely from one side to the other. These people work on some farm needing manual labor temporarily, to only leave again after a while.
The Ilona are undoubtedly the greatest pride of Helenia, legendary imperial purebred mounts, envied and desired by any rider in the world. Fast, strong and gifted with an exceptional intelligence, its fame as the best steeds on the continent is well known.
It is said that the Ilona choose their owners and not vice versa. Although sometimes during its training a trainer may climb on its rump, and once the horse finds the person who it considers deserving, it will not allow any other rider to ever mount it again. In some ways, the animals develop a strange bond with their owners that even allow them to heed their call wherever they may be.
Very few of these magnificent horses exist, and still fewer people are able to train them properly. There are no more than three ranches in the entire principality in which the Ilona can be found. Normally, only a dozen are put on sale every year at the great fair of Farna, and their prices usually reach astronomical numbers.
Every emperor of the Sacred Holy Empire has always had an Ilona mount. Adelina herself has several of them, but her favorite is a magnificent mare called Ylliandriana (although she calls her Driny).
Regarding the Supernatural
In many aspects, the people’s concept of the unexplainable in Helenia is very similar to the ones of Abel’s, but unlike them, they tend to see the supernatural as something a little more “darker and horrific”. That is probably due to being little accustomed to confronting magic, psychic abilities and other similar powers. For the Helenios, even to be witness of some of the inhuman feats to which the Knights of the Heaven Order are capable of would be horrifying. Also, the strong influence of the Church has done nothing but reinforce such beliefs, although not quite to the point of zealotry.
If the people of the principality were witness to anything supernatural, they would probably just run for their lives.
The Legend of Helena
Helena is the first person who was sanctified by the Church after the War of God. Not only for her actions, it was said that she had powers and abilities that could not be explained as magic, and that were definitely divine gifts. For that reason, in the year 336, a century after the formation of the principality that takes her name, the third Holy Council decided to beatify her.
For many occultists, Helena was the first and most powerful synchronization with the Ilakavir Khitna Misariel on her new aspect as Mikael (some even speculate that she could have reached the avatar state, although it seems very unlikely). Empowered with incredible gifts, she guided mankind in its time of need until her presence was no longer required.
Nobody knows what happened to her after the unification of the principality on the part of Aeolus, but the most popular belief is that she left in search of some other place where she was needed. According to some myths and legends, she remains alive and will return to man at a time of great need.
The History of Helenia
There are not many chronicles or stories that speak of the region of Helenia. The only thing known for certain is that its western areas belonged to the empire of Solomon, but it is uncertain as to who settled the rest of the principality prior to the War of God. If by chance there were cities or cultures there, they were destroyed by the armies of Judas down to their foundations.
The activation of Rah’s machine completely destroyed everything up to the Ages Mountains, sinking enormous masses of land and tens of thousands of people into the Inner Sea. In fact, many of the neighboring islands of the Inner Sea formerly comprised part of the coast of Helenia. After that brutal destruction and while hundreds of thousands of survivors began their pilgrimage to the west in search of refuge in Abel, a tenuous light of hope arose for many of the sick and wounded that were incapable of moving. It was Helena, a mysterious young woman with silver-plated hair who organized the survivors, created towns throughout the entire principality and protected the helpless from all types of danger. For many, she was a messenger of God destined to save mankind in its moment of need.
When Aeolus Hawke arrived in Helenia in the year 228 ready to establish order, he was pleasantly surprised that the principality was already completely rebuilt. The first Emperor wasted no time in meeting with Helena to offer her the security and shelter of Abel, to which she acceded with pleasure. Nevertheless, she rejected any title of nobility and left shortly after, but not before making sure everything was in good hands. The people, by massive popular vote, decided to call the principality “Helenia” in her memory.
From that moment on, little by little the nation began to develop the behaviors and characteristics that it possesses today, constructing farms and villages all across its borders. The first prince of Helenia was Phavell Penbroke, a man of Aeolus’s confidence who served his function as administrator very well. However, after his death without any progeny, the great landowners asked the Emperor to choose somebody from the region to serve as governor. Thus, the Kartarbak family rose to power, where they have remained until now.
In general, Helenia has always avoided any type of armed conflict, and has also never had much pull within imperial politics. In the seventh century, and later in the eighth, the principality of Gabriel asked for permission from the Empire to declare war on Helenia. On both occasions, they argued their situation accusing the neighboring government of committing serious shipment scams. The princes of Helenia, simply, publicly asked forgiveness of Gabriel and paid great sums of money in compensation.
Ironically, both accusations were false.
The present situation of the Empire has posed no problem for Helenia, whose inhabitants unanimously decided to stay in Abel (in spite of the unfruitful attempts by Gabriel to absorb it). However, the initiation of the attacks on its Northern border is causing unexpected and unavoidable damages. Prince Dorian has made an open request for the support of the Lord of War Thadeus Kisdain. Thadeus is more concerned about reinforcing the frontiers with the Azur Alliance though, and cannot provide more than a few thousand men to Helenia. In search of a solution to the urgent problem, Abel has begun to hire out several mercenary groups with the imperial coffers, with the objective to protect the villages from the incursions of the Goldar clans.
Relevant Geographical Features
Perhaps the greatest oddity of Helenia is its coast; an immense mountain range causes its coasts to drop off, forming enormous abysses and cliffs. The rest of the principality is made up of prairies and small forests.
Ages Mountain Range: The monstrous Ages Mountain Range is a large mountainous mass that extends along the entire southern coast of Helenia. High and steep, it drops off in the south on a cliff that directly borders the waters of the Inner Sea. The sailors who travel through the area call this high stone wall The Great Wall, because of how massive it appears from the sea. It is thought that the interior of the mountains must contain large veins of some kind of supernatural metal, pure enough to resist the first shock wave of Rah’s machine. The cliffs of The Great Wall have dozens of caves and underground grottos, some of which house many supernatural creatures in hibernation.
The Spring Leap: This is the name of a great waterfall several miles in width, located on the northern slope of the Ages Mountain Range. Its behavior is especially unusual, since it does not exist throughout the entire year. Due to the nature of the mountains, the rivers that are born within them are accumulated in a lake located at a high altitude called the Frozen Well. When the thaw arrives with the spring, the lake enlarges until it overflows, creating a wide river that falls from atop the cliffs to form the falls known as the Spring Leap. The distance it falls is really impressive, since it’s almost 2,000 feet.
For unfathomable reasons, during the short month that the Spring Leap remains active, the place confers great power to summoners, who enjoy considerable bonuses when executing their invocations of calling, controlling and binding elementals. Of course, those of the water variety are the most benefited.
The Ree Field: There are very few that know the peculiarity of this green field; it’s the only place in the principality where the Ilona steeds trot freely and to their heart’s content. The herd of the field is exceptionally intelligent and does not allow itself to be cornered under any circumstance, although some hunters have tried to get a few of them in the past.
Deep Lake: This imposing lake is located near the converging borders of Goldar and Gabriel. Its size allows it to hold a vital amount of freshwater fishes, which is why there are several families of fishermen who live off their daily catches. In spite of its apparent normality, Deep Lake hides more than one secret. A large community of water nymphs hid themselves in the depths centuries ago so as to be able to survive the lack of magic. After spending centuries dormant, some of them have begun to wake up and socialize with humans in the last five decades. The Lady of the Lake, a powerful water elemental named Lorelei, still slumbers without anybody disturbing her, although there is the possibility that she will not remain in hibernation for much longer.
The Lands of Calm: The name of the great plains that compose almost the entire center of the principality is well deserved one for the peace and quiet that always reigns in them. All over these lands are hundreds of tiny towns, so small that they do not appear on the maps, and an endless number of farms and large family estates.
Places of Interest
Except for the capital of Farna, the peaceful and calm Helenia lacks many relevant cities or places.
(City, Population 38,000+)
The capital of Helenia is also its most important city. Built in the middle of the Lands of Calm, Farna is a colorful place, filled with pleasant and simple buildings of wood and stone that extend further than the eye can see. The surrounding area of the large city is saturated with vast cultivated fields and grasses for the livestock, as if the entire place was an immense farm. It is also the greatest point of commerce of the principality, since it possesses important craftwork-manufacturing guilds.
Farna was born around the great camp that Helena raised in the days after the war. The young girl helped establish hospitals, improvised schools and all kinds of essential buildings. The place received the name Farna, which means “hope”. After she left, Aeolus created a considerable garrison under the supervision of Phavell Penbroke, who invested much effort into making the community prosper.
Every year, thousands and thousands of people gather at the annual fair, a very important event where, in addition to having all kinds of spectacles, people compete in a multitude of contests, from cake baking competitions to horse racing. The numerous foreign visitors spend a lot of money on the festivities, making of it a very profitable celebration for the people of Helenia.
The mayor of the city is Crystek Baltik, who resides next to the prince Dorian Kartarbak in the mansion of Nusa, the largest building of the principality.
Farna houses a strong presence of Samael members, something that none of its citizens realize.
Cathedral of Saint Helena
(Fortress, Population 200+)
Constructed in the year 336 in commemoration of the sanctification of the patron of the principality, this cathedral-fortress is currently the headquarters of the Knights of Saint Helena. It is an order of men dedicated to the conservation of peace and harmony throughout the entire principality, willing to face anything that threatens it. The knights maintain a close relationship with the Church although they really do not belong to it, in the same way that they are not officially members of Helenia’s army either. People admire them, and they often receive important donations from visitors wishing to see the monastery.
The current leader is Lorant Dikun, whose ability and passion have become legendary in less than a decade. His greatest accomplishment until now has been to place fifth in the last Tao Zan, although Remus defeated him with relative ease.
(Village, Population 900+)
Lenci is the largest village in the northern part of the principality. Completely normal in appearance, an important military presence has been made patent in the last few months with the arrival of an imperial captain and a small detachment of soldiers. Its objective is none other than to organize the diverse mercenary groups that are hired to protect the borders from the Goldar invasions. For this reason, many companies head to Lenci to submit themselves to various competence tests and get a job with the Empire. The arrival of so many strange characters has significantly increased the activity in town, and now disputes and constant fights constantly erupt. Needless to say the people of Lenci are not very happy with the incidents, despite the fact that the contents of their local coffers have quintupled in just a few months.
Monastery of Salvation
(Building, Population 250+)
This great stone monastery, very near the Eras Mountains, was built by order of Aeolus Hawke himself in the year 236 when, after speaking with Helena and seeing that she had already done most of the work, offered her the resources of the Empire to assist her reconstructing the region. Since then, the monastery has functioned as a sanatorium, where the sick go to recuperate free of cost. It does not refuse anybody, which is why even tuberculosis victims, asthmatics and other gravely sick are admitted. Prince Dorian has yielded the management and maintenance of the sanatorium to the Knights of Saint Helena in exchange for the promise that it will continue functioning with the same intention that it has up until now, a concession that must be renewed every fifty years.
Apparently, some of the possessions that Helena left behind when she disappeared are kept in the monastery. Tol Rauko has long considered them artifacts with supernatural powers that fall under their jurisdiction, but the Knights of Saint Helena completely refuse to hand over their relics.
(Village, Population 800+)
To the southwest of Saint Helena the village of Fathia is found, a place better known as the Rainbow Valley due to the miles and miles of flowered fields that surround it. Climbing any hill and looking downwards, the never-ending green prairies become a smooth multicolored wave sprinkled through dozens of wooden cabins. Having in consideration the hundreds of different species of flowers that grow here, this area is one of the largest nature reserves of the Empire. The small village of Fathia has been established around this beautiful place, whose citizens dedicate themselves to the cultivation and sale of flowers or other businesses derived from them. The dry and prepared branches of this region are highly valued as decorative elements, and the perfumes and honey produced here is of the highest quality.
Other Settlements: Lacan, Arklo.