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DAROKIN (Republic of, Borderlands)

Location: Central region of southeastern Brun, west and north of the Five Shires, south of Alfheim, north of Karameikos. OW

Area: 68,964 sq. mi. (178,615 sq. km.), not including Orcland, which is only now considered a sovereign nation.

Population: 1,270,000 humans, plus a scattering of elves, dwarves, and hin.

Languages: Thyatian (Darokinian dialect), but many other languages also present, including Elvish and Lalor.

Coinage: Daro (gp), half-daro (ep), tendrid (sp), passim (cp). For transactions involving large amounts of money (larger than 500 daros), a CLOC (Certified Letter of Credit) is used.

Taxes: 5% of annual income (8% for incomes over 100,000 daros), collected annually on Thaumont 1. Every 5 years, a net worth tax is assessed; anyone whose income has increased since the last assessment must pay 5% of the gain in taxes. There is also a 3% sales tax.

Government Type: Plutocratic republic, member of the Western Defence League; it is a republic as leaders are elected, but only the wealthy can apply for positions of power; therefore, Darokin is also a plutocracy.

Industries: Agriculture, fishing, mercantile ability, and diplomacy.

Important Figures: Corwyn Mauntea (Chancellor), Mealidan Mealidil (Mealidil Clanmaster).

Flora and Fauna: Herds of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and buffaloes. The various mountains around the nation are home to mountain lions and bears. Malpheggi Swamp is known for its crocodiles and giant lizards, as well as being the refuge for roving gangs of bandits and goblinoids.

The southern part of Darokin is mostly covered with oak forests, while to the north, evergreens dominate. Around the nation of Aengmor, blight oaks can be encountered within the borders of Darokin.

The northeastern section of Darokin is known as Orcland and is completely dominated by bands of goblinoids.

Further Reading: GAZ11 The Republic of Darokin, CM9 Legacy of Blood, previous almanacs.

Description by Ursula Bremen.

Following the trend set by my esteemed colleagues, I have been charged to describe another part of the vast and heterogeneous territory of Darokin. In this report I am writing about the borderlands located south of the Forest of Canolbarth, bordering the nation of Aengmor (the former Alfheim), which have now become a bit darker and suspicious of the elven neighbours to the north.

The Land

All of the borderlands located between the Canolbarth Forest and the Darokin Road share one common trait: they are all heavily forested, with the few open fields to raise crops and cattle wrestled away from the woods in the ancient times of the Darokin kings. It is not strange, though, that the inhabitants of these borderlands have not tried to burn and chop down larger areas of the forest, if one takes into account the former state of things in this region. After all, even if outside the political border of Alfheim, the woods still belong to Canolbarth and as such they were carefully tended and watched by the elves who lived in Alfheim until the invasion of the shadow elves [AC 1007. Ed.]. The first human settlers who came to this part of the country made an arrangement with the elves, and they agreed to cut down only a small number of trees, in order to build their homes and cultivate the soil. The humans and hin who came here all over the centuries have always (more or less) honoured this pact, thus earning the goodwill of the elves. And even now that the Alfheim elves have moved, the people living here do not try to expand the open fields by cutting down trees to avoid angering the forest spirits and the vindictive shadow elves.

Particularly interesting among the five fiefs that occupy this stretch of land [since there is not one central government for the whole area, as many might think, but rather it is divided into five dominions, each ruled by a border magistrate with the hereditary title of baron. U. Bremen.] are the Barony of Fenhold, located on the western tip of the borderlands, near the Magic Points once called Glow Tree and Turnclaw by the Alfheimers, and the Barony of Erkyn, located on the opposite side, near Selenica.

Fenhold is particularly interesting because of its swamp, which engulfs the centre of the barony and hosts a group of people, the fenfolk, who know all of the safe tracks inside the Black Swamp and live on its fringes. The Black Swamp is a rather dangerous place, not only for its monstrous inhabitants [which are, however, not to be compared with the creatures roaming in the Malpheggi Swamp, far more feral and deadly. U. Bremen.] but also for its muddy waters and treacherous sands, which have engulfed too many unwary explorers sent during the last decades by the Baron of Fenhold to build a safe road through the swamp. So far, these attempts have all been thwarted and the road [which should link the capital town of Fenhold directly to the Darokin Road. U. Bremen.] still remains a dream for the Baron of Fenhold, Lord Gereint MacFarn, as much as it had been for his father, the former Lord Argyle, who started the plan.

The Barony of Erkyn is similarly interesting for its ancient sacred groves and shrines, which dot the woods and are considered especially sacred by its inhabitants. These places look like normal groves, placid ponds and small circles of white stones set in the earth, but they are all surrounded by a mystical aura of peace and tranquillity which can calm even the most furious of the animals. It is believed that the Good People have created these Fairy Rings, and still today [after the Alfheimers and the fairy folk have left Canolbarth, as many wise men say. U. Bremen.] they are revered by the common folk and tended by human and elven druids.

The People

The inhabitants of these borderlands are normally considered (without malice) rather old fashioned and simple minded by the other Darokinians. The fact is that these people have never really been introduced to the new ways of the republic, and in this region time seems not to have passed ever since the days of the Darokin kings. People still hold their lord in high respect, they pay food and monetary tithes to him, and even though there are no serfs in Darokin [not even in the borderlands. U. Bremen.], the life these people lead is the closest thing to serfdom one can find inside the republic. They seldom leave their dominions looking for fortune in other parts of the republic, because they feel they could never have anything more than this and they also feel a strong obligation to remain and serve their lord. As you can see, dear reader, this mentality is really different from the common Darokinian way of the "self-made man," and it is a heritage of the old times, when feudal ties and obligations restrained heavily the individual freedom. However, those folk don't seem to mind too much, since their lords do not oppress them, so they are content with their situation and are much more worried about the things that go bump in the night, about the evil fairy and above all about the shadow elves' presence.

As I have said before, these people are very traditional, many of them are not even literate and speak only their own Darokinian dialect, knowing but a few words of Thyatian common. But despite their low literacy, they hoard a great deal of legends, ballads and tall tales regarding the old days of the Darokin kings, the deeds of epic heroes and the mysteries of the fey and the elves. These tales are all passed orally and told around hearths or bonfires by very talented bards, who rival the elves and hin in the art of storytelling [the fact that some hin and elves live among these people may have something to do with their ability. U. Bremen.]. It may be for this reason that many scholars and even merchants often stop by at inns in this part of the country, to hear these tales and write them down or spread them to all the corners of the republic.

In particular, Fenhold holds many old legends and tales of heroic knights battling monstrous creatures come out of Dragontree, and it is then a veritable source of folklore for all of the nearby lands. The Barony of Erkyn also has its tales, which mostly revolve around some wars waged against the humanoids of the Orclands in the past and with eerie cults of long-forgotten dark deities that tried to pervert the people. In all these legends, the Knights of the Radiant Heart figure prominently, since this knightly order [originally devoted to Valerias and Ixion, but now affiliated to the Church of Darokin. U. Bremen.] was founded here by the Attleson dynasty to act as the protectors of this part of the country [a task they have always brilliantly accomplished during the last six centuries. U. Bremen.].

Recent History

These borderlands are among the oldest baronies still existing in the Republic of Darokin. They were all created during the reign of King Corwyn VII, at the end of the third century, when he awarded some of his best commanders and nobles these lands in return for their loyalty and bravery shown in extremely difficult military campaigns against goblinoids and other darker foes [the written accounts found are too damaged and in some points too obscure to be more precise on the nature of these enemies, the last serious threat of King Corwyn VII's reign. U. Bremen.].

During the following centuries, they have been more or less tranquil, establishing friendly ties with the elves of Alfheim, who at the time were still rather reclusive. The Elfwar in AC 501-504 greatly hindered the friendly relationships between the humans and the elves, but they were sooner forgotten by the elves than by the humans. Because of the unwise actions of some kings and the corruption of the court, some of these barons began to grow envious of their neighbours and waged brief wars against each other, causing confusion and chaos in the area. The elves promptly intervened before damage and chaos could spread all over Canolbarth, and they pacified the human barons using their wits and strength [after all the humans were still in awe of the mysterious elves and the king couldn't seem to bother too much of their skirmishes. U. Bremen.].

Ever since, the relationship between the elves and the folk living in these lands was one of deep respect and awe on the part of the Darokinians, who respected the peace treaty signed with the elves and avoided threatening the Forest of Canolbarth anymore [although brief and bloodless skirmishes still occurred in the following centuries. U. Bremen.]. The Great Merger didn't change much for this part of the country: the barons managed to retain their titles and a milder form of independence from the central government, and went on with their life, content enough with the situation.

It was the shadow elves' invasion of Alfheim that really changed things in this part of the country. The pale elves were seen as fiends and dark fey by the folk of the borderlands, and they immediately gave shelter to all of the elven refugees, openly opposing the shadow elves. This obviously caused frictions between Darokin and the new nation of Aengmor, but fortunately the steadfast work of the DDC prevented these verbal and minor physical assaults from escalating into another war. Currently the folk living in the south of Aengmor do not enjoy their life in the bleak woods anymore, and grow more and more resentful with each passing day. They blame both the shadow elves and the Darokinian government for what has happened to the elves of Alfheim, and seem to harbour among them some members of the infamous Alfheim Avengers. There is new hope, however, now that some peace talks and joint collaboration between shadow elves and Alfheimers to save the dying Forest of Canolbarth have started.