Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
DRAKEN (Duchy of)
Location: Continent of Brun, northwest of Alpha. NW
Area: 2,992 sq. mi. (7,750 sq. km.).
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 25% of income.
Government Type: Duchy, member of the Kingdom of Alpha, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Fishing, agriculture, military, trading.
Important Figures: Beriak (Duke).
Flora and Fauna: Usual coniferous and evergreen trees abound in Draken, since the settlers didn't cut down large areas of Lothbarth. Great variety of fish can be found near the coast, many wild animals in the woods inland (elk, moose, bears, wolves, foxes, etc.). Many birds of prey and wild felines roam the eastern areas of the county, especially in the foothills near the western mountains. A couple of dragons are said to live on said mountains to the east, and some strange extra-planar creatures have been reported wandering in the forest near the duke's abode.
Further Reading: Previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
A loyal vassal state of Alpha since the Great War, the Duchy of Draken has the highest percentage of Alphatians among its populace [90% of the Drakenites are Alphatians, which makes Draken even more "Alphatian" than King Ericall's dominion. Adik.]. Its ruler, Duke Beriak, is a capable mage and an expert tactician, and has proved invaluable to King Ericall's cause in many circumstances, standing at his side even in the direst of times. It is because of its ruler's loyalty and courage that Draken now holds an important place in the geopolitical scenario of Norwold.
Draken is a rather large dominion located on the northern banks of the Great Bay, near the Strait of Todstein. Due to its proximity to Norwold's gate to the Alphatian Sea, Draken holds a very important strategic position, since it is charged with the task of protecting the Great Bay from seaborne invasions and maintaining viable and safe the Strait of Todstein. Draken's navy shared this task with Odinia's fleet before the Norwold Wars [AC 1016. Ed.], but since Odinia's fall it must rely only on the occasional help from Alpha's and Latela's navies should the need arise.
Draken is a land blessed by Mother Nature: lush pastures in the central area of the domain, high mountains rich with ores along the eastern border, evergreen forests full of game and herbs in the north, and clear waters where fish abound along the southern cliffs. Lord Beriak chose this place fully aware of its potential, and he was keen and able enough to exploit the natural resources of his dominion to their maximum. Nowadays Draken produces enough food to sustain itself, and has even a good-sized surplus it sells to the neighbouring nations [which is no small feat in Norwold. Adik.]. Its mines are a constant source of income, as well as the woods, which are not exploited by the logging industry [in order to avoid the Shiye's retaliation. Arcadius.], but rather by trappers, furriers and beastmasters, who hunt in the woods for furs and trained animals to sell around the world. Unfortunately, a good deal of Draken's trades suffered after Alphatia's sinking, since it relied heavily on its privileged commercial relationship with Stonewall [Beriak's homeland. Adik.]. Beriak has been able to establish new trading routes with the southern nations, but it is difficult to compete with Latela's and especially Panteria's merchants [who trade in nearly the same goods as Draken. Adik.], who already had well-established partnerships with the southern merchant guilds.
Draken's main towns number five, each one located strategically in one of the five regions of the dominion. Draken, the capital city, lies in the central region, while Ninsun is nestled in the middle of the northern woods. Soron is a veritable port town, harbouring the units of the Draken navy on the southern coast. Ecbathia, a mining town, lies in the eastern mountains, and finally Wyndaria, the most picturesque one, dominates the western landscape. They are all protected by sturdy stone walls, with stone and wooden dwellings arranged in orderly blocks and the occasional wizard tower rising like a stone finger pointing at the sky.
Also, Draken enjoys some luxuries that the nations of lower Norwold can only dream of. First of all, it has next to no trouble with its neighbours: the Lothbarth elves tend to keep to themselves and avoid contacts with the humans living in the Northern Marches, while Latela is sufficiently peaceful and distant to pose no threat to its borders. Second of all, Lord Beriak already disposed of the most annoying and dangerous beasts roaming the land when he took possession of it, back in AC 1000, and some people say he also invited a couple of gold dragons to live in the eastern mountains, to keep other potential sources of trouble away from his lands [it seems that these gold dragons receive a small amount of Draken's yearly income to check the region and eliminate dangerous monsters before they spread mayhem. Arcadius.].
This relative peace has lately been broken only by the events of the Norwold Wars and by the Qeodharan raids. Currently the most annoying problem Draken has to face are the renegade Ostlander and Qeodharan raiders hidden in the foggy Strait of Todstein, who prey on the occasional trade vessel and on Draken's coasts regularly.
Drakenites are proud people who still remember their Alphatian heritage. For this reason, they tend to view the rest of the Norwold population as simple folk that must be guided, protected and taught how to live decently. Draken boasts the highest literacy rate throughout Norwold, and it is no small feat that even the humblest ranger or farmer is able to read in this country! Draken's laws are mandatory on this: everyone must attend at least two years in the public schools of the five most prominent towns [this is done both to give them a basic education as well as to spot the most talented youths and train them in the magic arts or in military techniques. Arcadius]. This explains why Drakenite commoners have such a high opinion of themselves in comparison to the other inhabitants of Norwold, although most of them lack the typical haughtiness of the Alphatian wizards [Drakenite wizards not included, of course. Adik.] and instead tend to consider the less fortunate people as fellow men to be helped, rather than slaves to be exploited.
The people of Draken are an industrious lot, well versed in the trading ways as well as in agriculture and mining, thanks to their better education. But there is another thing that they are good at, being Alphatian: magic. Rumours say that at least one tenth of the Drakenites are able to cast magic and know the basics of the arcane arts. Obviously this is not confirmed by Duke Beriak, who is always very evasive on this topic [probably to scare the other nations and prompt them to abandon any thoughts of hostile action against Draken. Arcadius], but if this be true, it would surely give Draken a great advantage on any enemy trying to invade its lands. Also, given the fact that all of the male population is trained to fight [they must serve in the army for one year at the age of 16. Arcadius.] and that Draken's military officers are among the best of the old Alphatian guard [and are in fact often summoned by Ericall for military matters. Adik.], one should not have trouble in trying to understand why Draken was never once seriously threatened during all these years and wars.
Duke Beriak, a Stonewall mage loyal to the Alphatian crown, came to Norwold in AC 1000, after King Ericall's issue for new landlords [many wizards living in Draken actually say he was sent here by Empress Eriadna herself, to oversee Ericall's moves and help him in case of troubles. Adik.]. He immediately swore fealty to King Ericall and carved his small barony in the Northern Marches, taking with him many Alphatian commoners and soldiers from the motherland, as well as a cadre of thirty loyal retainers [commonly known as "the Battlemages" in Draken, responsible for training and teaching warfare tactics and arcane arts to Drakenites. Arcadius.].
During the Great War, Draken countered the attempts of the Thyatian navy to bypass the Strait of Todstein and invade the Great Bay, and Lord Beriak distinguished himself for his brilliant tactics and superior military experience, which earned him the title of count at the end of the war. In AC 1016, the Norwold Wars put Beriak's skills to test again, but he passed it in the end, containing the Qeodharans' raids and countering the Black Duke's strikes as effectively as he could. For his loyalty to the Alphan Crown and for always standing on Ericall's side even when the king was about to lose his kingdom, Beriak was then awarded the title of duke, now second only to Archduke Ney of Chitine in the eyes of Ericall.
Wyndaria is by far the strangest and most attractive feature of the whole dominion, mainly for the presence of the most bizarre building found in this region: a high tower that stands right in the main square, overlooking the whole town. Contrary to what the occasional passer-by could think, however, it is not the dwelling of some powerful mage, but rather the unique "Skyreach Inn," built by a famed Alphatian architect who specialised in this kind of multi-story building [the fact he hails from Floating Arkan probably tells something about his mentality. Adik.]. The inn is seven stories high [reaching the impressive height of 80 feet. Arcadius.] and aside from being rather expensive, its upper story can be reached only by customers capable of flying [it even has a sort of landing platform for flying mounts on its roof! Adik.].
There isn't really a dangerous place within Draken's borders, although once you travel outside of it, you're on your own. Humanoids prowl the mountains on the east, and magical beasts and monsters have been sighted in the west and inside the Lothbarth Forest in the north. Also, due to some magical experiments of the Drakenite wizards, strange planar rifts occasionally occur in the countryside, especially near isolated towers, and fearsome planar creatures step out terrorising the locals before being dealt with by the soldiers. Be prepared for strange encounters once in a while, then.