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KAMELOTH (Duchy of)
Location: Continent of Brun, southeast of Leeha, along the small Bay of Kameloth. NW
Area: 4,738 sq. mi. (12,270 sq. km.).
Population: 19,000, 77% humans, 17% hin, 6% elves.
Languages: Alphatian (Alphan dialect), Heldannic, Lalor, Elvish (Shiye-Lawr dialect).
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp); barter common among elves.
Taxes: 25% income tax, collected yearly.
Government Type: Duchy, member of the Kingdom of Alpha, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Fishing, agriculture, cattle, mining.
Important Figures: Shuren (Duke), Jonas Whiteshore (Seneschal).
Flora and Fauna: All kinds of terrain are present in Kameloth: overgrown forests in the south, rolling and steep hills in the west and lowlands and grasslands in the east and centre. As a result, many types of natural products grow here, from vegetables to cereals, from evergreen trees to fruits and underbrush. Wild animals and small tribes of orcs and hill giants live in the western hills between Kameloth and Leeha, while wolves and ferocious predators can be found in the south. Monstrous fish also prey on the smaller ones in Kameloth Bay. Dragons from the Wyrmsteeth make occasional forays into this territory as well, paying attention to harm cattle and not men.
Further Reading: Previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
Kameloth is a strange dominion among those loyal to the Kingdom of Alpha. In fact, while its duke has always been a good friend and ally of King Ericall, he is not well versed in the art of politics as much as he is in those of magic and skirmishing. For this reason, even though Kameloth has a popular hero as ruler, Duke Shuren is not really the head of the country, which is in fact ruled by the various towns' mayors.
Kameloth is a large dominion located on the southwestern banks of the Great Bay, bordering with the Kingdom of Siegeria and the County of Leeha to the west and north. Kameloth also comprises the small Kameloth Bay, which is a tranquil fishing area due south of the famous Great Bay Wormhole [the planar phenomenon that occurs regularly in the Great Bay and which connects this part of Norwold with the Plane of Water. Adik.]. Due to its position and to the extent of its borders, Kameloth offers to its inhabitants many types of terrain, going from the shallow beaches in the north, to the thick woods of the south, including the fertile plains of the east and the gentle hills of the hin living in the west. This makes Kameloth a rich country in terms of crop and game varieties, although it has no significant mining activity, save for a rather large silver mine located in the hin's hills [and constantly guarded and exploited by the hin. Adik.].
Kameloth is not exactly a rich land, although its inhabitants do not suffer from famine or injustice [not anymore, that is. Adik.]. The fact is that even though it has abundant harvests and a thriving fishing industry, it must support a great number of people, which makes profits a little lower than what would be commonly expected in a land like this. Only recently has Kameloth reached the point it can feed all of its inhabitants with the food it produces, and only through hardship and at the expense of Duke Shuren's personal treasury. Also, Kameloth's funds were squandered in past years because of the former seneschal's corruption [he cheated Lord Shuren out of the dominion's revenues for several years before being discovered, but according to some rumours he managed to make it out of Kameloth with his small fortune before being discovered. Arcadius.], so this all has contributed to make it a petty state in comparison to the nearby countries and to other dominions of the same size.
Kameloth's populace is a mishmash of different races and cultures, who have remained proud of their heritage and thus unable to integrate as their ruler had hoped [this also translates into different deities being worshipped inside Kameloth, although Duke Shuren has made Odin's faith the national church. Arcadius]. This is why Kameloth is today a divided country, even though there are no violent frictions within it. This peaceful co-existence is not due to Lord Shuren's influence over the moral ethics of his people, but rather to the populace's common sense and to interregional agreements signed by the leaders of the four ethnic groups living here. The people of Kameloth have long since understood that they cannot count on their ruler to solve and administer their daily issues, so they have basically assumed some political power for themselves and now each community rules itself without the duke's meddling too much in their affairs. Lord Shuren is still the leader of the army and the one to whom the taxes must be paid, but instead of getting all of the troubles that go with ruling a country, he has allowed his subjects considerable administrative freedom and authority (along with some economic advantages), earning more free time and less responsibility for himself.
Jonas Whiteshore is the current duchy's seneschal as well as the leader of the hin community, which lives in the western hills. The hin once belonged to the County of Leeha, but later chose to follow Whiteshore when he founded a new town in the rich hills of Kameloth in AC 1003, where silver had just been found. They are specialists in mining and crafting silver, as well as in raising the beautiful snow tulips that have made Leeha so famous throughout Norwold. Faithful to the classic hin iconography, the hin of Whiteshore are merry and friendly to everyone, although they are by no means naive and can be deadly clever when it comes to trade and economics [and that's why Lord Shuren chose a hin as his new seneschal. Adik.].
Hermann Konstantin represents the Heldanners living in the dominion [the majority of the human population. Adik.], who dwell on the southern shores of the Kameloth Bay and make up the fishing industry of the country. He is a man of few words and, like many of his fellows, prefers to act rather than to parlay. The Heldanners are renowned for their hard work and respected for their abnegation, although they are also criticised for being a tad too dependent on alcohol, especially during the long winter nights when the bay freezes and they cannot sail.
Sphodros is a wizard and the leader of the Alphatian community. Although the Alphatians living in Kameloth are commoners and not spellcasters, Sphodros is well-liked by his fellows and very popular after having organized and led with some success a resistance movement opposed to the invading Thyatians during the Great War. This fame, coupled with his unchallenged superior powers, has led the Alphatian community to believe they could not have been better represented in front of their duke by someone just as cunning and powerful [although I must say that Sphodros's power and intelligence have been greatly exaggerated by the Alphatians. Adik.]. The Alphatians make up the majority of the farmers living in the western part of the duchy, and together with the Heldanner fishermen, they are the backbone of the country's food production.
Finally, Nimnar Leldyie is the leader of the insular Shiye elves living in the southern woods. These elves are very secretive and shun every contact with the other communities [much like their northern brethren living in the Lothbarth Forest. Arcadius.], although they acknowledge Duke Shuren's undisputed lordship over the land. They provide some furs and woodland game to the state economy, and are greatly rewarded by the duke's stewardship over their lands [which however suffered horrible scars because of the draconic raids during AC 1016, and this has somewhat reduced their trust in Duke Shuren's power. Arcadius.].
Duke Shuren has always been an adventurer at heart. Coming from a successful and renowned "career" as a popular hero in the southern lands, Shuren came here in AC 1002 with a bunch of fellow adventurers [among which the powerful King Sieger von Duwn. Adik.] to try a new experience, and founded a barony mainly out of curiosity: he wanted to change pace for a while. After vanquishing the fearsome monsters that dwelt in the area, he attracted new settlers and began to annex new chunks of nearby lands, without really thinking about the diversity of the races he admitted inside his ever-growing dominion. Then he suddenly stopped enlarging Kameloth [many say both to avoid the dragons' and the hin's anger. Arcadius.] and relaxed on his seat of power, allowing his first seneschal, Bethain Craxius, to run the business.
In the years following AC 1003 he spent his time travelling to faraway places and participating in epic adventures, with the result being his absence from Kameloth nearly eight months every year. Clearly the populace didn't view him as their ruler anymore, but rather has the hero who once defeated the giants and the other monsters threatening the area. Also, since it became apparent to them that the seneschal was only stealing from them, they began to organise things in smaller scale, and the four communities each chose a prominent figure to act as their leader and representative in front of the seneschal. So, Kameloth effectively ended up being a single county nominally, but was in fact divided into four independent regions, which governed themselves and paid a tithe regularly to the central government at Imolus [the former capital of Kameloth. Arcadius.].
Lord Shuren was strangely away during the Great War [AC 1005-1009. Ed.], so the populace was left alone to cope with the Thyatian and monstrous invaders. The seneschal Craxius took once again the matter in his own hands and forged an alliance with the Thyatians, allowing them free passage over Kameloth's soil in exchange for sparing his life and the treasury [he didn't make any objections to the Thyatians pillaging the countryside and the commoners, however. Adik.]. This way Kameloth remained basically neutral during the whole war, allowing Thyatian troops coming from Siegeria safe passage to reach the other dominions in the east and at the same time sending reinforcement troops to these same countries [clearly Craxius didn't want to be labelled a traitor, whatever the outcome of the war, so he took steps to assure his fealty to both sides. Arcadius.].
This all continued until Lord Shuren returned and found out about Craxius's foul play at the beginning of AC 1010. He immediately drove out the Thyatian invaders still stationed inside Kameloth and then went to kill Craxius, only to discover he wasn't in Kameloth anymore [sensing his web of subterfuge and lies was about to collapse, the cunning seneschal fled on his personal boat to a secret destination, taking with him the incredible sum of 100,000 gold pieces, according to the rumours. Adik.]. Lord Shuren began to take the situation in his own hands then, only to discover the state of the affairs was not as he thought it was. Basically, he was paying all of the bureaucracy and military staff of the country, while each of the four regions sent to him only a small fraction of their actual income. This caused a big gap in the state treasury, and Lord Shuren couldn't allow this to continue. So he confronted the four representatives and demanded them to turn all of their gold to him to pay the country's debts, but they refused and instead threatened to revolt or to leave the county altogether. Lord Shuren was neither a statesman nor a fine politician, but he understood the situation, so he agreed to let things as they were, and named one of the four mayors, the hin Jonas Whiteshore, as new seneschal, in charge of keeping everything in check and avoiding disorder and thievery.
In five years all the debts were paid [also thanks to Lord Shuren's personal funds. Adik.] and the frivolous expenses cut, and Kameloth's economy was finally sound once again. Then disaster struck again when the Norwold Wars broke out. Lord Shuren eagerly put all his strengths into the war against the Qeodharans and the dragons, fighting on the first line and vanquishing many enemy squadrons by himself [although he couldn't prevent the razing of the capital city of Imolus on the dragons' part. The town of Vendrid was later chosen as the new capital, leaving Imolus a silent monument to the draconic power in Norwold. Arcadius.]. In the final battle against the pirate wizard Oberack of Ostland however, he did meet his doom, even though he was able to kill the powerful opponent, thus stopping the Ostlander raids in the inner Great Bay. It was only thanks to his former friend, King Sieger von Duwn, that he was later resurrected instead of mourned and buried [a cunning scheme on the Black Duke's part to eliminate him from the war, as it turned out. Arcadius.], and took part in the final battle against the renegade Black Duke of Ossian, as well as in the expedition to Alphaks's Volcano to stop the disease spread by the Red Fog at the end of AC 1016.
Despite earning the title of duke [and the responsibilities that came with it. Arcadius.] at the end of the war, Duke Shuren has not changed his ways much. He still spends a good deal of time away from his dominion to pursue his adventuring life, but he is still considered the national hero back in Kameloth, and as long as he'll be there, the populace is sure nothing will come to harm them. Unfortunately, Duke Shuren's passion for travel outside the duchy is very well known both to the populace and to the intelligent evil creatures living near and inside Kameloth, and this may be exploited against the duke and his dominion in the future as it was in the past.
The hin's hills are especially beautiful to behold during spring, when their snow tulips bloom and whiten the gardens. Also great to behold is the Kameloth Bay in the coldest time of winter, when its surface freezes completely and people walk and skate over the ice.
Some of the hills between Leeha and Kameloth, on the western border, do not belong to either of the two states. This is because they are home of a tribe of proud and resistant hill giants that has so far managed to avoid attracting Duke Shuren's attention. They mainly raid the hin communities on the Leehan side of the border, but have also made forays into Kameloth, terrorising herders and stealing cattle in the western hills. So far they have not caused great havoc and the duke has more pressing matters to handle [whatever they might be. Adik.], so the giants' threat persists in the region.
Also to be avoided is the place called Tomeron's Dell, a small depression located on the fringes of the southern forest. What is so curious about this foggy place is that before Shuren's coming, it was in fact a hillock! The Shiye legends tell that below the forested hillock a terrible demon lay in a perpetual slumber, waiting for the right time to awake and unleash the Seven Plagues [mysterious outlandish creatures with great powers who rest nearby, according to the Shiye. Arcadius.] on Norwold. Apparently, Shuren and his friends were able to confront this demon, Tomeron, and to defeat him before he awakened fully. However, the energies released in the final battle were so powerful as to make the hillock collapse and to create a dell. A small veil of fog constantly envelops the area now, which is still shunned by elves and humans alike and still considered cursed, despite Duke Shuren's reassuring tale.