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Principalities of Krondahar and Bramyraby Jennifer Guerra
Bramyra: Prince Urmahid Krinagar (Chancellor of Princes, Count of Skullhorn Pass, Dream Master of the Fourth Circle)
Krondahar: Prince Jherek Virayana IV (Khan of Singhabad, Supreme Judge of the Council, High Master of Dream Magic)
Bramyra: Rinnath (wife), Terrigis (daughter), Lan-Syn Virayana (sister), Prince Jherek Virayana of Krondahar (Lan-Syn's husband)
Krondahar: Lady Lan-Syn (wife), Lady Aleah (wife), Lady Waira (wife), Sir Ralindi (son), Sir Rejladan (son), Sir Jherek (son), Prince Urmahid Krinagar (Lan-Syn's brother)
Bramyra: 120 sq. mi.
Krondahar: 160 sq. mi.
Bramyra: Bramyra (pop. 2,300) Krondahar: Braastar (pop. 6,900)
Bramyra: Enfeoffed in AC 1003 as a buffer against raids from Ethengar. Prince Urmahid, a member of Prince Jherek's family, was formerly a spy for Glantri in Ethengar and was a personal enemy of the Great Khan.
Krondahar: One of Glantri's original principalities, settled by wizards exiled from Ethengar for their wizardry.
The Colossus Mounts bar the way between Glantri and its longtime foe to the east, the Khanates of Ethengar. Many ancient battles were fought amongst these peaks, and the battlefields remain--many of them reportedly haunted. Among the tallest mountains in the area, some of the Colossus peaks reach 25,000 feet or more. Most of the time, clouds obscure the tops of the tallest ones, so mapmakers can only estimate their height. Large valleys lie nestled where mountains meet. Hills rolls ceaselessly like waves across the terrain. Both these features demonstrate the land type most common in central Glantri: grassland. Visitors find extensive farming in these valleys, including the Vesubia River Valley (extending from the Broken Lands north to the towns of Glenmoorloch and Vorstadt). The grasslands in most valleys boast rich soil and mild weather, allowing farmers to raise a variety of crops. The hills of Glantri, too pronounced to make good farmland, prove excellent pasture for grazing cattle, sheep, and goats. All manner of high grasses, thistles, large ferns, and juniper grow in the hills, along with briars and hawthorns. Hidden among these plants are rare herbs useful in medicines and magical preparations. Navigating the hills is no easy task; strangers find it easy to lose their way. The trails are few, and the sheer number of high hills in the haphazard patterns makes it difficult to travel a straight line.
Bramyra: Bramyra lies in eastern Glantri, in the foothills of the Colossus Mounts bordering the Ethengar Khanates. The land is mostly covered in grassy hills, which slope downward, losing height as they gradually fade into the flat grasslands of the international border and Ethengar. The Prince's siege, Skullhorn, is a large fortress in the western part of the principality--at the base of the pass into the mountains and the Glantrian interior. The capital, Bramyra, sits along the border in the plain.
Krondahar: Krondahar, in east-central Glantri, consists mostly of lowland plains to the west along the Vesubia River valley, low hills in the central part of the principality, and mountains in the east, where the Colossus Mounts border the principality. The Prince's siege, Singhabad, stands in the foothills in east-central Krondahar, with the nearby mountains making for dramatic scenery. The capital, Braastar, lies on the Vesubia in the western flatlands.
*CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
Bramyra: Summers in Bramyra are mild, with high temperatures usually ranging in the 50s and 60s. Winds typically come from the south or southeast, which means that Bramyra is directly in its path. These winds can grow quite strong, bringing hail and electrical storms. In the Skullhorn Pass, the winds blow hard enough to whip up small stones and pebbles, creating a deadly, rocky hailstorm. Strong winds can also expose Bramyra to prairie fires which rage routinely in neighbouring Ethengar in late summer. In winter, snowfall is heavy enough in most areas to block mountain passes, making even the best roads unusable.
Krondahar: Krondahar enjoys the shelter of the mountains during fall and winter, although the freezing of the Vesubia River at this time makes trade and travel difficult. Spring is treacherous in Krondahar: Rain often chokes roadways with mud, and the Vesubia frequently overflows its banks, although floodwaters seldom rise dangerously high.
Bramyra: Precious woods, tea, coffee, ivory, semiprecious stones, gold, gems, horses.
Krondahar: Tobacco, tea, coffee, ivory, semiprecious stones, gold, gems, horses, rare books.
Bramyra: Potatoes, turnips, cattle, basketry, woodwork.
Krondahar: Silk, fine leather goods, mounts (special miniature breed), spices, cattle, metalwork, jewellery.
*EDUCATION, DEFENCE, AND LAW
Bramyra: Following the efforts of his brother-in-law Prince Jherek, Prince Urmahid has implemented compulsory testing for magical ability among his young subjects, but has not yet (nor does he plan to) founded any formal school to train those who demonstrate magical aptitude.
Krondahar: Prince Jherek has instituted compulsory testing for all his subjects for magical ability between the ages of six and seven years. Males who demonstrate magical ability must attend a public school until age thirteen; females, if their father or closest male relative permits, may learn from a female tutor or attend a cloistered school for girls in Braastar until they are of a marriageable age. The school for boys, Jehangir Academy, teaches boys to read and write in both Ethengarian and Thyatian, to read magic, melee and self-defence (armed and unarmed), court etiquette, and how to properly acquit their positions as representatives of Krondahar.
The school for girls, Prince Jherek Virayana II Convent for Girls, teaches girls with magical aptitude how to read and write in both Ethengarian and Thyatian, to read magic, court etiquette and how to properly serve family and guests, and how to keep the codes of feminine behaviour.
Bramyra: Prince Urmahid is Count of Skullhorn Pass, and hence commander of Skullhorn Pass Camp (in the mountains; Urmahid does not actually administer the camp--that dubious honour falls to Sir Duncan McGregor, Captain of the Skullhorn Pass Camp). As such, Urmahid controls the Camp garrison of 500 infantry, plus the Skullhorn garrison of 120 elite cavalry-based archers. He also keeps 60 personal guard on hand to maintain order among the principality's small populace.
Krondahar: Prince Jherek, as Supreme Judge of the Council, commands the Constabulary of Glantri, and controls all armies and militia stationed in the capital to defend the city and maintain order, as well as to patrol the Isoile and Vesubia River valleys up to 48 miles away. He maintains a personal garrison of 150 infantry and 50 cavalry with lances (soldiers of this garrison regularly patrol the land), plus 15 city guards in Braastar and 10 elite guards for personal defence.
Bramyra: Bramyra follows Glantrian law, plus most of the laws of Krondahar, as passed down to Prince Jherek by his predecessors. There is one major exception: despite hostilities and political suspicions, Bramyra relies heavily upon trade with Ethengar for its survival; therefore, charges of dealing in contraband (any Ethengarian merchandise) are not taken seriously in Bramyra.
Krondahar: Prince Jherek is the Supreme Judge of the Council of Princes, and as such submits all new laws to the Council and enforces them at every level. He is a stern but fair man, and enforces the law using a rigid, traditional method of interpretation. Thus, Krondahar follows Glantrian law to the letter, supplementing it with traditional Ethengarian laws which his family brought with them when they immigrated to Glantri centuries ago. Most remarkable among these laws are the codes which apply to the legal status and treatment of women. Women are citizens in Krondahar, though they are still considered the private property of their fathers or husbands (or closest male relative). Lines of succession are drawn through male descendants. Polygamy is legal and practised among the nobility (poorer families would be hard-pressed to add extra mouths to feed); the typical Krondaharan / Ethengarian nobleman has three to four wives. Traditionally, the honour of the family relies on the wife's good conduct and fidelity. The man is the patriarchal family authority, provider, and the source of the family's well-being. The wife is subject to the husband's orders, and may be beaten or raped if she does not submit to her husband's will. According to the law, a man is entitled to the following from his wife/wives: (1) Fidelity; (2) Obedience according to the accepted standards; (3) Breast-feeding, if possible, of the children born from the marriage; (4) The management of the household and its organisation; and (5) Deference towards the parents and close relatives of the husband. However, the wife has legal rights as well, and must receive the following from her husband: (1) Financial support as stated by law, such as food, clothing, housing, and medical care; (2) The right to be treated equally with other wives; (3) The authorisation to visit her parents and the right to receive them according to the limits imposed by the accepted standards; (4) Complete liberty to administer and dispose of her possessions with no control on the part of the husband, the latter having no power over his wife's possessions. The husband has control over divorce from his wives. In traditional Ethengarian law, he may declare himself divorced without any court appearance; in Krondahar (and Bramyra), the husband must appear before the court and declare his divorce and the reason(s). The husband retains all custodial rights, although it is becoming common for men to allow their wives to keep children until the age of six (when they are tested for magical ability). It is also legal for a man to divorce a wife if she does not bear him sons, since this is her highest purpose (interestingly, neither prince has put away their wives Rinnath and Lan-Syn). Recent laws also require the husband to obtain the consent of the first wife before taking subsequent wives and before legally acknowledging any bastard-born children, although the law does not define consent or specify how it is to begotten.
Note: The cultural heritage and development of Bramyra and Krondahar are nearly indistinguishable. Therefore, information in this section is presented in a unified format; notable differences will be treated within.]
Peasants in Bramyra and Krondahar eat, generally-speaking, the same vegetable-laden diet typical of the Glantrian low-born. The culinary habits of the nobility, however, are exceedingly lavish. Although the nobles of House Singhabad are of Ethengarian descent, once in Glantri they found Ethengarian food far too austere to serve to courtiers accustomed to the cuisine of exotic Belcadiz, subtle Nouvelle Averoigne, or spicy Caurenze. So court cooks added liberal amounts of cream, ghee (clarified butter), yoghurt (for which Krondahar is famous), spices, raisins, and nuts to meat dishes, pullaos (rice dishes), and samosas (savoury filled pastries). They developed their own delicacies and cooking methods, as well. The number of meat dishes were increased and often included spiced meats ground with wheat. Slowly braising meats or vegetables with a spiced yoghurt and butter sauce in a tightly-sealed pan--a preparation known as dumpukht--is associated with Krondaharan cuisine. Tikkas--spiced and barbecued beef, mutton, or chicken--are also popular. Vegetable dishes include dhal (lentil mush), spicy spinach, cabbage, and peas. Baked and deep-fried breads, such as roti, chapattis, puri, halwa, and nan, pepper the menu. Those early cooks also developed their share of sweets: the rich, mountain-frozen confection known as kulfi (made of ground almonds and pistachios, cream and sugar, and flavoured with saffron), and the jilebi, a swirl of fried pastry soaked in sugar syrup. The most common sweet is barfi (it pays to overlook the name), which is made of dried milk solids and comes in a variety of flavours. To wash it all down, there are a very few brewers in Braastar, but their fare rivals that of Berghdoven to the northwest. Tea with milk is appreciated and loved by everybody, in any season. Tea is an essential part of the daily diet.
Class also determines, to an extent, how one dresses in Bramyra and Krondahar. The peasantry fashions their clothing--usually plain brown or grey homespun tunics and trousers or belted robes--themselves, and they tend therefore to resemble the peasant class anywhere. Members of the nobility, however, tend to their own personal tastes. Prince Urmahid Krinagar prefers to dress in a Glantrian manner: tunics in greys and blacks with gold trim, loose-fitting black pants, and a dark grey cloak with a hood. He is extremely fond of gold jewellery. His wife, Rinnath, dresses in traditional Ethengarian clothing, although she tends toward the plainer del (traditional robe) of western Ethengar, which is very free and loose-fitting, with a large collar. Prince Jherek Virayana dresses like an Ethengarian lord, in long, ornate robes and headgear (the malgai hat--made of plush with a velvet upturned brim and pointed crown). In the winter, he wears costumes decorated with much fur (he prefers silver fox). Prince Jherek also adheres to an ancient Ethengarian custom which declares that a man grows his hair and does not cut his braid (which may be decorated with tiny bells or beads for dress occasions) until he is beaten in combat (Jherek changes this to "until he is beaten in a magical duel"). Needless to say, Prince Jherek still has his braid. Lady Lan-Syn, Jherek's first wife, also dresses in the traditional manner of central and eastern Ethengar: a del with high shoulders and the collar, hem, and sleeves decorated with intricate designs. On formal occasions, Lady Lan-Syn styles her head-dress by combing her hair smoothly back and fastening it with silver and gold grips, then mounting the arrangement with strung pearls and gems. Lady Aleah, Prince Jherek's second wife, prefers to dress in a Glantrian manner except on the most formal of occasions, when she can be coaxed into a formal del. Lady Waira, Jherek's third wife, dresses in the western Ethengarian style, much the same as Rinnath Krinagar (above).
ARTS AND LITERATURE
Prince Jherek is fond of the arts and literature in all forms, although he prefers paintings in the Glantrian style (flattering to personages of high prestige) and a mix of scholastic and poetic literature above all else. Prince Urmahid loves music, especially traditional Ethengarian folk music and dances, which tend toward the lusty and vigorous. Both princes sponsor the arts, although Prince Jherek has actually founded numerous art galleries in Krondahar (admittedly, most of them are within his palaces at Singhabad.)
The domain of architecture is where Bramyra and Krondahar pull away from their Ethengarian roots. In Ethengar, there are few, if any, truly permanent structures; conversely, Bramyra and Krondahar (especially Krondahar) are renowned for their breathtaking architecture. While the palace in Bramyra is impressive, it is Krondahar which so far has cornered the market on extravagance: Prince Jherek and his ancestors built the lavish and ambitious palace fortresses, administrative buildings, and tombs that have become emblematic of the principality. The most famous of these is the Taj Mahka, the tomb built by Prince Jherek Virayana III to honour his favourite wife, San-Jai Mahka Virayana. Another distinctive building is the Barak-i-Ortu, a monument to the great general. The great dome of the monument is claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world. And, of course, Singhabad Fortress itself is awe-inspiring, with its fortified walls surrounding stately palaces, halls, library towers, and gardens. Perhaps a little truer to the name of "fortress" is the fortress at the entrance to Skullhorn Pass, built by Singhabad builders in conjunction with the Glantrian government: here, massive twin towers are spanned by an arching gateway jammed with artillery. But even military builders cannot resist adding a distinctive touch: the foundation stones of the towers as well as the keystone of the archway are carved with intricate, traditional designs. Visitors to the region interested in mountaineering might want to make a visit to two of the most treacherous climbs in Brun: Nanga Parbat and Ghonoghoro-La. Nanga Parbat ("Naked Mountain") has a 1,400-foot wall that is so steep the even snow refuses to stick (the same can be said of a number of climbers). Ghonoghoro-La (also known as "Stoneface") is the second tallest mountain in Glantri (the highest, Mt. de Glace, is in the Glantrian Alps), at 24,350 feet.
An especially interesting Bramyran/Krondaharan custom is the marriage ceremony. This ceremony is conducted not to marry the couple, but upon completion of the marriage contract (so, in fact, the couple is already married at the time). The groom stands, in full Ethengarian finery, on a dais at the head of a lavishly-appointed feast room, with a large crowd of family and friends present. The bride, covered head-to-toe (it is not possible to see any part of her, save her hands, which are decorated in her dowry jewellery) in long robes embroidered in many festive colours, enters and is escorted by a relative to her new husband. The husband lifts the wife's veil and looks upon her, for the first time in many cases (it is actually quite amusing to see the anxiety on the bridegrooms' faces at this moment). Then, finding her satisfactory, he turns her to face the crowd, signifying that he has accepted her as his wife. (It has happened that husbands have been very displeased with their wives at this time; in these cases, the husband leaves, and the girl--who averages about 14 or 15 years old--is left to deal with the shame of rejection). A great feast ensues, and concludes three to six full days later with the procession to the bridal chamber. (Note: This ceremony is Ethengarian/noble in origin and in the principalities is typically performed only on the occasion that a nobleman takes his first wife.)
Pastimes in Bramyra and Krondahar tend to be much the same as anywhere in Glantri, although residents of Bramyra are widely infamous for their raucous partying. A great pastime in Krondahar is hunting, especially of mountain tigers (Prince Jherek, to this day, has captured 112). (Prince Jherek also occasionally organises hunts of convicts in the mountains for his noble friends--if the prisoner survives a full day and night, he is granted a pardon. In thirty years, two men have been pardoned). Recently, the art of belly-dancing is becoming popular among the rich, who maintain a number of concubines in their households.