Fury of the Immortals
Free Traldara was formally known as the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. The death of Duke Stefan Karameikos in single combat with The Seer of the Lake of Lost Dreams in 1001AC resulted in the collapse of his regime. Since the death of the Duke and the exile of his family from Specularum, the capital, Free Traldara has been ruled by a Revolutionary Council made up of revolutionary leaders (called the “Red Hand of King Nuada”), leading merchants and families of Specularum, and the Baron Desmond Kelvin III. It is advised by Traldar druids, the mysterious Seer and representatives of the Fey that inhabit the land's vast forests. Its rumored that Specularum’s gangsters the Veiled Society may even have a voice in the Council since they purportedly assisted the Red Hand by creating a diversion during the final battle for Specularum.
Sparsely populated compared to more "civilized" lands, much of the population of Free Traldara lives in seaport capital of Specularum, along the coast that serves as the country’s southern border or along the Highreach River, which effectively splits the country in two. Still, intrepid homesteaders and foresters eek out a living in the interior forests and hills in spite of Traldar legends and superstitions of feyfolk, banshees and werewolves abounding. Given the breadth of Traldara’s forests lumber is an important commodity. The Hin traders and merchants who make their home in Free Traldara tend to be found in Specularum, but are also scattered throughout the rest of the nation.
The western half of the nation is still under the heel of the Duke's nefarious cousin the Black Eagle Baron – Vasily Erikos – who rules from Fort Doom. To his west lie the squabbling desert kingdoms of the Emirates of Ylaruam. Just east of the Black Eagle's domain, but still west of the Highreach, lies the Radlebb Woods – home to the friendly Callari elves – some of whose warriors previously were handpicked to serve in the Duke's Elvenguard. The Callari trade with Free Traldara’s northern settlements, such as the town of Threshold, from their post of Riflian.
The largest northern city, Kelvin, is ruled by Baron Desmond Kelvin III, enfiefed by Duke Stefan under the former regime. Allowed to retain his domain he is nominally loyal to the Council, but some suspect he is mostly loyal to himself. As a member of the former Order of the Griffon, he has successfully earned the loyalty of the Duke's former regular garrison troops stationed in the north gaining a capable personal army. The north is also home to Highforge, the Gnomish and Dwarven mining enclave that lives autonomously under the Gnomish king Dorfus Hilltopper. The Dwarves of Highforge reportedly provided excellent dwarvish arms to the Traldar revolutionaries. A little further, the country’s northern border is set by the Cruth and Altan Tepes Mountains, which separate Free Traldara from the Republic of Darokin.
Traldarans have inhabited their country for thousands of years. With a deep respect for nature and its gifts and bounties, Traldarans look to their druids for leadership and guidance and worship in sacred groves and stone circles. Once a collection of loosely confederated tribes and strongholds, Traldarans produced arts and culture and exonerated powerful tribal warriors. However, Traldaran civilization was smashed at this zenith 2000 years ago by invading hordes of Beastmen. While they were beaten back by the Traldarans’ Three Heroes, the Beastmen hordes left Traldaran society a shadow of itself.
Three generations ago, Thyatian legions marched into the Traldaran lands and conquered and garrisoned its capital – Marilenev – renaming it Specularum (“the City of Mirrors”) in honor of the silvery, sunsplashed waters of its deep harbor.
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos was born just a generation ago when an enterprising Thyatian noble traded his ancestral lands in Thyatis for the opportunity to rule Karameikos as a semi-independent Grand Duchy – Karameikos took its name from this enterprising noble – Duke Stefan Karameikos.
Notably, when the Duke took power in Karameikos, several Traldaran clans with nationalist and traditionalist leanings saw the transition of power as an opportunity to launch a rebellion against Thyatian presence. They were led by clan Marella who had lost their place as leading clan when the Duke took their traditional lands that consisted of the fertile grounds around Specularum and along the seashore. It was crushed with much bloodshed. Thirty years later, simmering tensions would boil over into the revolution that cost Duke Stefan his life and his dominion.
The nation's human population is made up of native Traldarans and Thyatians who came to the former Karameikos with the conquering Thyatian legions 100 years ago, as immigrants at the invitation of the Grand Duke Stefan 30 years ago or more recently. Traldarans are a superstitious people close to nature who worship in sacred groves and stone circles and look to their druids for guidance. Thyatis is a vast empire with a highly developed civilization, many Immortals and large cities described in more detail later in this Chapter.
Traldarans tend to be hardy, fair-skinned and sometimes of ruddy complexion. Hair color is typically light brown to medium brown, but some Traldarans will sport blonde or jet black hair and red hair can be found amongst the clans of Cruth Highlanders in the Cruth Mountains. Traldaran commoners tend to dress in simple homespun and wear comfortable brown or green cloaks. Traldar men tend to wear their hair short or mid-length and may be clean-shaven or bearded, though often close cropped. They eschew jewelry. Traldar women might wear their hair longer and wear one or two pieces of simple jewelry.
Thyatians tend to have have olive complexions ranging from dark to fair. Thyatians also tend to have dark to medium brown hair, though examples of blonde and red hair are highly prized. Curly hair is currently in fashion in Thyatis City, as well as the use of cosmetics – a custom copied in Specularum. Thyatians tend to follow the fashions of Thyatis City and wear short-sleeved tunics, the richness of the fabric varying with the wearer's wealth. Simple, but elegant, colors are preferred. Thyatian men typically wear their hair in a closed-cropped military style and thin mustaches are in favor amongst Thyatian merchants. They are also more likely to wear simple jewelry like rings or necklaces. Thyatian women favor long hair and jewelry befitting their station.