The Grand Duchy of Placia is a region of the Kingdom of Borealis. It borders Volgen to the South-West, the Great Steppe to the North and (via the pass in the Narwa Mountains) Weideland to the North-West.
One of the first settled human realms after Transborea and the Great Steppe, it is also one of the most beautiful. The folk call it the Lake Country and the Goddess' Retreat (due to a legend telling that when Leandra, Deirdre and Heide walked the earth, they used to bathe in the waters of Eyr Innter - the Sea of Ruins).
Ruler and politicsEdit
Lord Franz-Ferdinandt ot-Rosenkreuz is both the Grand Duke of Placia (a title his ancient family has held for almost 500 years) and the "Hirnir" (elected head) of Placian Thanesmeet. He is a mighty and wise patriarch of Borean nobility and a shrewd, albeit very conservative, politician. His more than extraordinary age of 106 (as of year 76x) did little to inhibit him. Only recently has Lord Rosenkreuz started to use a squire to carry his ceremonial zweihander and resorted to using a walking cane. His extraordinary vitality (as well as powerful magical talent of his daughter) can be explained by his house's half-elven roots.
By ancient accord with Volgen, the thane-clans of Placia retain great control and status in the land, especially the so-called River Thanes that live off and control the transport on the Duchy's numerous lakes and rivers. The Thanesmeet gives them direct access to the Great Duke and even an ability to collectively overturn his decisions - something that is unheard of anywhere else South of Moradin's Crown.
Placia was the last Grand Duchy to abolish serfdom, which gives an insight to the extent of power and control that local nobles exercise over Placian populace.
9 to 12 million people live in Placia according to various censuses. Most of them are Borean humans, although to the North large communities of more civilised steppenvolk dwell in relative peace; even orcs are not too uncommon among them. Aside from that, the region has sizeable communities of river-dwelling halflings and even beastly mer-folk, who are tolerated at most times for their knowledge of crafts and confusing Placian waterways.
Languages: Borean ("common speech"), the Old Tongue (among more traditional communities and River Thanes' houses), the Dil-speech in the North among steppenvolk.
Placia possesses truly stunning nature and biodiversity: dry steppes in the North, miles upon miles of rolling golden grasslands (native to the region alone), wide freshwater hinterlands and riversides. To the West and South-West lie the mountain chains of Copper-leaf and Narwa respectively. They aren't the youngest or the steepest mountains of the Realm yet possess enough deposits of copper and iron ore and coal to almost make the Duchy self-sufficient. What they are really good for is hiking, scenic walks and hunting.
The main attraction of the land is, of course, the Sea of Ruins, known in the official texts and among locals as Eyr Innter. It is the only inland sea on the continent, with pristine, crystal clear water and unfathomable depth. The most prosperous and oldest settlements of Placians are located on its Southern coast.
- Terrestrial: temperate grasslands, steppes, wetlands,
- Aquatic: estuaries, freshwater, freshwater wetlands
- Primary exports: clay, brick, salted fish, medicinal plants, copper ore, silver ore and products, horses and cattle,
- Imports: weapons, wheat and byproducts, cattle, gold, wood and timber, clothes and fabrics
- First settlers came to Placia (which back then was known as Mar Ethel and was part of the Eldari lands) during the First Dark, part of the first wave of human migration post-Planetfall. Though less humans came to those lands than to the Great Steppe and Northern Frugia, they still had a somewhat formidable presence - and valiantly assisted the Eldari in the dire Black War;
- Left almost completely desolated after the Black War, Placia was re-settled early in the Age of the Northern Wind, following the foundation of Aluren in the North. Many human tribes remembered bitter territorial conflicts with dwarves right after the Planetfall and resented Rex Verstandt's willingness to even tolerate, let alone coexist, with them. This led to the second migration of the human race on Thessea, with tens of thousands of people departing Southward in search of new, warmer lands;
- Placia preserved the old, traditional rule of mighty warlords - thanes - for many generations. At times, most potent Placian thanes (often in control of the waterways and freshwater shipyards - hence, the River Thanes) extended their influence all the way to the West coast of Thessea and up to the borders of Aluren. The might made right in the lands of River Thanes;
- Ripe with conflicts and local wars, eventually the first Thanesmeet was called to prevent the region becoming so weakened that it would fall prey to steppenvolk nomads or Volgen and Weideland thanes. It was called some 200 years prior to the fall of Aluren and became a relatively regular occurence.
- The biggest Thanesmeet to date was called by the house Rosenkreuz at the end of the Age of the Longest Autumn, when news came of Everard Boreale's subjugation of Frugia and unification of Volgen. Thane Rosenkreuz knew the Volgen warlord in person and saw his skill as a fighter and strategist. While united thanes of Placia could wage war against him, it would come at such a cost that even the warlike River Thanes withheld their votes in its favour. The Thanesmeet sent Boreale an offer of eternal friendship and alliance, on conditions of preservation of Placian authority and way of life. Of course, not all Placians supported this and some 50 years into the existence of Kingdom of Borealis, an infamous rebellion was started by the blood thane Tristan the Reveller and his ten thousand men. They all fell, to a single person, encircled by Volgen cavalry near the town of Val Estrihn, but not before sacking the capital, rampaging across Southern plains for three and then thirty days and mortally wounding crown-prince (and, at the time, de facto ruler of Borealis) Sebastian Thormondsson in battle. This was one of the most humiliating events in Borealis' history and is forever enshrined in numerous Placian folk songs.
- During the Feuerbrand uprising, Franz-Ferdinandt ot-Rosenkreuz, already at a venerable age of 97 years (even considering his distant elven heritage) was faced with a dilemma. On one hand, the highly traditional Thanesmeet and his personal beliefs were forcing him to support the Kingdom's unity. On the other, he absolutely despised the king and his court, while respecting Constantine Feuerbrand as a capable leader and honourable man.
- Initially, the thanes supported giving aid, men and tax to the King to suppress the rebels. It was the Placian thane ot-Varistan's leadership and men that defeated the rebel army at Wolf's Run. Yet it was then that the King made a grave mistake. He offered support, patronage and power to Karol ot-Varistan, seeking to use his popularity to supplant the disobedient and prideful house Rosenkreuz at the Placian helm. He failed to realise the old friendship between Rosenkreuz and Varistan houses, and the loyalty the latter had to the former.
- This substantially changed the Placian attitude to the civil war and, after the emergence of Firestarters and their first victories in the North, Franz-Ferdinandt ot-Rosenkreuz forced the Thanesmeet to deny further contributions to the Borean army and treasure, maintaining official neutrality in the conflict. For this reason, he is the only Borean Grand Duke who preserved his power and position after the Firestarters' eventual victory. It helped substantially that Paulina, Archmage of the Eldritch Circle and secret supporter of the uprising, happened to be Franz-Ferdinandt's daughter.
Notes and triviaEdit
- A fearsome zweihander is a traditional weapon of Placian warriors, especially among the River Thanes and Narwa highlanders. It inspired such awe and fear in early Southern thanes, that from before the times of Everard Boreale it has been adopted by many other Southern nobles as a symbol of their power. It is traditionally carried whenever its master goes by a trained squire. The Queen of Borealis herself has one; it is wielded on her behalf by the Grand Master of the Everguard;
- One of the more peculiar cultures of Placia are the Narwa highlanders. Grave bearded men and mighily built women, they are uncharacteristically philosophical and attuned with nature, and place great emphasis on personal honour and face, even willing to commit ritual suicides to preserve it, not too different from the cold Nav of Luxa .