Gildanesti, Republic of
The republic is divided into three provinces (the Northern, Southern, and Coastal), each coinciding with one of the legions. The Coastal province which abuts the Sargassi Sea, is easily one of the richest, as 50% of all trade is conducted from the city of Twin Sails. The Northern Province borders the Kingdom of Etlarn and controls Black Drake Pass, the primary North-South passage into Etlarn. The Southern Province is the frontier province and is the first defense against the goblins, trolls, and other monstrous creatures of the southern marshes and swamps.
Life and Society
Life in the republic is probably the best in all of eastern Adlatum and the Midlands; this high standard of living comes at a price. All members of society are required to serve a minimum of five years service in the legions, while members of the Aristocracy must serve a minimum of ten years. Unlike any other country of Adlatum, every single adult can muster arms in the case of national emergency or invasion. Another practice uncommon to the societies of Adlatum is that of mercenary exportation. After the initial basic training all legionary recruits are offered regular service in one of the normal legions or Mercenary Service. With Mercenary Service come many privileges, including after ten years service, eligibility for election to the Common Bench.
There is no legal difference between a male and a female in Gildanesti society, and either sex may hold office or high rank within the legions both traditional and mercenary. The office of Lord Marshal is usually granted via appointment by the Synod, but on a few rare occasions public acclaim has influenced the decision.
While there is no state religion, both the faiths of Rosmera (Shinare) and Rig Mori (Habbakuk) predominate in the region and even have a small voice in the government of the republic. Other faiths are recognized with the churches of Camulos (Kiri-Jolith), Beli-Debu (Mishakal) and Tannu (Sirrion). During both the first and second silences, when the miracles of the gods where unavailable, faith never left the people of the republic, seeing not the abandonment of the gods but a time in which the gods left mortals to learn and grow on their own.
Although there are nearly all the goodly faiths of Krynn are represented, only the Churches of Rosmera and Rig Mori are official. The gods Beli-Debu, Camulos and Dusios Bardos (Branchala) are worshipped openly, but have no say in the government of the nation, as do the churches of Rosmera and Rig Mori.
By law and tradition, the republic is governed by an elected body called the Synod. The Synod in return, appoints and designates a Lord Marshal from the eligible aristocracy. The Lord Marshal is the supreme military commander and holds a seat in the Synod. The Lord Marshal may only vote, however, if the 30-member council ever becomes deadlocked. The Lord Marshal may submit items before the Synod for consideration such as bills, levies of taxes or manpower, just like any other member of the Synod. The Synod is divided into three branches: The Noble Bench which holds 15 of the 30 seats, the Common Bench which holds 10 of the 30 seats, and the Commanders' Bench which holds the final five seats. The Noble Bench is filled by the heads of the 15 legacy (Aristocratic) families and is considered a lifetime appointment while the Common Bench's members are elected by popular vote every 10 years. The Commanders' Bench is filled by the heads of the Mercenaries Guild, Headmaster of House Arcane, Matriarch of the House of Healing, Patriarch of the Church of Rosmera and Patriarch of the Church of Rig Mori. Traditionally the Lord Marshal is seated with the other members of the Commanders' Bench.
There are five full time legions of professional soldiers. The Northern Legion is headed by a regional commander appointed by the Lord Marshal, and is approved by the Synod as are the Southern and Coastal Legions. The Home Legion, which is stationed in and around Elinost itself, is headed directly by the Lord Marshal and his to command as he sees fit. The Mercenary Legion is hired out to foreign battles for monetary and diplomatic compensation.
Magic and Mysticism
A high concentration of ambient magic suffuses the lands that comprise the republic, so a tradition of focused arcane magic never truly took hold while the militaristic application of ambient magic eventually lent itself to the foundation of the House Arcane – an institution which intensely trains ambient users in specialized battle magic. Nearly all arcane magic users of the republic are members of House Arcane. Few "wild" sorcerers are to be found as the talent is almost always detected early, and the child sent off for training. Many sorcerers opt for service in the Mercenary Legion, often multiclassing as Coinswords of Shinare (as found in Holy Orders of the Stars).
As with ambient arcane power, mysticism has its place in the society of the republic, however many young mystics are nurtured and trained in the domains of Healing, Protection or War. Mystics who are more pacifistic are usually shepherded into the House of Healing, where they master the skills that enable them to serve as the legions' medical corps. Mystics of War and Protection domains often end up in the legions serving as aides and battlefield medics. The rare few natural mystics who show a talent for leadership are given officers' training so that they may serve as the eventual generals and region commanders of the republic.
Being of elven blood, the Gildanesti do not ignore the bardic arts. Many bards travel as part of the different units of the legions both as entertainers and as heralds and aide-de-camp, using their abilities to inspire their comrades. True clerics are common, and Gildanesti clerics tend to worship Camulos, Beli-Debu, Rosmera, or Rig Mori. There is little or no tension between the House of Healing and the clergy of Beli-Debu, although some senior healers think that the intensive training of the healer makes them superior to the "faith healers."
Major Geographical Features and Locations
The Cold Gates: A pass high in the Condor Range of mountains on the eastern border of the republic, which even at the height of summer is perpetually covered with frost and ice. Rumors persist of a dragon of enormous size and pearlescent white color lairs near the area, but no such sighting has been made in many years. Some travelers have also made reports of strange elves with wings also reside in the nearby peeks, but again these reports have yet to be confirmed.
Black Drake Pass: A large north-south pass through the southern mountains of Etlarn into the northern province of the republic. It is home to small dragon-like creatures commonly called Drakes.
The Condor Range of Mountains: The Condor Range is a series of granite and sandstone mountains that travel north to south along the eastern border of Gildanesti and the country of Onar.
The Bitter Wood: A large semitropical and deciduous rainforest that leads up to the alpine rainforests of the western slopes of the Condor Range. The woodlands are the traditional homeland of the Gildanesti, as it is all that remains of the primordial woodlands or Lost Valenesti. The Bitter Wood is the source of the beautiful Ebon and Rose woods that are exported to the Midlands. It is also the source of the Ironwood and Duskwood trees that have given the Gildanesti Recurve bows their superiority over even the best longbows of the west.
The Kunda March: The southern grass lands where the rainforest ends and the excess water run off heads south to the Sodbottom swamps and marshes. It is here that many Kunda wander with their hound drawn wagons and riding dogs, herding their flocks of grey wool sheep and shaggy haired goats. The Kunda travel in loose family groups or clans migrating with the availability of good grazing and the seasonal rains.
The Republic was founded toward the end of the Ogrewars fought between the Valenesti and the ogre and goblin hosts of the north of Adlatum. When reserves of elven soldiers began to thin, the Speaker of the Trees authorized the conscription of anyone with elven blood into the warrior caste of Valenesti, even though this was against tradition, and repugnant to many full-blooded elves. The conscripted half-elves where considered little more than slave soldiers and where often labeled Daub'dae'larden, or Arrow Catchers. Many half-elves where rough trained and marched to the front lines where intolerant generals would send them on missions whose obvious end would leave more than three-quarters of those sent dead or unable to fight ever again. Many generals refused healing to wounded half-elves, reserving divine magical healing for full-blooded elves alone. It was these intolerable conditions that lead Gildanau, a half-elf whose elven mother was distantly related to the Speaker of the Trees, mutinied after a particularly devastating foray against superior numbers of ogres, and the elven generals refusal to reinforce the half-elven troops for fear of wasting elven lives on a position that was of little concern and surely to be overrun. Gildanau and twenty survivors returned to camp and were quickly arrested for desertion of their posts, the now overrun position nearly a league behind enemy lines. Gildanau and his twenty managed to escape and free the other three hundred slave soldiers, both human and half-elven and fled to the far eastern mountains.
Over the next twenty years as the Speaker and the other nobles sought to escape the foretold destruction of Valenesti, Gildanau and his renegades managed to free scores of other slave soldiers safely to sanctuary in the eastern mountains. When Avanost was successfully wrenched from the face of Adlatum, Gildanau launched a final raid to free as many of the remaining half-elves and humans he could. His raid was an utter success, as a new ogre offensive struck south to the now leaderless elven armies of Valenesti. On the long trek lead by Gildanau into the mountains that would later be named the Condor Range; Gildanau received a vision of a majestic Blue Phoenix and after conferring with a warrior priest of the god Rig Mori determined that the site would be the new home of the war weary refugees. In honor of the God who chose to watch over the refugees Gildanau named the site Elinost, the City of God. As time passed and the Ogrewars dragged on, the inhabitants of Elinost took more and more half-elven refugees and escaped human slave soldiers, and the few elves of Valenesti who were appalled by the cruel conditions that the conscripted had been forced into fled with the escapees to Gildanau and his fortified refuge.
When a large tidal wave caused by the passage of the Graygem changed the ogres into the new minotaur race and devastated the lower plains of Valenesti, the wave also allowed the remaining elven warriors to escape on their arks. Gildanau determined that the refugees would forever live free from oppression and that they would continue all that was good of the fallen civilization. During the remainder of his life Gildanau organized the creation of the first Synod and served as the first Lord Marshal, thus creating the foundation of the legions from those half-elves and humans who had pledged allegiance to Gildanau and the 15 remaining soldiers of his 20 brave followers. When Gildanau died, the people gathered in a large assembly and proclaimed themselves Gildanesti, in honor of their lost leader and beloved Lord Marshal. Gildanesti remained relatively isolated with little contact with the world outside its boarders. Other than the seasonal clashes with the minotaur that had claimed all that remained of Valenesti, the Gildanesti had no contact with outside culture and slowly evolved into a truly unique people. They were a true blending of elven grace and longevity with human determination and ingenuity. Before the Flooding (as the Gildanesti call the Drowning) there had been no new injection of elven blood, and the Synod feared that the Gildanesti were all that remained of the ancient race of elves. After the Flooding the Gildanesti expanded to the newly formed Sargassi Sea, and there they encountered the Corinesti, the Graygem altered descendants of the Valenesti warrior caste who had enslaved their ancestors.
Rather than revive old hatreds, the Gildanesti made treaties with the Corinesti, who offered both access to other cultures around the Sargassi Sea and availability to trade. It was during this time that Corinesti blood mingled with Gildanesti, particularly in the aristocratic families when many marriages were made to bind and strengthen the intercultural alliance. This resulted in Gildanesti of noble blood having some features associated with the sea dwelling aquatic elves. In turn, the few Corinesti-human unions that resulted with continued Corinesti colonization of the inland sea brought some of the Corinesti features among the common populace of the Gildanesti Republic. After the Flooding, a time called the Years of Silence, when the gods seemed to cut off all contact with their priests, the Gildanesti discovered that their trained troops where in much demand by the less militant cultures of the north and around the Sargassi. An ingenious cleric of Rosmera founded the Mercenaries Guild and with the aid of the Lord Marshal successfully acquired several long-term contracts with neighboring Etlarn and Onar. These contracts were to provide mercenary troops and war mages for defense and participation in the numerous conflicts that Etlarn faced with rampaging dragons and other hazards to the profit of the republic making mercenary soldiers. These mercenaries were the highest export of the mineral poor republic.
As the Years of Silence drew to a close, a young Gildanesti nobleman named Calhan Mar'troon began to make a name for himself as a commander of a small outpost on the southern border. In time Calhan was promoted to the Command of the Northern Regions and eventually defeated a large black dragon that had been devastating the southern regions of Etlarn and the northern villages of the republic. The Lord Marshal, a corrupt follower of Smer-Tio (Hiddukel), along with some fellow corrupt members of the Synod began a conspiracy to eventually destroy the popular young commander who had ruined many of the illicit endeavors that had for years lined the pockets of the Lord Marshal and his cronies in the Synod. With the return of the gods, a time of relative peace descended on the republic, but relations with the Corinesti of the Sargassi began to deteriorate as the prejudices of lost Valenesti began to resurface among the Corinesti toward the half-elves of Gildanesti.
This time of unrest lead to the Corinesti trade wars. Corinesti privateers would board and raid any ship that had not paid sufficient bribes to the Speaker of the Tide, and often even to those that had paid tribute. When the Lord Marshal closed the Corinesti trade enclave, the Speaker of the Tide declared a trade embargo against all of Gildanesti, giving royal approval to unrelenting piracy against any and all Gildanesti trade vessels. At the same time, a paranoid and high strung Lord Marshal ordered a disastrous assassination attempt against the influential and popular Calhan, resulting in a revolt of the Northern Legions and a march on Elinost after evidence of the Lord Marshals involvement was discovered. When Calhan arrived with his loyal troops, it was to see that the Lord Marshal had summoned both the Home Legion and the Southern Legion to defend Elinost.
The Lord Marshal began a lengthy diatribe against Commander Mar'troon which resulted in a complete revolt of the Southern Legion, a Legion that had in the past served beneath the charismatic general; a general who had shared every hardship that those under his command had, even to sharing their meals and campfires, where it was common knowledge that the Lord Marshal had never served outside of Elinost a career politician and aristocrat. The Lord Marshal abandoned the field and sought protection behind the fortified walls of Elinost.
Seeing the cowardice of their commander and chief, the Home Legion sent heralds and envoys to Calhan. At that time Calhan presented his evidence against the Lord Marshal's failed assassination attempt as well as evidence of an illicit trade in drugs and slaves, which the Lord Marshal had participated in during the entire course of his appointment. When brought to trial for his crimes the Lord Marshal challenged his accuser to a duel, with the winner declared the innocent party and the loser the guilty. Calhan agreed, and although he won the duel, a wound from the poisoned blade of the Lord Marshal left Calhan weak and mortally wounded. As the former Lord Marshal bled out upon the floor of the Synod, bizarre creatures of chaos erupted all across the landscape. Disir from deep beneath the ground laid siege at the very gates of Elinost, while the coastal city of Twin Sails fought battles with bizarre lobstermen and hordes of undead that marched endlessly from the sea bed floor. The Days of Darkness had begun.
Over the intervening days, Calhan lead the forces of Gildanesti in battle after battle, eventually defeating the Disir and destroying an ancient Disir queen which had laired itself beneath the city of Elinost itself. When Elinost was free and the Disir Queen dead, Calhan collapsed just outside the doors of the Synod. It was here that a strange elf of unusual coloration and presence arrived at the fallen general's side. As the strange elf touched the dying leader, he was enveloped in azure flames that seemed to dance with no sign of heat or injury to the body of the fallen hero. As the strange elf stood to face the crowed of Gildanesti, the elf proclaimed in a powerful voice, "Behold the Lord Marshal of Gildanesti," and he transformed into a large phoenix of brightest blue flame and launched itself off into the sky, leaving behind a dazed and fully healed Calhan.
As the new Lord Marshal, Calhan spent the next four months reclaiming the undead infested city of Twin Sails and other chaos-touched areas left over from the initial conflict. When the Days of Darkness abruptly ended, Gildanesti entered the Second Silence and a period of six years also called the Time of the Prophet. During this time Calhan rebuilt the fractured alliance with the Corinesti, a much-changed people who had suffered horribly under the near constant plague of undead and lobstermen. He even married the daughter of the Speaker of the Tide as a sign of reconciliation between the two peoples.
As religious fervor across the Midlands, promoted more and more pro-human policies the Gildanesti began to build stronger ties with Etlarn and Onar, banding together for mutual defense against the increasingly racist and inflammatory rhetoric of the Midland's Great Sovereign Lord and his followers. On the Night of the Return, the Priests of Rosmera and Rig Mori brought news of the theft of Krynn by Darga Nos (Takhisis), and that it had been she that had been behind Montegron of the Midlands and all the anti-elven policies that had cropped up all across the Midlands. The republic is in strong hands for the first time in over a century, and backed by popular support a thorough investigation into the unsavory practices of some members of the Synod under the previous Lord Marshal is underway.
Regional Commanders often act as the Provisional Governors of the cities they reside in.
Gildanost (Metropolis 98,897): The largest settlement of the southern province, Gildanost was founded soon after The Flooding, as the then southern most boundary of the Republic. Gildanost is the regimental home of the Southern Legion and provides protection to the Kunda nomads who wander the grasslands to the west. The current regional commander is Amatol Nordis (LN male Onarian human ranger 9).
Helionost (Metropolis 47,497): This city is not part of Gildanesti in any official capacity. Constructed soon after the Starfall, the Avanesti have made their mountaintop city their home. So far the Avanesti have kept relatively to themselves with only minimal contact with local authorities. The Gildanesti government has no plans on interfering with the winged elves so long as they do not interfere with them.
Twin Sails (Metropolis 76,459): The second largest settlement of the entire Republic. Twin Sails is also the home of both the Coastal Legion and the Corinesti trade enclave. The Midlanders call Twin Sails the Gateway City, as it is only way for the silk trade of Onar to reach the western countries of the Sargassi Sea. The current regional commander is Fionnovara Del'Mor (NG male Gildanesti mariner 4/mystic of Water 6).
Twelve Towers (Large City 24,875): The gem of the north is the home of the Northern Legion and the most cosmopolitan of the cities of Gildanesti. It is here that the Mercenaries Guild has its headquarters and all the mercenary companies receive there training after the initial recruit training of the legions. The regional commander is Dharma Rheon (LG female Gildanesti fighter 6/Coinsword of Shinare 5). The head of the Mercenary Guild is Duncan Rheon (LN male Gildanesti cleric 5/Coinsword of Shinare 10), father to the northern commander.
University City (Large City 23,799): Located south of Twelve Towers along the trade road to Elinost, lay University City. It is here that the House of Healing, House of War, and the House Arcane have their complexes. Here the officers and special units of the Legions of Gildanesti are trained and eventually assigned to there respective legions. Though unofficial, the Hall of Song also makes its home here where all the bards of the republic are trained. Although there is no regional commander, the government of University City is overseen by a council of the Headmasters of the three main Houses. Captain Commander Llano Morgan (LG male Onarian human fighter 11/mystic of War 5), head of the House of War; Mistress Kinta (NG female Gildanesti cleric of Mishakal 17), head of the House of Healing; and Damogan Prell (LN male Gildanesti wizard 12/Coinsword of Shinare 4), head of the House Arcane govern the city jointly.