Kingdom of Arlora
The war-torn Kingdom of Arlora is an independent territory located in the north-western region of New Ceardia. For almost three centuries, it has been at constant war with the people of the Kingdom of Torse. This has led to a long-term volatile political situation and has strained a number of Arlora’s ties with other territories in New Ceardia. However, considering the war’s longevity, the effects are no longer felt as strongly, and both sides seem content with the present stalemate. In spite of the war, those residing in the capital city of Byreport have managed to live prosperous lives, though the effects of war are certainly visible in terms of the economic situation elsewhere, and taxes are often a point for dispute. More recently, the kingdom has grown after an influx of refugees from Ceardia.
Before the Cataclysm, the Kingdom of Arlora was little more than a fledgling kingdom led by a number of kings over the years, one of the numerous factions in contention for resources found on the coasts of New Ceardia. It was due to the lack of reliance on magic that the Kingdom of Arlora surfaced as the mightiest kingdom in the region after the Cataclysm and the resulting partial loss of magic. Gradually growing and taking over neighbouring factions under King Wulfstan, Arlora rapidly turned from what was once a little village to a Kingdom spanning four separate isles, all in around the timeframe of half a century. During this time, it became an official state, with Byreport as its capital and Old Frisian as the state language. The language had evolved from various other Caerdian subcultures, but is currently known simply as Frisian in its modern-day form. As the state reached its full size, approaching 50AC, tensions with the neighbouring Kingdom of Torse rose. This led to war. It is often believed that tension over land borders is what caused the war with Torse, with the first recorded battle occurring in 53 A.C. The war has been a constant in the history of the Kingdom, existing only 10 years less than Arlora itself.
For 50 years the war continued and the biggest climax occurred in 107 A.C., while Arlora was under the rule of King Eadweard. He was a militant king, and he inspired his people with acts of might and powerful speeches. He turned farmers into soldiers and led a mass offensive on Torse. Travelling by boat, they were unfortunate in that spies had managed to infiltrate the fleet and had planted a navigator with loyalty to Torse on the flagship, who led the naval force into a raging hurricane. A majority of the fleet was lost, with only one ship returning. The fate of those onboard was dire: no survivors were recorded. King Eadweard was among those who lost their lives. This loss of naval capacity weakened Arlora, as well as its war efforts.The new King Wilfred brought about great economic and social change, focusing on improving the crafting and mercantile sectors. His approach to the war was simply to maintain a strong defense. He made occasional peace attempts, but the King of Torse was entirely resilient.
The heirs of King Wilfred followed his legacy, and a long period of internal peace continued, but this was the calm before the storm. The Kingdom of Torse made a move in 178 A.C., leading a major invasion into the eastern isle of Skornfell, which was initially successful, but was met by a strong defence as they collided with King Eadric. The Torsian forces were defeated, but brought heavy losses to the Arloran people. Since then, both forces have realised the losses made from such highly concentrated offensives, and so battles became smaller and quicker, usually with little or no ground gained or lost.
More recently, the largest event of note is the great migration of Ceardian refugees into the state. Tensions rose with the sudden influx of people, and some citizens feared overcrowding, but seeing the skill of these refugees, being craftsmen mostly, King Aethelbert urged the two distinct cultural groups to live in peace. By now, the integration is largely seamless, as the heritage of both peoples, while independently important to them, was quite similar. The increase in skilled labourers has aided the Kingdom in the war with Torse, as Arlora benefited most from the refugees, being closer to Ceardia than Torse. The influx provided more troops and civilians to provide supplies to the front lines. The economy is now considerably stronger as a result of the decreased focus on war, and the more civilized portions of the society are gradually becoming more and more akin to the Regalia’s dominating world power.
The Kingdom of Arlora is a partial translation of the Old Frisian name, Ríce Alora, meaning Kingdom of the Alder Tree. The modern Frisian name is very similar, being Ríce Sylfum Alor. This originates from one of the legends of the Kingdom’s founding. Byreport originates from the Old Frisian for “wood port.” This refers to how the city is a major lumber port in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Arlora spans four separate islands, Stokrin, Ofthyrd, Theskyn and Skornfell. Stokrin, while being the second smallest, is the most densely populated island, upon which the capital city Byreport is located. This small island is the western isle of the island chain, to the North is the slightly smaller Theskyn, and in the centre is the largest island in the chain, Ofthyrd. Finally, the eastern-most island in the chain is Skornfell. The island chain can be found in to the West of New Ceardia, jutting out towards the Regalian Archipelago.
The climate in Arlora is moderate, and weather rarely provides problems to the kingdom. Rain falls lightly but quite frequently. Stokrin is the most habitable island, with rolling hills that stretch out to the oceans on all sides. Sandy beaches border the waters, interceded occasionally by small cliffs. Due to the very gentle slope up from the water, the tide can reach quite far up the shores. Quite plain and unvarying, the gentle landscape of the island has led to a high settlement density, and it is the only settled area in the region with stone roads. Other islands are sharper in their terrain, and cliffs rise up towards the sea before the exposed limestone is undercut by the harsh waves.
- Grand Hall of Byreport
- A building constructed with ostentatiousness atypical of Arlora, this hall is the location of many public events. It is where many festivals take place, the king holds public audiences, and is more generally a place for the people of Byreport to trade, form contracts and, for the women, gossip.
- Cwalu Brycg
- The name ‘Cwalu Brycg’ is the Frisian term for death bridge, and many prefer this Frisian form as it feels rather more personal. Many local people have a heritage intertwined with the Frisian language, and thus the use of Frisian seems, to them, more intimate and appropriate.
- Katedrale Cyning
- Also known as the King’s Cathedral, Katedrale Cyning is located on the central isle of Ofthyrd, and is a place of mourning. It is where widows and mothers go to mourn the loss of their husbands and sons, and it is thus that the river flowing beside has been named ‘Sorowiver,’ a contraction of sorrow and river.
- Mount Dom
- Likely to be the tallest mountain across the expanse of the chain, Mount Dom is found on the easternmost isle of Ofthyrd, and stretches far beyond the clouds. A number of local legends surround it, most telling of doom and ill omens due to a local hostile settlement of creatures.
The Kingdom of Arlora is an absolute monarchy. The King is the head of state with all power and no restrictions, though he must keep his people’s wishes in fear of revolution. He has advisers as well as a branch of aristocrats who take responsibility for their own smaller areas across the lands. Below this, merchants, craftsmen and labourers are in descending order, though they have the same essential rights as each other, even if the wealthier subjects receive preferential treatment.
List of Rulers
- King Wulfstan: 6 A.C. - 32 A.C.
- King Wystan: 33 A.C. - 61 A.C.
- King Aethelbert I: 62 A.C. - 96 A.C.
- King Eadweard: 97 A.C. - 107 A.C.
- King Wilfred: 108 A.C. - 148 A.C.
- King Sigeweard: 149 A.C. - 172 A.C.
- King Eadric: 173 A.C. - 201 A.C.
- Various kings of Eadric’s Dynasty: 202 A.C. - 278 A.C.
- King Aethelbert II: 279 A.C. - 302 A.C.
Most notable amongst the state’s foreign relations is the war with Torse. The feud has been going on since shortly after the Cataclysm; currently there are no attempts at communication between the sides. Arlora’s other neighbouring state is the Kingdom of Silver Shores, with which Arlora has reasonable trade ties. Politically indifferent, the two countries are by no means allies, but communications are strengthened by the volume of trade across the border. Arlora conducts much of its main trade with Regalia, but there is an ever present danger of Torse’s privateers attacking the ships. Regalia largely ignores Arlora otherwise, wishing to avoid the volatile political situation.
The State’s trained military, the Arloran Militia, is generally focused on defending the isles from Torsian attacks. They number roughly 5,000, although there a high average number of deaths per year, and Kings often demand large scale recruitment drives to keep numbers up. The Arloran Militia is well skilled in naval warfare, and although their fleet is only moderate in size, the ships are of high quality. Much of the navy’s time is taken up by trade escorts for ships passing near Torse, though they also carry out minor raids in Torse and defend from the Torsian navy. On land, the militia is well equipped, if slightly less skilled. The other important factor in Arlora’s military capability is the common use of untrained citizens to fight or work as guards. Other than Guard commanders, the entirety of the Arloran Guard is generally untrained and poorly equipped.
Economy and Technology
The Kingdom of Arlora uses the Regalian regal for trade. Although military spending can absorb a lot of the kingdom’s funds, the people are fairly well off. Abundant fish supplies make fishing an important industry, while natural resources are lacking for the many craftsmen on the isles. As such, many craftsmen use imported raw materials to make fine products, though difficulties do occur in transport due to attacks from Torse. The soil is not very fertile, yet wheat is still locally grown, but the dietary staple of Arlora is commonly fish. The biggest imports are raw materials such as coal, metal ores and stone. Many hand-crafted goods such as furniture and weaponry are exported from Arlora, and although these goods is not as fine as many other artisans make, the craftsmen of Arlora make high quantities of these goods. Within the state, technological capabilities are quite consistent with the general Ailor population. Although they do not make much use of it due to the high cost, Arlora can produce, purchase and use much of the most recent military gear, and both their large war ships and smaller, more agile ships reflect this with their quality. The people of Arlora are not well acquainted to some of the latest mechanical workings, however, as airships are not even recognized by a large number of the populace.
- Ailor - 84%
- Talar - 7%
- Tigran - 5%
- Other - 4%
Despite the rich unified heritage, the language of Arlora is diverse in terms of dialects, and it is only in the past century or so that common tongue has grasped the nation. Strong remainders of Frisian dialect in the culture remain common. The Frisian culture is a Ceardian subculture, and the language is similar to its Ceardian relatives.. Education upon the isles is of a low importance, and almost all men follow in the trade of their father, with women being married off when they reach the age of 15. The buildings are typically simple, yet strong houses made of stone on the main island, Stokrin, although some grander marble buildings exist in Byreport. On the other islands, most buildings are simple pine wood cabins, chopped and built by the owners or their ancestors.
The local demography is heavily in favor of Ailor, yet a small number of other races are present, usually as craftsmen or merchants. Although believed to be inferior, and with the occasional tension, the scorn shown towards non-Ailors is not as strong as in other places, thanks to the skills offered by these other races. The women also have a greater standing in the populace in terms of respect and work, given that a large portion of the men are at war, and a number of the women are widowed. Laws throughout Arlora are few and poorly enforced, thus theft is very common.
The primary religion in the Kingdom is Old Gods, though the state is not too concerned with religion, and worship of other deities is quite common. Unionism is particularly popular given the proximity of Arlora to the Regalian Archipelago. However, within local Old Gods worship, a key belief is the Union of Water. Sacrifices of livestock are offered up to Alu, whilst thieves commonly pay tribute to Bep. The importance of water is clear as the lands are surrounded by it, and they see the importance of worshipping to please Alu primarily to stave off death.
The colors of Arlora are ocean blue and midnight black, which are respectively representative of the water surrounding the isles and the dark death of Alu. The flag is a two-tone rectangle with blue at the top and black at the bottom.
- One small village in Arlora famously declared allegiance to Torse, and with a lull in the war occurring, a huge portion of the Arloran Guard descended onto this tiny village, razing it to the ground and quite coincidentally leaving only the Temple of Alu behind.
- King Brysan of King Eadric’s lineage renounced the crown quickly as his head broke out in a rash when he wore the crown. He was duly instructed that this was a bad omen, but unbeknownst to him he was actually allergic to the nickel the crown was lined with.
- A popular Arloran drinking song speaks of all the unspeakable acts that the people of Arlora will perform to their Torsian enemies when they win the war. Children are generally not taught the song, for obvious reasons, though due to the popularity of it most learn it at an early age.