Fondly dedicated to His Excellency Trevor Malkavon, Baron Arkovnia
Concerning the Estates of Travance:
The Barony of Travance is commonly divided into four estates, with the Baron’s personal estate comprising the towns of Valdalis and Travance, and the vital road that connects to the rift passage and Old Kormyre. The estates lie around Travance Proper as though the four corners of its realm. To the northwest lies Kaladonia, to the northeast, Pendarvin, to the southeast, Alisandria, and to the southwest, Dreaga’mire. A small town to the west of Alisandria and Pendarvin, established first as Mordavia and now named Ostcliff, has been granted noble charter in the hope that it may evolve into a fifth estate and expand the Barony and the Kingdom further still into these long forgotten lands.
Of the Baron's Estate
The Baron's Estate is for the most part a narrow sliver of land that stretches from Travance Proper at the center of the Barony to the rift gate at the western edge. The land is lightly wooded where it is not developed, and bears no geographic features of great notice.
The Baron's Estate has three towns of significance: Travance, Valdalis, and Stonefall.
The town of Valdalis (also simply referred to as The Crossroads) lies to the west of Travance Proper, on the eastern bank of the River Aris as it passes from Kaladonia into Drega’mire, and is more important for the roads that converge upon it than for any amenities it has to offer. The town is modest in size, with fewer than two thousand inhabitants, most of them Kormyrian.
The town of Travance, or Travance Proper, is the capital of the Barony and the residence of the Baron of Travance by custom. Unsurprisingly, Travance Proper is the most populous town in the entire Barony, and exhibits some of the most prominent buildings on this side of the rift, including the Baron's personal manor, a bank, an impressive forum for the sale of goods, and both a church and a monastery. The presence of the monastery, the largest religious structure in the Barony, marks Travance Proper as the spiritual center as well as the political center of Travance. Travance Proper is also noteworthy as the location of a monthly feast hosted by the Baron, which provides a generous meal to all who make the journey to town, and at which all nobles and freemen are welcome to seat themselves and dine in the presence of the Baron. The town is home to over thirteen thousand people, and has the most diverse population of any town in Travance, and quite possibly in all of Kormyre. Yet, the strong majority of the people are Kormyrian.
Stonefall is both the newest and one of the oldest populated areas in Travance. It was originally built as an asylum some 15 years ago near the border of Drega’mire, and kept hidden from the rest of the Barony. Its patients suffered terrible abuses, and eventually broke free in a riot in April of 1215 which leveled most of the structure. It has since been rebuilt as a walled city centered around a massive crystal. Though there is room for thousands, it is still mostly empty and looking for new residents. Rumor has it that the city’s administrators are particularly welcoming to those who subscribe to “alternative” outlooks on life.
The Baron's Estate is one which thrives on politics and religion, and it has not the land area to produce a wide variety of goods. Most of the people that inhabit its three towns are tradesmen, civil servants, freeman adventurers, and merchants. In Travance Proper, fine spirits, excellent beer, and leather goods are amongst its common exports. Recently, Valdalis has seen its fortunes rise with the construction of a large number of import companies, desperate for goods from Old Kormyre and the rest of Palamydia. However, perhaps the Estates' greatest export is gold, of which the freeman adventurers of Travance seem to discover so much of, and of which the guardians of Old Kormyre are ever concerned.
The Barony of Travance is currently ruled by Baron Victor Sylus, who was granted the title and lands during the Winterdark Ball in October of 1215.
Kaladonia borders the rift on its western side and shares a long and uneasy northern border with the goblinoid empire of New Gaaldron. The southern border adjoins the Baron’s Estate along the Rift Road, and its eastern border, where the land is a vast burnt and barren plain, is shared with Pendarvin.
Kaladonia is famous for its deep woods, which are a source of frequent conflict between the sylvan elves and faerie kin who travel great distances to enjoy and cherish them, and the humans of Kormyre who travel great distances to cut them down for profitable use. Apart from its woods, the most noteworthy geographical feature of Kaladonia is the River Aris, which has its source somewhere within New Gaaldron and flows through Kaladonia and thence through Dreaga’mire and into the Quail Straits. The Aris is an important route for the transport of Kaladonia’s lumber, which is vital throughout the Barony.
Kaladonia has five towns of noteworthy size, Elvalion, Niedrilion, Gwenllyn on Aris, Auralion, and Fyrithil.
The town of Elvalion is the capital of Kaladonia, and is situated slightly north and west of Valdalis, not far from the west bank of the River Aris. The town bears the usual features of being a seat of power and is most noted for its Gaian abbey, the second largest religious building in the Barony. Elvalion is the most populous town in Kaladonia, but with just over fifteen hundred residents it is modest in size.
The town of Niedrilion is the northernmost settlement in the Barony, and enjoys the seclusion of deep, ancient woods all around it. Useful herbs are grown in abundance in carefully maintained gardens surrounding Niedrilion. The people of this town, just over a thousand, are bold and independent with a love of nature.
The town of Gwenllyn on Aris is the only town in Kaladonia in which Kormyrians outnumber Sylvan Elves and Faerie Kin. It rests upon the eastern bank of the Aris, due north of Valdalis. Excellent quality stone for construction is cut from a nearby quarry, and a tannery produces good leather from the hides of game caught in the woods that hug the western bank of the river. Just over a thousand people reside in the town, secure behind its wall of wood and earth. Gwenllyn on Aris is by far the most productive and profitable town in Kaladonia, though for this reputation many of the estate’s inhabitants think it is a blight upon the land.
The town of Auralion is the closest of Kaladonia’s towns to Travance Proper, just to the northwest. Its deep woods are thoroughly stalked for game, and a smokehouse in the town produces a modest quantity of meat for export. The population of Auralion is just over eleven hundred people.
The town of Fyrithil is the westernmost of the towns of Kaladonia, and can be found near the rift edge where it meets with the road to the rift passage. Fyrithil is a mill town of about twelve hundred people that produces a modest quantity of lumber which is typically loaded directly onto wagons bound for Old Kormyre and the best prices to be had for quality hardwood. In addition to the lumbermen, a large number of Sylvan Elves pass through the town going to and from the great western forests of Kaladonia.
Kaladonia struggles to be two places at once. Its timber, stone, and game are both useful and valuable resources that many inhabitants seek to profit from and that other lands depend upon. Yet its natural beauty and vast, unspoiled tracks of wilderness draw another kind of resident entirely, a kind that prefers that things be left as Arawyn intended them. Kaladonia is capable of producing goods without destroying their cradle, as the fine herbs of Niedrilion attest, but there is nevertheless a constant strain between those who see gold where the others see tranquility.
Gideon Weaveforger was named Lord of Kaladonia at the Winterdark Ball of 1214, after a few months as the Land's Knight Protector. He rules with his new wife, Lady Kleidin Laurent-Belmont, at his side.
Along its northern and northeastern border, Pendarvin borders the eastern edge of New Gaaldron and a collection of barbarian tribes. The western border is shared with Kaladonia, while the southern border is shared with Alisandria. Some of the land to the east of Pendarvin has been explored and secured by the expeditionary force of His Grace Sebastian Everest, Count Winterdark, but much of it remains wild and mysterious.
Pendarvin is noted for its snow-capped mountains, blanketed in pine forests. The only stretch of level ground is to the southwest, where the Cracked Plains lie, and little else. The River Hope has its source in Pendarvin, at Honor’s Peak, and the mineral rich waters it carries provide Alisandria with its enviably fertile soil. Pendarvin is home to the largest concentrations of barbarians, dwarves, and celts in the Barony, and also attracts sylvan elves and faerie kin.
Pendarvin has five towns of noteworthy size, Honor’s Peak, Skara Gothe, Arnwuhl, Alomiolande, and Vindholm.
The town of Honor’s Peak is the capital of Pendarvin and is eponymously named for the mountain upon which it is built. It is situated in the northwest of Pendarvin, and is famous for its stout ring wall and barbican, constructed by the dwarves who make it their home. Mines of gemstones and precious metals produce the chief exports of Honor’s Peak. Despite the pronounced dwarven influence in the architecture of the town, the population Honor’s Peak is a diverse mix, with Kormyrians accounting for just under half of the twenty-eight hundred people that live there.
The town of Skara Gothe is located east of the Cracked Plains, and its thirteen hundred inhabitants are an industrious group, in the business of hunting game, quarrying stone, or cultivating coffee, which prospers in the dry climate of the high elevations in this region.
The town of Arnwuhl is a mining community that produces quarried stone, precious metals, and gemstones. Dwarves are in their greatest concentration in Arnwuhl, making up fifteen percent of the approximately one thousand residents. Arnwuhl is also home to a church of Brazen, the largest such place of worship for that deity in the Barony.
The town of Alomiolande is a waypoint for hunters and trappers that roam the thick woods north of the Cracked Plains. Occasionally, the population swells to its fullest, about eleven hundred, as herds of sheep are brought in for shearing.
The town of Vindholm is the easternmost settlement in the Barony, and often the source of trouble for Pendarvin’s lord. The population of just under a thousand is predominately barbarian, and often influenced by the neighboring Venir tribe, who are known Aguara worshippers. Only the heartiest or most troubled of souls will find what they are looking for in this fierce wilderness.
Recently, a new settlement has been founded in Pendarvin: Culpepper Farms.
To a lesser extent, Pendarvin suffers from some of the same challenges as Kaladonia. Although the dwarves of Pendarvin are more aggressive and determined in their industry than the Kormyrians that seek to exploit Kaladonia, they do their damage underground, carving deep mines beneath the mountains that go largely unnoticed above. Barbarians, the other great minority population of Pendarvin, are also less troubled by these works than the sylvan elves and faerie kin of Kaladonia. While Pendarvin produces many goods for export, its commercial infrastructure is poorly developed and its people tend to favor barter to currency, leaving the estate much poorer than it should be.
Ardin Silverbow was named Lord of Pendarvin at the Winterdark Ball of 1214, after several months as its Knight Protector. Though married for some time, he also officially introduced his wife Mirwen Silverbow as the Lady of Pendarvin, to be known as the Shining Jewel of Pendarvin.
Alisandria borders Pendarvin to the north and Dreaga’mire to the west, and has largely uncharted territory across its eastern and southern borders, which are often the sources of wild goblinoids and other nomadic monsters that enter Travance and cause havoc.
Alisandria is the breadbasket of Travance, with vast, open fields well nourished by the River Hope and its numerous small tributaries. The population is very predominately Kormyrian, more than in any of the other estates of Travance, with the largest minority being Hobbits. Alisandria is also, tragically, blighted by the domain of an undead tyrant who styles himself Lord Fallow, and who claims, most fraudulently, to have righteous dominion over all of Travance. The nobility and freemen adventurers of Travance are ever seeking a means to undo Fallow’s grip on the land and to destroy him forever, but he has proved to be an enduring and implacable enemy thus far.
Alisandria has five towns of noteworthy size, Caer Bridaeg, Fairglen on Hope, Lennorton, Abergavenny, and Daromae
The town of Caer Bridaeg is the capital of Alisandria, and lies centrally within the estate, between two tributaries of the River Hope, called Stag Run and Deep Run. The population of thirty three hundred is the highest of any of Alisandria’s towns. Caer Bridaeg has a long history as a home to mages, and boasts a fine academy as well as a strong Mage’s Guild presence. A vineyard in the surrounding hills allows for the production of wine for export, while the great food stores, including a massive granary and a smokehouse, make Caer Bridaeg a highly important town.
The western Alisandrian town of Fairglen on Hope is second to Caer Bridaeg in population and development, with about twenty two hundred residents, almost all of whom are Kormyrian. Its market is the largest in Alisandria and utilizes a small but cunningly designed set of canals that allow barges navigating the Hope to come and go easily.
The town of Lennorton is the southernmost town in Alisandria and is blessed with a usually tranquil wilderness beyond its border. The population of about sixteen hundred has one of the larger halfling minorities in all of Travance, exceeded only by Abergavenny. Lennorton is a sleepy farming village that enjoys being out of the way of most trouble.
The town of Abergavenny is home to the largest halfling population, by percentage of the whole, in Travance. Of the nearly seventeen hundred residents, just over two hundred and eighty of them are halflings. Like its southern cousin, Lennorton, Abergavenny tends to be a quiet place, except around the frequently visited Pipe and Leaf Inn. Trouble sometimes brews across its western border, but it has been a long time since a serious threat arose from those parts.
The town of Daromae is in the southeastern corner of Alisandria and is home to rapidly developing orchards of apples and pears. The population of fourteen hundred is almost entirely Kormyrian. Frequent dangers from beyond the borders of Travance make Daromae an occasionally risky place to live and prove to be far too much excitement for most sensible halflings.
Alisandria’s purpose within the economy of Travance is clear: to put food on tables. The inhabitants of Alisandria are almost exclusively people for whom this industry is their happiest lot in life, and therefore Alisandria is the most harmonious estate in Travance within its own borders. The problem that Alisandria faces is that its wealth of food production makes it a constant target for raiding parties of all sorts of wild monsters, and its importance as the food supplier for most of the rest of the barony makes it a frequent strategic target of the Kingdom’s enemies when war breaks out.
Alisandria is held by His Lordship Lucius Blackthorne, Lord Alisandria, a Kormyrian by birth. Lord Lucius rose to his position through the fame and accomplishment earned from his Black Orchid Trading Company, a merchant venture with his wife, Cassandra, Lady Alisandria, and other friends and allies from their home province of Arkovnia. Lord Lucius is unlikely to face many internal challenges in Alisandria, but his handling of military affairs and the security with which he holds Alisandria will be of paramount important to everyone. In addition, he would surely go down in history books as a hero for all time should he finally purge his land of the curse of Lord Fallow.
Drega’mire borders the rift and the Quail Straits on its western side, with the calmest part of the straits being situated very near the southern extent of Drega’mire’s boundary. The territory along its southern border is largely uncharted, though recently a small colony of Londwynians has been established there. The northern border adjoins the Baron’s Estate along the Rift Road, and its eastern border is shared with Alisandria.
Although Drega’mire is often referred to, derogatorily, as a giant swamp, it is in fact a mixture of wetlands, with swamp dominating the western portion of the estate and giving way to marsh in the east, where eventually the land rises and dries along the border of Alisandria. These wetlands are all fresh water, fed by the River Aris, which becomes far more shallow and broad in Dreaga’mire than it lies in Kaladonia and further north. Such land is not generally desirable for most forms of commercial activity, and Drega’mire might be nothing more than a foul-smelling wilderness but for its access to the Quail Straits, one of only two points of access between the Barony of Travance and the rest of the civilized world.
Drega’mire has five towns of noteworthy size, Oringard, Port Valandra, New Avondale, Crimhagen, and Stortmouth.
The town of Oringard is the capital of Drega’mire, though it is not the largest town in the estate. Centrally located within Drega’mire on the bank of the River Aris, Oringard is little more than a crossroads, and most of the nearly thirty three hundred inhabitants earn their living by providing services for the caravans that pass through from Port Valandra to Travance Proper and beyond.
The town of Port Valandra is the second-most populous settlement in the Barony, after Travance Proper, with a population of nearly seven thousand. The docks are a continuous bustle of activity as ships load and unload as quickly as possible, to make room for the next ship anchored out in the straits. Not surprisingly, the port is home to the most developed establishments of recreation in the Barony, and also hosts, more respectably, an exchange that manages the complex finances that often accompany the industry of shipping.
The town of New Avondale is a small wayside village of just under seven hundred inhabitants that is situated near the rift gate. It offers some basic amenities for travelers seeking a place to rest after the long journey across the rift, but most large trade caravans or diplomatic missions proceed on to Valdalis or all the way to Travance Proper, where the night air isn’t as noisome and humid.
The town of Crimhagen is a sullen and desolate place northeast of Oringard, surrounded by a sagging wooden palisade and overcrowded. Almost thirteen hundred people dwell in Crimhagen, most earning a living at the nearby salt mine. To say that Crimhagen is a dull and humorless place is to say that the King wears nice clothes.
The town of Stortmouth is a brewery town located just east of Port Valandra. The four hundred residents of Stortmouth are a jovial people that enjoy partaking of their beer every bit as much as they enjoy making it. In late 1213, an attack upon the town of Stortmouth devastated the local population, but they are a hearty folk and pledge to recover quickly.
For the most part, the pattern of commerce in Drega’mire is the import of goods and the export of gold. This excites the merchants that underwrite the numerous trade fleets that come and go, and it excites also the pirates who lie in wait along the southern coasts of the Quail Straits. Far less enthusiastic are the nobility and rulers of other parts of the world, for the selfish among them are frustrated at the competition for goods that they covet and at the diminishing value of gold, while the wise among them fear a general economic ruin from this same phenomenon. The astonishing flow of currency and travelers through Drega’mire makes it a very inviting place for criminals, which makes maintaining order a constant challenge for those in charge.
Drega’mire is held by His Lordship Aleister Tartaros, Lord Drega'Mire. Lord Tartaros is the only remaining member of the previous regime, almost all of whom were convicted of treason and driven from Kormyre. While enforcing and maintaining order will always be a significant challenge for the Lord of Drega’mire, perhaps the greatest challenge is bestowing some meaning to the land other than as a place that everyone desires to pass through on their way to and from the sea and the markets beyond. Not only is such a meaning necessary for the civic pride of the people, but it will also be the only bulwark against economic strife, which will surely afflict the lifeblood of Drega’mire, currency, before it afflicts the lumber, ore, and grain that are the lifeblood of Travance’s other estates.
The land of Mordavia (renamed Ostcliff by Lord Na in May 1212) is located east of Target Peak and south of the Skyline Mountains. It is a sloping land leading down from the mountains into deep and dark forested terrains. Many dangers lurk throughout shrouded in the fear and mystery of these forests. Contained within, yet to be seen rivers and lakes remain hidden and are barely passable. The southern reaches and western areas are filled with perilous unexplored territories populated mainly by carnivorous flora and equally vicious fauna. These flora and fauna are feared greatly by the locals, but it is believed there are far more dire and nightmarish creatures harbored within the forests. There are, however, open plains located near the northern mountains, and like the rest of the land, these have yet to be developed, one such area being around the ancient keep of Valinro.
Located in the center of Ostcliff is the capital Mordavia Proper; which has thirty-three hundred people and is roughly the size of Caer Bridaeg in Alisandria. The Capital of Ostcliff is a large sprawling walled citadel. Two rows of wooden palisades mixed with complex earth works barriers make up most of the key defenses of the outer capital. Unlike the other lands of Travance, the capital Mordavia was forced in active combat and has been battled tested time and time over.
The people of Ostcliff are a hardy, proud people. They survive living off of war rations and while the other lands produce things valued in trade, Ostcliff's great resource is in its people and the fruits of their labors.
Since the fall of Sir Malcolm Germaine, the land was given temporary stewardship to captain of the town guard, Marshall Owens. He still holds the position of captain to this day. The people of Ostcliff retain the ideals preached by Sir Malcolm Germaine which echoed the valor of self-reliance. This has left them agnostic, hardy, and eager to perform great labor in the harsh land. They are mostly of Kormyerian descent, and the first generation of newborns is being raised as of June 1212. They are well versed in the construction of siege works, the art of magic, and the art of warfare.
Other than Mordavia Proper, Ostcliff has but one other town of noteworthy size, Valinro.
Valinro was an abandoned ancient fort found in the mountain range shared with Pendarvin . It is nearly entirely ruins with a small settlement of approximately eight hundred earnest and brave Mordavians around the edge of the mountain fort. It was not made by men of this era, but was rather discovered later after the passing of the Rift. It is close enough to the capital of Ostcliff to supply the people with a limited amount of food and simple goods.
Ostcliff is held by Lord Rudolf Von Kreutzdorf, who was given control of the land during the Winterdark Ball of 1215 following his tenure as Seneschal of Travance.