Conquered between the years of 327 CM – 340 CM by Emperor Temmeras’ eldest son Emperor Meldraine in a blood soaked campaign that stretched the better part of 13 years, taxing the budding empire’s moral and financial spirit. After many successes and failures the final city state of Baskhold fell to the imperial soldiers on the 2nd Midspan of Firedawn 340 CM.
The rolling fields of the Interior stretch from the Heman Dal Mountains in the East to the Red Fold Badlands in the West, from the Golden Hills in the South, to the mighty Skeld River in the North. Covering nearly 15% of the total area of Tharstelding these lands are comprised mainly of fertile farms, meandering rivers and large tracts of wilderness. Hurricanes and thunder storms are common in this region during the months of Firedawn, Rivers, Songdrift and the Last Bloom. Extreme winters and summers with chilly falls and violent springs teach the people of these lands resilience and instill strong survival instincts.
Shields End: Shield’s End, also called the Eastern Empire is the largest of the folded kingdoms in total land area. Its Western border starts in the middle of the empire and runs to the mighty Heman Dal Mountains in the East. Stretching from the Hillvales in the South and encompassing the Western half of the Thunder Peaks to the North, the vast area of Shields End is mind numbing. The nation has most major terrain types within its borders, including mountains, forests, plains, rivers and coastal shores on the Copper Sea. A violent land plagued with storms and tornadoes in the warmer months, and deep cold winters, the people of Shields End are survivors.
People: A wide variety of people call Shields End home, the “Westerners” tend to be shorter and compact folk that dress in warm cotton during the winters and loose linens in the summers. The “Easterners”, while likewise shorter, have a distinct accent which most outsiders describe as deep and gravelly. The Easterners are known to have very strict laws and traditions, whereas the Westerners tend to be more liberal and democratic. For example, Easterner married men are known to remove their left little finger on their wedding night as a symbol of eternal marriage. Divorce is illegal within Shields End, and in some cases punishable by death, a fact that has caused political turmoil between the East and the West of the kingdom. A large garrison of imperial troops is located at the Emerald Tower in the Western region of Shields End. This military academy trains some of Tirmordane’s finest officers and the renowned Emerald Knights. In addition, two Zanthian settlements are located just inside of Shields End’s borders with the permission of Shield King Forn’s economic trade pact with the Republic of Xar Zanth. While humans make up over 70% of this region’s population, nearly any race can be encountered within the massive borders of Shields End, with high populations of elves in Soldier Pine Grove and dense dwarf populations along the kingdom’s mountainous borders. Wandering nomadic plains elves are also very common within the nation’s Western grasslands.
Government and Alignment: (Monarchy, LN (Easterners) and CG (Westerners) Shields End is ruled in name by the Karakason family from the capital city Shields End in the East just North of Soldier Pine Grove by Shield King Forn Karakason. In the West however, a political champion has risen. Phaylous of Durn openly speaks out against the strict monarchy located in the distant East, claiming that the West should not be held to the rule of a king so far removed from his people. Shield King Forn would like nothing more than to nail the head of Phaylous to the adamantine gates of his fortress, however, the people in the West appear to have taken these preaching to heart, and have become very adept at keeping the freedom figure away from harm and hidden from Forn’s assassins.
Major Settlements: Shields End ranks 4th overall in regards to population. While less densely populated these lands are immense, with most of its residents tending to small farms and living in countless villages and hamlets. The region’s major settlements include the capital Shields End with its adamantine gates (Metropolis) Population: 35,888, the imperial garrison at the Emerald Tower (Large City / Military Compound), Population: 12,056, the thorny grown walled city of Thorn Mark (Large City) Population: 20,082, the farming lands of Durn (Small City) Population: 9,020. While the settlements of Kayble and Faynaught are located on Shields End’s borders, these are Zanthian territories (see the region of Xar Zanth).
Religion: A wide range of deities are worshiped throughout the vast tracts of Shields End. A House of the Five can be found in most major settlements, with an expansive wing of the Burning Crux located at the Emerald Tower. In addition, most of the Shattered Pantheon has a voice across these lands, with the exception of Randarous, Kire and Pox, whose worship is expressly outlawed. The city of Thorn Mark, located within Soldier Pine Grove, houses a massive granite and live wood temple called the Sprig of Earth. Here the words of Mire, Pallar, Tall Heart and The Stain can be heard by any who would listen.
Conflicts: Inner turmoil plagues Shields End daily, with Westerners and Easterners politically debating in most local taverns. The nation is constantly watching for Fangland raiding parties and is often skirmishing with Tir Torrent to the Northwest. The kingdoms garrison of imperial soldiers at the Emerald Tower keeps any aspirations of incursion from Zend, Goldkeep or Baskhold in check. It is also not uncommon for the soldiers of Shields End to deploy forces into the Heman Dal or Thunderpeak Mountains to quell uprisings of orcs, dragon tyrants and other tribal races. Rumors abound the local mead halls that the West intends to declare independence and crown Phaylous Shield King of the West.
Economy: Shields End is often called the bread basket of the Empire, its products of wheat, corn, livestock and countless other fruits, grains and vegetables account for over half of the empire’s food supply. This alone has made Shields End the 8th wealthiest nation in all of Tirmordane. In addition, coal and copper are mined from the Thunderpeak Mountains, large stone quarries are present in the Heman Dal Mountains and taxes are levied on products traveling through these lands to the other kingdoms. The more powerful Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran are wary to invest themselves in agriculture, metropolitan culture in these more “civilized” lands frowns upon food investments, leaving the pickings of Shields End to the more ambitious and power hungry Avian Lords.
Relationships: Shields End is a nation of love and hate. Its relationships with its neighbors are no different. The Kingdom of Goldkeep is the only ally that Shields End publicly supports.
Zend: Centrally located within the Empire, the Kingdom of Zend is located directly East of the capital Kelterran. Mostly rolling grasslands and low crowned hills, these lands stretch some 400 miles from its Southwest border with Baskhold to its Northeast border the Greatland Forest. The nation’s capital, Zend, is likewise located centrally within the Kingdom. Zend is a bustling crossroad city, through which most cross country travelers visit regularly. The climate within Zend’s borders is very typical for an interior kingdom, sweeping low pressure zones cause violent thunder storms and tornadoes during the supper months, with deep biting cold during the winter months.
People: With high populations of humans and plains elves, the common Zendian stands just under six feet in height, with dark curly hair and olive skin typical for a Mordanian. Zendians can often be identified by their eyes, which are deeply set and often obscured by their brows making them almost appear to be eyeless. The typical Zendian wears leathers and hides, giving them an almost tribal look, however the people of these lands tend to be more learned then all but the most metropolitan nations due to their world renown colleges located at the capital Zend that teach advanced mathematics, arcane study, alchemy and engineering.
Government and Alignment: (Monarchy, NG) The head of state for Zend is selected from the House of Deans, which is comprised of the twenty most educated instructors from the capitals four major colleges. Rulership of Zend is held for life, and is currently bestowed to High Dean Pulpon Longfellow, the highest ranking professor from the College of Sightless Grace in Zend. Pulpon has ruled Zend for the past sixteen years, while under his rule the nation has flourished, a fact not lost on his subjects who speak of the High Dean with reverence and awe.
Major Settlements: Zend ranks 3rd overall in regards to population, mostly due to its fertile and expansive terrain, and in part due to its central location with the capital of Zend functioning as the imperial hub. The nation’s total population also benefits from its close proximity to the imperial capital, attracting skilled laborers from nearby Kelterran and their families. Zend’s largest settlements include the capital, Zend, known as the city of lost thoughts (Metropolis) Population: 41,647, the grand academies at Grax (Metropolis) Population: 29,310, the city of a thousand books Wenq (Large City) Population: 18,113, the military colleges of Torq (Large City) Population: 17,741, Phent, the city of mind and body (Small City) Population 8,211 and the dark stained town of Galedorn (Small Town) Population: 950.
Religion: Zend is a nation of free thinkers, the typical Zendian spends more of their mental energy contemplating science then religion. Nonetheless, worship of the Holy Five is not uncommon. Large churches dedicated to the Five can be found in most major settlements, as well as shrines and small churches dedicated to many of the Shattered Pantheon.
Conflicts: The peaceful Zendians have few conflicts, their close proximity to the imperial capital offers a significant deterrent to would be invaders. Internal banditry of trade highways is the most common threat that Zendians face, along with the occasional terrible monster that ravishes the landscape and the regions violent weather. Winters in this region claim more lives than in any kingdom of Tirmordane.
Economy: Most of Zend’s economy is based on trade taxes as goods travel through their lands, they receive a substantial revenue from college tuitions and services. In addition, Zend’s cattle and horse trade industries are substantial. The nation boasts a large number of wind powered mills. Zend ranks 3rd in overall population, however this nation ranks 9th in economic power, due mainly to its focus on education over industry.
Relationships: The kingdoms central location lends favorably to its relationship with its neighbors. Zend maintains excellent relations with the imperial seat Kelterran. The Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran have substantial interest in Zend’s location, and several of the more powerful Avian Lords keep garrisons of merchant guards at the kingdoms capital to ensure safe passage of their goods. While the kingdoms of Ribbon Bridge and Zend have squabbled for land in the past, these two nations currently maintain a shaky border truce. The High Dean distrusts the militant nation of Baskhold to its South, but maintains that as long as the soldiers of Baskhold refrain from intrusion that they will not be the aggressor.
Baskhold: The tribal nation of Baskhold is entrenched in the foot hills of the Calemil Mountains, just East of Grey Lake, the Grand Artise River and the Fang of Aezor. Known for its blustery spring and fall months, the weather of Baskhold can be as untamed as the elemental spirits that are rumored to roam across these lands. Until recently, high peaked hills, and flat grass lands accounted for most of Baskholds territory. Now this nation actively expands to the Northwest, slithering up the shore of Grey Lake like a massive python bent on destruction and dominance of this major water way.
People: Baskians are known across the empire for their short tempers and quick fists. The majority of this kingdom’s populace is human and hill dwarf, with the occasional outsider in the more urban areas. Over the years, Baskians have captured and enslaved numerous tribes of local hill giants, and a small slave market has evolved for these domesticated yet powerful workers. In addition, a significant contingent of orcs call Baskhold home and are often allowed in most cities, but are treated with severe racism and cruelty as second class citizens outside of the Fortress Qaop, the largest orc city in Tirmordane. The standard Baskian human is wiry and long limbed, lean and angular, with olive to red skin and black to red hair. Blue and violet eyes are likewise as common as brown and hazel eyes.
Government and Alignment: (Tribal Monarchy, CE) Baskians are ruled by the strongest and the most fierce of their own, who currently is Ralk Stonebrow, new ruler ship is not uncommon in these lands every three to eight years as new warlords rise up to challenge the current king. Ralk seized Baskhold three years prior when he slaughtered the prior king Ulkar of Qaop, the nation’s first orc king. Ralk brought with him a dozen pet hydras, which he keeps around the capital to scare off would be usurpers and to provide his subjects with a bit of sport when they host their monthly games. Since his ascension to the wicker throne of Baskhold, none have dared to challenge his authority. King Ralk has seven wives, sixteen children and four grandchildren.
Major Settlements: Baskhold ranks 5th overall in regards to population. Tradition in these lands indicates the more offspring you can produce, the stronger your bloodline, which over the years has accumulated into a massive population of legitimate and illegitimate broods. The largest cities of Baskhold include the high walled city of Baskhold, the nation’s capital also called the city of gates (Metropolis) Population: 41,410, The orc fortress of Qaop (Metropolis) Population: 25,010, the brick city of Peylar’s Gate along the shores of Grey Lake (Small City) Population: 8,900 and the three castles at Aear (Large Town) Population 3,711.
Religion: The gods play a major role in the lives of most Baskians, a typical traveler would surely find a House of the Five in most major cities, with the largest of such churches located within the walls of Baskhold. In addition, a large temple dedication to Bol the Furyborn can be found in Qaop. This holy site, known as the Ravager’s Spire, is well known across Draconspire. Many of the more devout orcs and other bestial races across Draconspire consider it a life goal to make a pilgrimage to this temple.
Conflicts: Baskhold has had more conflicts over the years then most scholars can count. Recently, Baskhold has positioned a large contingency of soldiers to the Northwest near the Oskerfelt border, slithering up the coast and positioning to overtake the kingdom, should the opportunity or Oskerfelts allies allow them to do so. It is not uncommon for Baskians to assemble under a minor warlord and foray into the neighboring kingdoms of Shields End, Candletop and Zend.
Economy: Running in the middle of the pack, Baskhold ranks 11th in the empire for total economic power and resources. Numerous deposits of iron are located in Baskholds hilly regions, with natural clay harvested from the shores of the Grey Lake. Bricks, finished iron weapons, horses and ivory are the major exports of this region. The Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran would love to establish commerce in this region however the temperament of the typical Baskian makes such investments risky at best.
Relationships: It is rumored in some circles that the imperial crown intends to gift Oskerfelt to Baskhold, which would seem to support the empires lack of concern over Baskholds troop movements near Oskerfelts border. This would strengthen Baskholds position along the Grey Lake, a region dominated at this time by the kingdom of Torkar. As such, relations between Torkar and Baskhold are heated, with an endless wave of Torkar diplomats being turned away at the gates of king Ralk. A nation of few friends, Baskhold shares a strong military alliance with the neighboring nation of the Painted Hills, being of similar tribal mind and thought, these two nations make for as close of a friendly match as could be expected from two warlike peoples.