Cariele was once a land of unsurpassed beauty with towering trees rising high above the land. With the rise of Mheallie Bireon, the provinces have been stripped down and harvested for their resources. Where fur used to provide the bulk of the domain’s income, now the timber trade thrives throughout the country. Count Entier Gladanil has learned not to cross the Guilder, who is the true power in Cariele. He tends to those matters of the state which Mistress Mheallie has not appropriated.
Life and Society
The folk of Cariele are a pragmatic and notably fatalistic lot. Battered all day by the fierce northern winds that blow down out of the Tael Firth, the people of Cariele have grown hard and tough working with their axes all day. These people do not seem to care for anyone but themselves and cannot be bothered by strangers. In return, Carieleans find they receive precious little interest from the rest of Anuire.
The timber trade thrives here, indeed, it is what has brought the people much of their prosperity and strengthened the hand of the local guilds. Though Tuarhievel occasionally makes threatening noises over the harvesting of the forests, Carieleans are too busy trying to make a living than to be threatened by elves in a distant court. They leave such matters to the Guilder (rank), Mheallie Bireon
The nobility of Cariele is weaker than in any other Anuirean realm except for Endier. Most of the nobles are on Mheallie Bireon's payroll and any lord who tries to defy her authority ends up thoroughly discredited or dead – sometimes both. The leading noble of the realm, Entier Gladanil, the nominal regent, takes no action without first consulting the guild mistress. Much of his time is building something lasting and beautiful from the wealth that Cariele produces and that gradually robs her of her natural beauty. Count Entier builds public buildings, residences, and patronizes many artists who make the court of Cariele magnificent.
On the streets of Cariele's cities and towns, guardsmen of the Stonecrown Coster are a more common sight than guards and soldiers belonging to the crown. These mercenaries guard guild warehouses, collect taxes and tolls on commerce, and ensure that the unlicensed craftsmen do not sell goods in violation of the mercantile code.
Given the dominance of the guilds in Cariele, it is of little surprise that the faith of Sarimie finds a large following. The followers of Sarimie are tended to by the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie, run by the Most Sacred Minister Larra Nielems. What it seeks above all is the spread of Sarimie's doctrine of wealth and prosperity through daring and innovation. It sets the example by pursuing and displaying its wealth, and conducting operations like a business. Nielems’ temple is closely allied with the guilds and often lends her temple’s support to the Guildmistress. The two maintain an alliance powerful enough to insure neither can be challenged with our major effort.
The temples of Haelyn and Aeric used to hold sway here in the old days, but they have fallen by the wayside with the rise of the Mheallie Bireon and Larra Nielems. Now, Haelyn’s Aegis and the Oaken Grove of Aeric maintain only a few scattered shrines and small churches and even those may disappear in the future.
There isn’t much use for magic in Cariele, realm of commerce. The fact that most of the magic of the land has disappeared with the forest discourages any mages from moving here. The Eyeless One, the mysterious wizard of the Five Peaks, and Daeric Dhoesone, cousin of the Baroness of Dhoesone, maintain small but nearly inconsequential sources in Cariele.
Situated north of the Stonecrown Mountains, in the depths of the Aelvinnwode, the dominant feature of Cariele is forest. Though in the past that forest was relatively untouched, with most of the wealth in the realm coming from the fur trade, the guilds have in recent years begun harvesting the woods with rapacious enthusiasm. Now, entire sections of the wood are nothing more than fields of tree stumps, though members of the guilds have begun planting quick growth trees for later harvesting. With only a small, hilly gap in the Stonecrowns connecting the realm to the rest of Anuire, Cariele almost saved the Northern lands from conquest. Only by sea or through this gap in the mountains could the Anuirean army pass into the North.
Mountainsedge is the most rugged of the Carielean provinces.
The current chapter in the history of Cariele begins when Dallan Bireon, Count of Mhelliviene, was deposed by Daenel Cariele, the Baron of Cariele. At this time the people followed the teachings of Haelyn in some matters and Aeric in the care of the land and forests. In those times Haelyn's Aegis and the Oaken Grove of Aeric were indifferent to one another, being neither particular friends, nor in any way unfriendly. The Baron, Daenel, was a capable and somewhat ruthless ruler, who nevertheless kept Cariele secure from the many enemies who surround the realm. Daenel ruled with the close cooperation of Haelyn's Aegis and the lawpriests of the temple. Haelyn's knights were the guardians of the narrow pass at Mhelliviene, until the local count thought he could make a fortune in tolls by blocking the pass and demanding tribute from those who passed beyond. The outrage grew and Baron Daenel preserved his own relations with guilders north and south, and dukes as well, by ousting Dallan Bireon from his lordship of the pass, and giving the title to a more loyal man. And so the realm was well governed and peaceful.
DMs might consider whether the old Haelynite temple was Haelyn's Aegis or Haelyn's Bastion of Truth. You may want to have the nearer domain connected with Cariele to create adventure hooks and a context for diplomacy for your PCs.
Daenel eventually was taken ill by a sickness, and passed regency of the land to his son, Berric. Berric was not baron for too long when he began to quarrel with the Grand Magisterium of Haelyn's Aegis. This division created a wedge which Mheallie Bireon used to drive Berric out of power. She took over the Stonecrown Coster by intrigue and then exploited the disputes between Berric Cariele and Haelyn's Aegis.
Mheallie convinced Adrian Gladanil to make his own bid for the barony, and seek to repair the breach between the barony and the temples of Haelyn. Mheallie reasoned at the time that Haelyn's temples would not interfear with her running of the guilds the way Aeric's Oaken Grove was. However, Temias Coumain, of the Celestial Jewel of Sarimie, got wind of what was going on in Cariele. He sent his lieutenant there with the chance of a lifetime. Coumain sent Larra Nielems to ally herself with the newly agressive guilder and establish her own temples by driving out the Oaken Grove.
Adrian Gladanil, the count of Mountainsedge, and a second cousin once removed, approached the Aegis looking for support for a divestiture of Berric Cariele. Mheallie had arranged for information to fall into the hands of the law priests that Baron Berric planned to declare himself archprelate of his own temple devoted to Haelyn, and take the Aegis' temples in Cariele for himself. Frightened by this information, the Aegis agreed to invest Adrian Gladanil.
Mheallie's spies were able to identify a time when Berric Cariele would be traveling, and the desitination he planned to take. She passed this information to Adrian, who laid in wait on the route with trusted knights and took Berric hostage. Despite Berric's resistance, the law priests of the Aegis divested Berric of his lands and invested them on Adrian Gladanil. Adrian and the Aegis decided to exile Berric Cariele, and he fled with his family to Dhoesone. In Tradebhein, Berric took refuge with the circles of the Oaken Grove.
Mheallie Bireon met with Larra Nielems and the two forged an alliance. Larra formed the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie and began to exploit changes in attitides in Cariele. With rising wealth in Cariele because of the exploitation of the new Stonecrown Coster, many people in Cariele were becomming indifferent to Aeric, and their appreciation of the new wealth made them ripe for the arrival of Larra's Church of Sarimie. Since the druids of the Oaken Grove considered themselves in a strong position in Cariele, they continued to try to put pressure on the guildmaster of the Stonecrown Coster in order to return to sustainable forestry. Larra was gifted by Brenna with great powers of evangelism. She used the new excitement in Cariele to oust the Oaken Grove and establish her temples in very short order. By the time the Oaken Grove knew what had happened, it was over. The druids remained in their circles and preached sustainable practice and love of nature, but no one listened any more. The druids were never driven from the forest, they were just ignored. The high druid of Cariele, Euric Aelis, preached these words, after the druids lost power: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve nature and money."
For a time, Haelyn's Bastion of Truth and the Reformed Church of Sarimie left each other alone. Adrian Gladanil, who had gotten the Aegis to back him because he appeared to be a supporter of the temple, ultimately doomed it by his support. Adrian relied on the Bastion to help him reform the barony and it turned out their advice and assistance was too good. Mheallie Bireon found the new power of the state to be an obstacle and began to demand that Adrian alter his policies. For some time, Mheallie and Larra squared off against Adrian and the Bastion. The stalemate was broken, as it turns out, by Berric Cariele.
The druids of the Oaken Grove were plotting a comeback and plotting the return of Berric as their vehicle. The Oaken Grove supplied Berric with gold and both proceeded to re-establish their followings in Cariele. Adrian Gladanil was caught in the middle. Mhaellie was determined to hold at least a portion of the law of the realm, and Berric hoped to recapture the whole barony. Adrian was assisted by the Aegis, who proved to to be very skilled at defending law holdings. All the while, the Oaken Grove and the Reformed Church of Sarimie moved against one another.
Mheallie drew two observations from this situation. One was that Berric Cariele would continue to pursue his claims in Cariele, the second was that he should be allowed to continue only so long as he weakened Adrian. For several years this conflict was mostly a conflict for the control of holdings in Cariele. The Oaken Grove again proved its aggressive posture when it stepped up to outright military action. From safe bases in Dhoesone, the Oaken Grove raised Rjurik troops from Dhoesone and exiled warriors from Rjuvik. It quietly laid the groundwork for raising troops from its followers in Mhoried, but was unwilling to move too quickly there. The Mhor of Mhoried was unlikely to intervene if it were clear that the Oaken Grove would restore Berric in Cariele. The Mhor would not take very kindly to Torien's Watch becomming embroiled in a civil war, however.
This is the one time in the whole conflict when Mheallie was totally taken by surprise. She neither anticipated such a move from the Grove, nor did her spies uncover such a plot. The Grove had taken the precaution of recruiting only Rjurik in an attempt to foil Mheallie's spies. Three companies of Rjurik archers and a mixed company of battle ragers and housecarls crossed over into Riverford and moved directly on Caerlinien and Cariele Castle, overlooking the city. The Grove had anticipated that units of scouts could be raised in Cariele from followers of Aeric, but no such rally occurred. Instead, it was the Stonecrown Coster who proved capable of mobilizing the foresters to fight the foreign troops brought in by the druids. As Caerinlien fell to the invaders, Mheallie and her chief lieutenants slipped out of the city disguised as townsfolk, while Larra Nielems took refuge in Cariele Castle.
From the countryside, Mheallie rallied the foresters and cut the Oaken army off from support in Dhoesone. A few scouts were sent to the mountain pass known as Mhelliviene, but almost as soon as they arrived, rangers from Torien's Watch cleared them out again. Meanwhile in Cariele Castle, Larra proved invaluable in keeping the outnumbered defenders' spirits up. The druids used powerful magic in the wilderness to seperate and confuse the companies of Adrian's infantry, the knights in Haelyn's service, and the foresters of the Stonecrown Coster. This prevented Adrian, Mheallie, and the Bastion from uniting their forces and driving the druids out by force. With the principle city of the barony in the hands of the Oaken Grove, Cariele Castle under siege, the last few supporters of Aeric in Cariele came forward and joined the Grove's army. It proved too little too late.
Baron Adrian issued a formal protest with Dhoesone, who had no desire to get mixed up in a civil war in Cariele. Mheallie's scouts took control of the Cariele side of the bridges which crossed the Ruide River and began constructing wooden fortifications there. The Grove was cut off from reinforcements. Gradually, the forces of Cariele began to get closer to Caelinien. Reinforcements were sent to the Mhelliviene pass, but they were thrown back by small numbers of elite archers, who, it is said, were aided by birds, wolves, and other woodland creatures.
As the siege went on towards six months Euric Aelis, the High Druid of Cariele concluded that the effort had failed. Eventually the scouts and knights would arrive to break the siege, no new reinforcements could be brought in, and the foresters of Cariele had sided with Mheallie, not the Oaken Grove. Euric arranged a truce with Adrian and the knights of Haelyn who remained inside Castle Cariele. The Oaken Grove would yield in exchange for free passage out of Cariele for all who served the banner of the Oaken Grove. Adrian and the Bastion agreed to the offer, and the army of the Grove made way for Dhoesone.
No deal had been worked out with the Stonecrown Coster, so the Rjurik warriors planned to fight their way across the bridge back into Tradebhein. The druids had other ideas. When they arrived at the stone bridge at Brynville, the druids declared their intention to pass peacefully. The scouts refused and brandished their weapons. While it was the role of some druids to speak, it now fell on others to act. They stepped forward and cast spells which caused the whole south wall of the fort to bow down to the ground giving the four companies of the Oaken Grove direct access to the defenders at Brynville. Again the druids declared their intention to cross the bridge peacefully. This time, the scouts agreed.
Berric Cariele was no of no use to Mheallie anymore, and remained a potential threat. So, she had him assassinated. Later, her spies reported that Berric's successor had been designated and invested, and that even Berric's regency was transfered to the heir. Mheallie realized that the whole Cariele family would have to be broken to remove the threat in the long term. It turns out that Adrian was similarly minded on this point.
At this point, many holdings had become independent through the many conflicts between rulers. Mheallie and Larra made a total commitment to aquiring these remaining independent holdings and integrating them into into their realms. Again a conflict developed over the law holdings between Adrian and Mheallie and the temple holdings between Larra and the Bastion. Already denied a reserve of money or regency from previous conflicts with, Adrian and the Bastion were not equal to the task.
Still, they proved stubborn defenders, and Mheallie decided it was best to go around the problem, by replacing Adrian. When Adrian turned up poisoned, his son, Entier Gladanil understood the message. Furthermore, he never formally accepted the title of baron, but continues to call himself a count. When Entier abandoned his father's struggle for the law holdings, it was the final phase of the struggle for Haelyn's Bastion of Truth in Cariele.
As Mheallie expanded outside of Caerile, she anticipated her long struggle within Cariele would make other rulers wary of her building her guilds in their realm. So, she invented the Northlands Exchange as a cover organization in Dhoesone and Tuarhievel, and the Source of the Maesil is her cover organization in Alamie and Tuornen. It is in fact one organization with three names. As James Ardannt once said, "deception is as natural to Mistress Mheallie as leaves are to an elm."
Mheallie Bireon is the true power behind the throne in Cariele. Her alliance with Larra Nielems and her control of all the guilds and most of the law insure her control over the realm. The current Count, Entier Gladanil, is very much cowed by the guilder. He has not claimed the title of Baron, which his father held, and he takes direction from Mheallie without dissent. After all, his father was poisoned for opposing the guildmistress.
Entier is a puppet and understands his role. He spends his time building his wardrobe and throwing deligtful parties. He is called a weak-willed fop, but what is certain is that a strong willed ruler who asserted himself would be targeted by Mheallie Bireon's assassins.
Plots and Rumours
Domain Holding Table
|Mhelliviene (5/2)||MB (3)||LN (5)||MB (5)||DD (0)|
|EG (2)||AM (0)|
|Mountainsedge (3/4)||MB (2)||LN (3)||MB (3)||EO (0)|
|EG (1)||GB (0)|
|Riverford (5/2)||MB (3)||LN(5)||MB (5)||EO (0)|
|EG (2)||GB (0)||DD (0)|
|Abbreviations: MB=Mheallie Bireon (Stonecrown Coster); LN=Larra Nielems (Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie); EG=Entier Gladanil (Cariele); AM=Antia Maricoere (Haelyn's Aegis); GB=Günther Brandt (Oaken Grove of Erik); EO=Eyeless One; DD=Daeric Dhoesone.|
- Law: Mhaellie Bireon, the realm's guilder and true master holds the law in Cariele to keep the law favorable to trade and to prevent the count from consolidating enough power to have a mind of his own.
- Temples: Larra Nielems is an ally of Mhaellie Bireon and brings the doctrines of Sarimie's commerce to Cariele.
- Guilds: Mhaellie Bireon runs all three guilds here, maintaining the fiction of three guilds to distract her enemies.
- Source: Mhaellie Bireon trusts no wizards, so any efforts to cultivate sources here would be difficult.