Ilien is a small, one province domain on the southern coast. Highly populated, the county is home to the second largest city in Anuire, the Free City of Ilien. A neutral port, the Free City itself thrives by acting as a beacon for people of all walks of life. Rolling grasslands and small ranges of hills surround the city and provide fertile ground for growing crops and raising livestock.
Lacking both vast lands and a large military, Ilien survives through the magics of its jovial and benevolent count, Rogr Aglondier. Though Ilien is technically neutral, Count Rogr maintains friendly relations with Roesone and Medoere, the two realms that border the county.
Like many nearby realms, Ilien was once a part of Diemed, but split from that realm when it began to collapse. Diemed remains a constant worry, as it is well known that the Duke of Diemed greatly desires to see the old lands returned.
Life and Society
Two kinds of people live in Ilien, those that dwell within the Free City of Ilien and those who live in the rural countryside. Many of the inhabitants of the Free City are not long time residents of the domain, but have come here seeking the opportunities the second largest city in Anuire has to offer. The rural dwellers consist of farmers, cattle herders, and others who live in small towns and villages throughout the domain. These are honest, hard working folk. Since Ilien has not seen a major war in quite some time, the land is pure and unspoiled by the ravages of war, providing rich lands to a prosperous people.
Presiding over this prosperity is the House Aglondier, rulers of Ilien since Deismaar. The current Count of Ilien, Rogr Aglondier, is well loved by his people for his open manner and common roots. Rogr returns his people’s admiration, devoting all the effort he can toward maintaining their independence.
Unlike many domains in Anuire, Ilien has few true nobles, and most of those that live here are not natives. Fearing war in their own domains or seeking asylum from their liege lords, many minor nobles flee to Ilien because of its neutrality. Anyone with enough gold can be elevated to noble status in the Free City, but only the very few who are blooded scions actually wield any power.
There are two noble families of note who have survived the test of time in the Free City: the family of Lord Beldere Enderiane and Lady Melonie Tyien. Lord Beldere's ancestors were once vassals of the Baron of Ghoere, controlling the province of Bheline. Following several deadly incursions by the Spider, the Baron stripped the Beldere family of their titles and exiled them for incompetence. Lady Melonie Tyien comes from a powerful bloodline and moved her family from Roesone only 20 years ago, coming to the Free City of Ilien with followers of the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn. The Tyien bloodline is strongly aligned with the Heart, and enemies of Lady Melonie best beware their actions.
Nearly all of the mercantile interests in Ilien are held by the Port of Call Exchange, controlled by the Khinasi guildlord el-Hadid. El-Hadid is the most powerful, and most deadly, guilder in Ilien. If there is a profit to be made in Ilien, el-Hadid will let nothing stand in the way of his share. El-Hadid cares deeply for the quality and quantity of commerce that comes to Ilien in his own way – he could not have reached his current level of prosperity without it. This entrepreneur does business with merchants and guildlords in several domains, brining much needed goods into the city, where he distributes the goods to retail merchant buyers through his guild holdings, stores it for future use, or sells it to the Ilienese government.
It is unknown where el-Hadid acquired the money to finance his immense enterprise. Rumors range from a wealthy inheritance to the theft of a deposed regent in far-off lands. In any case, el-Hadid appeared in the Free City 12 years ago and immediately purchased a large section of the River Ward of the Free City for his guild. Some 10 years ago, one of el-Hadid’s competitors was mysteriously murdered, and since that time, the guildlord’s activities have come under the scrutiny of the constabulary, but no charges have ever been brought against the guildlord.
The largest faith of many of the Ilienese is that of Haelyn, whose worship has been present here since the Battle of Mount Deismaar. When Ilien broke with Diemed in 305 MR, the Imperial Temple decided to patronize the new city with the founding of a college. They hoped to create an "impregnable heart" for Haelyn's teachings that would promote order, justice, and mercy and prevent error, injustice, and cruelty. This became a motto of the school and those associated with it. Lehoene Aglondier, eager to build support for his new rule, welcomed the project and helped them acquire land in the city. The Common Ward of Ilien was expanded and the first buildings of the new college were completed in 307 MR. This school and its followers broke with the Avelerine Cathedral in Aerele over strategies to combat the Principles of Fitzalan. Eventually, the college, the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn formally seperated from the Imperial temple and found its headquarters in Ilien. The Heart commands great respect in Ilien’s government and is often called upon to act as arbitrators and statesmen.
The other large faith in Ilien is that of the Eastern Temple of Nesirie. The teachings and ministrations of the sea goddess’s priests are popular among commoners, mariners, and the poor. Rogr Aglondier’s own daughter, Alliene, is a respected priestess of Nesirie. The Eastern Temple is a friend of the Orthodox Imperial Temple, Diemed and Aerenwe, and has a cool relationship with Ilien.
Ilien is the smallest realm in Anuire, only slightly smaller than Endier. Despite its diminutive size, Ilien boasts a large population and the richest farm and prairie land on the Southern Coast. Breeders across Anuire prize Ilien’s cattle, indeed cattle monies have earned the county its fortune. This point has given rise to several common derogatory remarks about the Ilienese, the kindest of which refers them as dungslingers. Ilienese ranchers soothe their wounded pride with the money their commerce brings in.
Because Ilien possesses only one province, the section below details various towns and geographical features within that province.
The Free City of Ilien
One of the oldest cities in Cerilia, the Free City of Ilien was once a simple Andu fishing village. Today, it is the second largest city in Anuire, boasting over 60,000 inhabitants. Though mostly Anuirean, large populations of Brechts, Khinasi, some Rjuriks, and even a few Vos can be found here.
Rural Towns: Ilien’s rural country side contains a population of over 20,000 people. Small towns and homesteads are found everywhere in the County and are rarely found more than a few miles apart. Most of these small towns are rather unremarkable, however, the largest of them deserve note.
Aenier: Located at the mouth of the Spider River and on the edge of the Erebannien, Aenier is a port town of beautiful sights. Aenier caters to wealthy travellers passing through the Straits of Aerele. Visitors can relax by taking a pleasant fishing trip or pleasure cruise along the coast of the Straits, walking the wilds of the Erebannien, or small game hunting.
El-Hadid is known to have built most of the town out of his own pocket and guards the town with his own soldiers.
Caette: Located almost dead center in the County, Caete serves as a layover for cattle travelling to the slaughterhouses of the Free City. The trade routes to northern Roesone and Medoere also add to the traffic flow. Inns and taverns are plentiful, the most noteworthy of which is the Lonely Traveler Inn. The Inn is well known for the nightly performances of Molreyn Perium, (MA; Brd7; unblooded). Molreyn ended his travelling days following a goblin attack that cost him full use of his right leg, and chose Caette as his retirement home. Many say Perium’s music is the most beautiful in Anuire.
Dragon Roost: A town located within the Passage, the narrowest piece of land between the Adele and Spider rivers, Dragon Roost is little more than a farming village of no significance with a tremendous reputation. Villagers here believe that in 780 HC (-195 MR), during one of the hottest summers in recorded history, a dragon came to roost in the hills outside of town for three days and nights, finally waking with a ravenous roar
Goewhyn: Located several miles south of the Passage, this town is one of the largest cattle herding and farming towns in the realm. Goewhyn is a well structured community under the guidance of Curan Ondier, the illegitimate son of Soleme Aglondier. Curan has offered the guild caravans from Medoere special prices if they travel no father than Goewhyn to purchase their goods.
Hestean: Located on the banks of the Spider River and just to the north of the Erebannien, Hestean is governed by the land holding Hestean family. Lehoene Aglondier, the first independent Count of Ilien, granted the land to Cest Hestean, a retired and wealthy Dieman soldier. Lehoene offered his protections as a wizard as well as the land in exchange for Hestean’s support for Ilien’s independence. As well, a powerful magical source was located near the fief, and Hestean was instructed to keep it safe at all costs. Though the source falls within the boundaries of Roesone, a group of elite soldiers loyal to the Hestean family protects it from all violators. This source is located on the outskirts of the Erebannien, just over the Spider River. Today, Hestean is run by Lord Barel Hestean, a loyal supporter of the Count.
Tennien: Located in northeastern Ilien on the edge of the Spider River, Tennien caters to traders moving up and down the river. The town is located along the main land route from Roesone to the Free City and ferries regularly carry people and supplies to both banks of the river. El-Hadid has set up a trading house here for those that do not wish to brave the Straits of Aerele on their way to the Free City and offers transportation through Ilien to those wishing to unload their goods in Tennien. The guildlord also buys cattle and crops from local farmers at a very fair price, and resells it to traders from Proudglaive.
Tennien is governed by Aeliran Gendril (MA; Ftr4; unblooded). Aeliran ensures that the trade route remains open and good relations kept with contacts in Roesone. He also keeps a close eye on El-Hadid’s men, making sure they pay the appropriate tariffs and taxes.
The Erebannien: Once stretching all the way to the Adele River, now only a small portion of the ancient wood is found in eastern Ilien. Deforestation of the Erebannien was outlawed by Karn Aglondier in order to protect the magical sources within the woods. Legend has it that a silver unicorn once lived in the Erebannien, slaying marauding bandits and mercenaries in the days of Roesone’s founding. No one has ever seen the unicorn since, but it is possible that it still lives in the forest.
One of the Erebannien’s dark secrets is its connection to the Shadow World. Every year on the Eve of the Dead, tales tell of the opening of a gate to the Shadow World through which undead, shadow monsters, and other unpleasant fiends enter Aebrynis.
Isle of Tamle: This small island, located off of Ilien’s coast, was created by an underwater eruption after Deismaar. The island is named after the notorious pirate Hyk Tamle, who used it as a base from 2 MR to 34 MR. With the Anuirean Empire enveloped in civil war, Tamle was the terror of the Straits of Aerele. Today, nothing remains on the island except a few ruined buildings. Little more than a chunk of volcanic rock, the land is unsuitable for farming, and vegetation is too sparse to support livestock. Dangerous shallows and currents block passage to the island.
Though the island might make a good location for bandits and criminals to hide, lack of food and fresh water keeps such stays short. Legend claims that Hyk’s vast treasures remains buried on the island.
Spider and Adele Rivers: Two of Ilien’s natural borders are rivers: the Spider River to the east and the Adele River to the west. The Spider River is the larger and more travelled of the two: bringing goods and travellers from northern Roesone that realm’s capital of Proudglaive and then to the Ilienese trading village of Tennien. Traffic is also heavy through the Erebannien section of the Spider River, it being one of the few paths through the Erebannien to the Straits of Aerele. The river greatly thins in the Erebannien, as the ancient trees drink directly from its banks. Most large boats are in danger of running aground during winter and summer, when rains are less frequent. For this reason, barges with shallow drafts are the most common type of commercial craft, but such boats are unable to weather the seas of the Straits of Aerele. In the drier months, most goods are shipped overland from Tennien to the Free City.
The Adele River, coming from a spring fed lake in Medoere, is also used for commerce, though not as much as the Spider River. Lehoene Aglondier was able to magically widen the Adele River delta in 312 MR, allowing larger ships to move up the river.
On Ilien’s northwest border is a small slip of marshy land between the Adele and Spider Rivers known as the Passage. Most travellers prefer the overland route the Passage offers to sailing down the Adele River.
Even before the arrival of humans on Cerilia, Ilien was a focal point for mystical power. In those early times, the county was covered in the ancient forests of the Erebannien and the elves that lived in those woods wielded powerful magics.
When the human tide swept into Cerilia, the Deretha, Fifth House of the Andu, warred with both the elves of the Erebannien and the goblins of the Spiderfell. As the Deretha inexorably advanced, they cleared large swaths the forest, eventually forcing the elves to abandon the Erebannien and flee northward to the relative safety of the Aelvinnwode. As these wars were waged, the Free City was founded and quickly became a haven for refugees and a safe port for those wishing a rest from the dangerous overland trails.
Following the Battle of Mount Deismaar, the powerful Diem, scion of the Deretha and close companion and friend of Roele, founded the Duchy of Diemed as part of the Anuirean Empire. The duke took control of the Free City and the lands around it, annexing them into greater Diemed. This gave Diemed a major port along the Straits of Aerele. Diem named his new province Ilien, after his beloved mother.
After the Deismaar cataclysm, true magic became usable by humans and Diem sought to use this to his advantage. No mage himself, Diem gave vassalage of Ilien to his trusted wizard ally, Karn Aglondier. Karn would rule well during his tenure as Ilien’s count. He turned the Free City into a major trading port and the untamed lands into farmland to feed Diem’s armies.
For nearly a millennium, Ilien prospered under this arrangement. A vassal of mighty Diemed and apart of Imperial Anuire, Ilien was well protected. In exchange for this protection, the counts Aglondier, ruling in unbroken succession, ensured that the dukes of Diemed always had a powerful wizard ally at their disposal, for it had become tradition that the count should always be a wizard. However, Michael Roele’s death and the end of the Empire soon ended Ilien’s security.
In 96 MR, Diemed itself began to fall into chaos as a protracted series of border wars erupted along the duchy’s frontiers. Those wars ended nearly two hundred years later in 270 MR with much of eastern Diemed depopulated and laid waste. Further internal strife came about due to Richard Endier’s deal with the Spider in 299 MR, which lead to a vast host of goblins rampaging from the Spiderfell down to the Straits of Aerele, the area claimed by present day Roesone.
In all this time of strife, the Free City itself was never attacked, though some of the county’s northern farmlands were badly ravaged by the goblins. The rest of Diemed, reeling from the Spider’s ferocity offered Ilien no help. Realizing that Diemed was too weak to protect the county, Count Lehoene Aglondier proclaimed Ilien a free realm in 305 MR. Diemed was in no position to challenge this, and subsequent years would see more realms break off of the crumbling duchy.
It was 124 years later that Ilien’s ability to defend its independence was truly tested. In 429 MR, the Baron of Ghoere, fresh off of military victories against the Spider, invaded eastern Diemed in order to seize Ilien from its new and untested countess, Axlea Aglondier. The Baron miscalculated Axlea’s strength, however, and her powerful realm magic destroyed the Ghoerean force to the last man.
Axlea would rule Ilien longer than any other count save Karn, and it was under her reign that Ilien gained its current reputation as being carefully aloof from Anuirean politics. In 506 MR, Axlea proclaimed Ilien a neutral domain and open trading zone. As most of the nearby domains were recovering from long, exhausting wars of independence, every southern Anuirean realm, except Aerenwe, recognized Ilien’s neutrality by signing the Pact of Ilien in 510 MR.
Though Aerenwe’s rulers had no ill feelings toward Ilien, they refused to sign the Pact out of an acknowledgment of the High Mage Aelies’ concerns. Over the years, the High Mage had accrued a vast network of powerful sources in the Erebannien and had come into competition with the Aglondiers over those sources. Nothing has ever come of Aerenwe’s refusal to sign the treaty.
Axlea Aglondier finally died in 511 MR at the age of 102, passing control of Ilien to her son, Dajel. Though he was 55 years old when he assumed the throne, rather young for a family noted for life spans into the 90s and 100s, Dajel would only rule for seven years before his death. Rumors that his death was an unnatural one persist today.
As Dajel’s eldest son, Pearce, had disappeared without a trace with his family some months before, the throne of Ilien passed to Dajel’s second son, Soleme. Though there were many whispered discussions and stories about Soleme’s rise to power, none of the accusations were ever proven.
It is widely believed that Soleme ‘the Twisted’ was driven into an insane paranoia by a mutation of the mebheighl he wielded while casting realm magic. He ruled Ilien with an iron fist, placing heavy tariffs on traders and raising taxes on the common folk to their highest level in history. Under the Twisted’s reign, death squads were assembled to eliminate Soleme’s political opposition and bring terror to the populace of the Free City.
After 20 long years, Soleme’s rank paranoia attracted the attention of the surrounding Southern Coast regents. Just as Roesone, Aerenwe, and even the High Mage Aelies were preparing to violate the Pact of Ilien and attack Soleme, Moeran Aglondier, lost son of Pearce Aglondier, reappeared and challenged his uncle’s rule. A terrible duel between the two wizards ensued. At the end, Moeran pierced his uncle through the heart with a golden dagger and assumed control of Ilien. The Twisted’s paranoid regime had ended.
As a child, Moeran studied the arcane under his great-grandmother, Axlea. His skill at magic proved to be equal to the task of bringing Ilien back from the brink of ruin, though much of the treasury was spent in the rebuilding process.
Moeran Aglondier only recently died under very suspicious circumstances suspected to be poisoning, leaving the throne to his apprentice, Rogr.
Count Rogr Aglonder claims that Ilien is neutral, a statement that strays a bit from the truth. He is good friends with the rulers of both Medoere and Roesone – without their tolerance, his domain simply wouldn’t exist. Still, the non-partisan illusion persists, so other rulers use the Free County as a neutral meeting place: regents from many realms have forged numerous treaties here.
The Pact of Ilien, signed in 510 MR by Roesone, Diemed, Avanil, and Osoerde (Medoere would later sign the treaty after its break with Diemed) formalizes Ilien as a neutral power and open trading zone. However, the signatory realms have shown a willingness to violate the Pact should Ilien threaten to destabilize the region, as shown by the events surrounding Soleme Aglondier’s reign.
Though Diemed recognizes Ilien’s independence and neutrality, Rogr Aglondier remains suspicious of Hierl Diem, Duke of Diemed. The Count knows well that Diem wishes to see his duchy restored to its former size, so he keeps a close watch on his doings.
Ghoere also worries Rogr, for he knows that should Roesone ever fall to the Iron Barony’s armies, Ilien could very well be next. As a result, the Count has from time to time provided covert magical aid to Roesone in order to fend off the aggressive Baron of Ghoere.
The High Mage Aelies poses another potential threat to the county. Aelies has competed with the Aglondiers over the sources of the Erebannien for centuries and rumor has it he is growing tired of the contest. Any escalation in the rivalry between the over control of these sources could be disastrous for Ilien’s defenses, which rely mainly on House Aglondier’s realm magic.
- Rogr Aglondier, Count of Ilien
- Essafah el-Hadid, the power behind nearly every mercantile enterprise in Ilien, el-Hadid is the Guilder of the Port of Call Exchange.
Plots and Rumours
The Suspicious Guildlord: More than one report from sources in the Port of Call Exchange suggest that El-Hadid may be bringing large amounts of high quality weapons into the Free City of Ilien – swords, bows and arrows, pikes, and other items of war. El-Hadid has been purposely quiet regarding these dealings, trying to keep the shipments concealed. The only certain reason to stockpile weapons is for war, but the question remains whether the weapons are for the forces of Ilien or to be used against them.
Trouble at Tamle: The Isle of Tamle has long been a haven for pirates and other criminals since Deismaar. Recent events off the coast of the island suggest that trouble is brewing there once again. Ships coming in from the south have reported increased activity on the southern shores of the lifeless island of late. Numerous ships with many different markings have been seen anchored there. Since most mariners sail between the southern coast of Anuire and Tamle in order to avoid the Seadrake, the ships could be anchored in the south to avoid detection.
This concentration of forces could be anything from pirates looking for Hyk Tamle’s treasure to the gathering of an invasion force. Since the island lies off of both Ilien and Medoere, both realms could be at risk.
Spiders of the River: Villagers along the Spider River have reported sightings of strange giant spiders infesting its banks near populated areas. The spiders can apparently swim beneath the water for long stretches of time and then surface to walk on top of the water.
Traders travelling the river have described attacks on ships and barges, with the creatures killing numerous members of the crew before being driven off. Inquiries to Roesone and Medoere have confirmed that the creatures are coming from the Spiderfell - obvious creations of the awnshegh who lives there.
The reason for the spider’s journey this far south is unknown, but none of the creatures has ventured into the Straits of Aerele, instead disappearing somewhere into the Erebannien. It could be that these beasts are massing for an attack on Ilien or Roesone.
Domain Holding Table
|Ilien (7/0)||RA (7)||IHH (4)||EH (7)||RA (0)|
|Abbreviations: RA=Rogr Aglondier (Ilien); IHH=Impregnable Heart of Haelyn (Hubaere Armiendin); EH=el-Hadid (Port of Call Exchange); ETN=Eastern Temple of Nesirie (Maire Cwllmie).|