The Sere Coast
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|This article is Fan Fiction|
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright lore or history.
The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and are applied for roleplaying purposes only.
Occupying the northern tip of the Adurian continent, just west of the Straits of Aerele, Tenouire is a rocky and inhospitable place. Since the terrain is so rugged and the land?s ability to feed its population is limited, Tenouireans have always relied on the sea to provide much of their sustenance. While the men and boys of Tenouire brave the rocky coast in small fishing vessels and hunt in the mountains, the women remain ashore where they oversee the running of whatever meager farmland and pasture belongs to the family.
The Tenouireans also have a reputation for piracy, but this is somewhat undeserved. Indeed, the King of Tenouire does grant some captains the right to board passing ships, but all they do is collect the King?s tariffs, nothing more. Granted, the tariff can be a bit steep, but it is so by royal decree ? a far cry from piracy. The King also hires out those same ships as privateers if the price is right, and though Tenouirean warships are neither especially numerous or large, they are crewed by some very fine sailors and skilled warriors.
Region/Realm: Kingdom of Tenouire
Capital: Kratas; small city (pop. 8.000+)
Area: 20.000 sq. miles (8 provinces)
Population: 800.000 (93% human, 4% dwarf, 2% halfling, 1% other)
Primary religions: Masela, Brenna, Anduiras, Reynir
Guild activities: Piracy
Mage societies: Maselan priesthood, Gelbere
Alraphas (3/4) - The easternmost province in Tenuiore, on the Staris of Aerlele. Rule by House Laralan.
Baerghos Island (1/6) - The island of Baerghos (nominally) comes under the rule of House Zeiberwych. It is also the rumored home of the Seadrake.
Kratas (5/2) - The southern/westernmost province of Tenouire. It is ruled by the King and is home to the capital city of Kratas.
Kwylch (4/3) - North of Kratas is another fairly fertile province. It is ruled by House Corwin.
Nolon (3/4) - East of Tewnog and north of Kwylch lies Nolon, home to a number of clans that owe House Corwin allegiance. Nolon lies in the Straits of Aerele, not on the West Coast.
Lesser Baerghos (1/4) - The island of lesser Baerghos comes under the rule of House Zeiberwych. It is a mountainous and harsh place, with only limited settlement (but rich marine resources).
Tewnog (2/5) - Situated in the northwestern corner of Tenuire, just opposite Lesser Baerghos, the mountainous province of Tewnog commands the Baer Race. House Zeiberwych hold court here, sending forth its ships to collect the King's taxes.
Wyolch (2/5) - The only landlocked province in Tenouire, Wyloch lies in the mountainous interior, bordered by Kratas, Kwylch, Nolon, and Alraphas. The poor Counts of House Renwel rule here.
The original inhabitants of Tenouire were of the tribe of the Andu. Fleeing from the Shadow just like their brothers, they chose not to go to Cerilia, but settled in Tenouire instead, hoping that its remoteness and forbidding terrain would protect them from Azrai?s minions. They were wrong ? very wrong. A poor and unimportant land, Tenouire was left alone until ten years before Deismaar, except for a few minor incursions. The Tenouireans believed that Azrai would ignore them and go for the larger fish ? but Azrai proved nothing if not thorough in his persecution of the hated Andu.
In the year 10 BD, Shaitan, the Red Wind, a terrible sorcerer-general of Azrai, came to Tenouire with his armies of gnolls and worse. The people of Tenouire fought bravely, but they were ill prepared for this sudden massive attack, and soon all that remained of their realm was a few thousand souls who managed to flee to the countless little islands along the coast or who hid in the high mountain valleys.
Few Tenouireans were present at Deismaar, since they were busy being exterminated, but the realm?s proximity to the cataclysm meant that a few Tenouireans of exceptional ability nevertheless were imbued with divine essence. Their descendants still rule Tenouire as the five great Noble Houses of Tenouire ? Corwin carries the blood of Anduiras, Laranwych is of Brenna derivation, Zeiberwych and Laralan that of Masela, while Renwel has a rather weak Reynir line.
In the centuries following Deismaar, the Tenouireans kept to themselves, gradually reclaiming their lands from the remnants of Azrai?s minions. They began trading with the Old Kingdoms of Aduria and other realms on the Miere Rhuann. Tenouire generally managed to stay out of the way of the growing Anuirean Empire. In the 4th century after Deismaar this changed, when a Church Conclave declared that Tenouire should be brought into the Empire and is people converted away from their persistent beliefs in the Old Gods.
The actual conquest took decades to complete, for Tenouire?s inhabitants didn?t surrender without a fight. Converting the locals to belief in the new gods took even longer, if it can be said to have succeeded at all. Just as with Azrai?s conquest, parts of the interior and on the islands were never truly under foreign rule. Even in areas controlled by Anuireans, the worship of the old gods continued in secret. In fact, some scholars claim that the conquest cemented the belief in the old gods rather then spread belief in the new ? to the people of Tenouire the Anuirean Empire proved much the same as the dark empire of Azrai.
After the fall of the Anuirean Empire Tenouire slowly slipped away from Anuirean rule and the old religions began to surface. By 1150 HC, there were few traces of the hated Anuirean conquerors left, and the churches of the old gods had reasserted their claim to the souls of the Tenouirean people. Today Tenouire continues its seclusion ? there is very little contact between Anuire and Tenouire. Tenouireans seem content to trade to the west, where Anuirean vessels rarely venture anymore. The only realm that has significant dealings with Tenouire is Brosengae ? but those dealings are largely hostile in nature, with ships of both realms frequently attacking each others shipping. Both realms are maritime powers that rely on trade, are close neighbors, and worship ?opposite? gods ? no wonder then that they are age-old enemies.
Geography, climate and demography
Tenouire is mountainous land with an extensive coastline that includes numerous fjords, bays, islands and islets. Climate is hot and dry during the summer, and fairly warm and relatively moist during winter. The great mountains hold several large glaciers, which feed numerous streams and rivers even during the summer. Still, even though the land cannot be called arid, large areas in the interior still turns brown and apparently lifeless during the later part of the summer season. The majority of Tenouire?s inhabitants live along the narrow strip of fertile land along the western coast (with the capital of Kratas at the center of this region), on the islands of the coast, or in the various mountain valleys that crisscross the interior.
Baerghos Island: Northwest of Tenouire, deep in the Sea of Storms lies the great island of Baerghos (not to be confused by the smaller Lesser Baerghos island). It is nominally ruled over by House Zeiberwych, but beyond a little fishing and a few minor ports on the southern end of the island there is not much activity here. The island is, however, the rumored home of the Seadrake. The beast is said to lair at the bottom of the great bay that cuts into the island from the north, and few dare visit this part of the island because of the creature?s presence.
Baer Race: Those ships that seek to travel west to the northern shores of Aduria generally make their way through the straits between Tenouire and Lesser Baerghos, thus avoiding the open waters of the Sea of Storms and the treacherous waters along the Baerghos islands. The only problem is that this brings them into close proximity with the King?s ?tax collectors?. If you pay them in gold or part of your cargo you are generally safe, but those that refuse or try to evade the collectors are dealt with quite harshly.
Tenouire?s inhabitants are of Andu descent. In addition much of the original population was killed by the Red Wind?s servants, meaning that today?s Tenouireans are all descended from the few survivors of that attack. They have also intermarried with other peoples to a much smaller extent than the Anuireans, and thus consider themselves to be of pure blood (as opposed to the Cerilian Andu that have become ?tainted?). Red hair is common among the people here, and their skin is pale when compared to others living in such a sunny country.
Rey (King) Coeder Laranwych (b. 1475 HC, r. 1510 HC): Male Anuire; Mid-level Noble/Rogue; Brenna, major; CN. King Coeder assumed the mantle of rulership after putting down a place coup that displaced his uncle, King Tristan. Although Coeder was not involved in the coup itself, he used the opportunity to kill the old king?s heirs and take the throne for himself. Coerder is a massively overweight person that spends his time indulging in his ? many ? vices, while leaving most royal affairs in the hands of his Chamberlain, Duque Haerculvian Corwin.
Duque (Duke) Haerculvian Corwin (b. 1477 HC, r. 1513 HC): Male Anuirean; High-level Noble/Fighter; Anduiras, major; LE. Duke Haerculvian is the second most powerful noble in Tenouire after the King. His House controls extensive holdings on the western coast, but also holds the allegiance of a great number of mountain fiefdoms. The Duke is a fit and skilled warrior and sailor in his prime, and in many ways he is all that the King is not ? a paragon of Tenouirean virtue.
Noble Houses: House Laranwych (Brenna) has been kings since Michael?s time. It has lands and commercial interests in and around Kratas. Hourse Corwin (Anduiras) is the richest and most powerful of the noble families, with holding both on the west coast and in the mountains. House Zeiberwych (Masela) has rather poor land, but sports some of the fiercest buccaneers, and are skilled ?tax collectors?. House Laralan (Masela) is another mid-sized family, with extensive holdings along the Straits of Aerele. House Renwel (Reynir) is the poorest of Tenouire?s major houses, with holdings primarily in the high interior valleys and meadows.
Religion and magic
The people of Tenouire continue to worship the Old Gods, as they always have. During the Anuirean occupation the old faiths were suppressed, but never destroyed, and once the power of the Empire was broken they resurfaced. Masela is the most important goddess, testament to Tenouire?s reliance on the oft-treacherous Sea of Storms. Brenna is second in importance, both because she takes an interest in commerce (read piracy in this case) and because she needs to be placated to keep misfortune at bay. Anduiras is also a major player on the religious scene, serving as patron of the ruling class and an inspiration for the fierce warriors of this rough land, while Reynir does have a small following in the mountains. Vorynn and Basaïa are of lesser importance.
Faithful of Brenna: The Faithful of Brenna is the state faith of Tenouire and enjoys the support and vice versa) of the King. The temple of Brenna has grown in power over the last two centuries, eventually eclipsing the Temple of Storms in both wealth and power. Its elevation to state faith is a more recent development ? instituted by the King and his sister, the High Priestess of Brenna.
Maselan Temple of Storms: The Maselan Temple of Storms has its headquarters in Kratas, but enjoys only a modest support here and along the fertile western coastal strip (the King and Duke Corwin?s lands), and no support at all in the interior. Along the rest of the coast, however, the Maselan temple rules supreme. The temple also has a branch operating further north, among the people of the Western Isles.
Gelbere: Gelbere is the former Conde (Count) of House Renwel. Five decades ago he was cursed by the priestesses of Brenna for some unknown sin, and subsequently took on a hideous wolf-like appearance. He fled into the Adurian wasteland and was presumed dead. Twenty years later, however, he returned a full-fledged wizard. Since that day he has worked hard to secure control over the sources of the highlands, those beyond the reach of the Maselan priesthood. It is said that he seek temporal power in Tenouire, but that he bides his time.
The realm of Tenouire is located in the northern part of Aduria, west of Mieres, just where the Straits of Aerele meets the Sea of Storms. It is a good villainous realm for campaigns taking place in the southern part of the West Coast, especially those that involved a bit of sea travel and exploration. In addition to offering fierce buccaneers, there are also two priesthoods that belong to the old gods Masela and Brenna - good human enemies for divine characters.
Following the rocky shores of Tenouire can be dangerous, as wind and currents conspire with hidden shoals and piratical locals to make life miserable for honest sailors. Most traders thus prefer to sail out of sight of land on a southwesterly course until they reach Cape Duor and the Duorbae or Sere Bay. Here the ships anchor and send parties ashore to fill barrels of freshwater in the Duor River, a narrow and rapid river whose waters are said to remain fresh and pure for much longer than is usual.
Brave captains even send their crew into the Haunted Forest on the Duor River?s eastern bank to reap from its bounty of fruits and meat. No one stays ashore after dark, for dangerous creatures are said to prowl the night. Several trading companies have tried to establish outposts near Cape Duro, but with the remote location, harsh winter weather and dangerous local wildlife, none have lasted very long. This has added to the already poor reputation of the place and for the time being Cape Duor will remain just a stopover of ships venturing westward.
Between Cape Duor and the Shoal of Shattered Keels lies the lonely island of Dor Ariele ? the Rock of Ariele. Only nine miles long and half as wide, this windswept rock commands the strategic Ariele Race; throughout summer there is a strong and steady easterly wind that drives ships quickly and surely towards their destination, and captains who navigate too far north find themselves in a region of frequent calms. The ruins of the fortress-city of Tuole Ariele (Twol Ah-REEL) overlook the fine natural harbor at the island?s eastern end.
In centuries after Deismaar, the Iron Throne of Anuire commenced a cautious westward expansion along the shores of Aduria, reclaiming the lands of their distant ancestors. At the forefront of these efforts stood the Knights-Mariner of Nesirie, champions of the seas and masterful explorers of the high seas. A very small order at its founding, the Knights-Mariner amassed great influence and wealth with the colonization of Oeried, Rhandel and more distant lands. Granted plenipotentiary rights to oversee trade, development, and defense of these colonies in the crown?s name, the Knights-Mariner became, for a time, the richest and most powerful faction in the Imperial Court. At Tuole Ariele they established their fortress headquarters astride the river of wealth flowing from Aduria?s shores to the Imperial Caern.
With the end of the Empire, the Mariners gradually weakened in the face of chaos at home and rebellion abroad. In 1060 HC, Oeried fell under the rule of the dark sorcerer-lord known as Noruimor, the Eyeless King. Noruimor gathered his forces to confront the last vestiges of Imperial power in Aduria, the Knights-Mariner, and in 1077 HC he struck, unleashing a horrible and dark doom upon the impregnable fortress. Not a single soul of the thousands-strong garrison survived and remaining war-fleet of the Knights-Mariner were lost as well. From that day forward the fortress was abandoned to whatever monstrous sorcery the Eyeless King had wrought there.
The lands west of Cape Duor are a barren place of arid plains, sandy desert, and great fields of broken rocks. It is an unfriendly place; similar in many ways to the hill-lands of Turachne to the west, but more open. In the summer months, plumes of dust stand for miles out to sea, coating the decks of passing ships with fine red grit. In winter sudden storms from the Miere Rhuann lash the plains, often accompanies by fierce downpours. The dry and hard-packed earth of the Tallellaigh is ill equipped to handle this intense rain, which results in many localized flash floods along various dried-out riverbeds. After the winter season is over, very little of the precipitation has actually seeped into the red soil, leaving the land dry and desolate.
The Sere Coast is largely uninhabited. In fact, it has never been settled by civilized folk, although a few scattered copper and tin mines sponsored by Anuirean and Brecht guilds huddle along the coastline. The interior is dry steppe, haunted by great bands of nomadic gnolls and home to mysterious elven culture.
Scattered oases dot the region, and are the natural nuclei of settlement in the Tallellaigh. The Tallellaigh (meaning the Dead Earth in the sidhe tongue) is home to the Ashen Elves (called Grey Elves by some). It is not known why these sidhe have chosen to live in this accursed place, but the fact is that they have been there for as long as anyone can remember. The Ahsen brook no intrusions into their realm, responding swiftly and with deadly force against any perceived intruder.
The Ashen are similar to their Cerilian brethren, but have darker skin tones, and dress in different garb, use other equipment, and keep simpler settlements. Yet there is also great difference, for the Ashen lead short lives (compared to other elves at least) and seem not to enjoy the immortality of other sidhe. Instead they seek to perfect themselves through a series of reincarnations, always striving in accordance to their unknowable ideal so that they may rise in station in the next life. Outsiders, who are aware of only some vague references to death and reincarnation, do not know the exact details of this belief system.
The Anuirean Empire had some encounters with the Ashen, when Ashen attacks on mining settlements along the Sere Coast threatened to disrupt the flow of metals. The Imperial armies dispatched to exact punishment failed miserably, and the Empire eventually settled for fortifying and garrisoning select mining sites, which more or less ended the Ashen threat but which made the metal extraction a costly business. The current mining operations have not been molested, and have no knowledge of any elves, but must sometimes defend against gnoll attacks.
A lone river flows through the heart of the Tallellaigh during the late winter and spring months, but dries up during summer and remains waterless for part of the year. The river is fed be melting snows from the Mountains of Haze to the south. But even when its waters are flowing the river is of no use ? for its waters are poisonous, and nothing lives in or near the river.
Bordering the fertile lowlands of Oeried in the west and the desolate wastelands of the Tallellaigh in the east are the arid hills and badlands of Turachne (meaning the Harsh Land in the local tongue). The entire area is largely worthless, except that it offers an almost impenetrable barrier to any army that might come marching down the Sere Coast (not an easy task in itself).
At first glance Turachne appears to be devoid of intelligent life, but the area is nevertheless the home of a tribe of humans who have mastered the art of surviving in this cursed land. They call themselves the Turaxiarien (approximately: the People of the Harsh Land) and they are probably descended from Andu stock that migrated to this region during the Flight from Shadow before Deismaar. A plausible theory is that they fled north across the mountains to escape enslavement by Azrai?s minions, and were forced to settle in Turachne by necessity (finding all other lands already occupied).
The Turaxiarien tribe is divided into several clans, with each clan divided into extended families (all of which has blood ties to the clan) centered on a patriarch. Families may fade from existence and new ones be created, but the clans are relatively stable. Central authority is almost nonexistent and each patriarch is effectively lord and king of his extended family group. Once a year the families of a clan will meet at a specific place, where the patriarchs discuss things like trade, marriage, and war. If any clan policies are to be decided, then the clan gathering is the time for that. In times of war (a rare occurrence) a clan will meet outside of season to select one of their members (usually a chief) to be war chief for the duration of the conflict.
The Turaxiarien still follow the teachings of Anduiras, whom they call Anaxiarien (approximately: He who watches over the People). Anaxiarien upholds the martial virtues and holds individual courage in high esteem. Anaxiarien also demands loyalty to family, clan and tribe, obedience to elders and chiefs, and adherence to tradition and established norms. As a result the all the Turaxiarien are fierce and courageous warriors and the net of loyalties and adherence to the established system helps the people survive the many hardships of their adopted homeland.
Another set of inhabitants are also worth noting ? the landwyms. Somewhat similar to the Cerilian dragons of legend in shape, except that they lack wings and flight, the landwyrms may well be a strain of draconic creature related to other dragons. It should also be noted that the Turaxiarien believe the landwyrms to be representations of the will of Anaxiarien ? a will which is not always so easy to understand, but usually has to do with testing the worth of the Turaxiarien warriors. Some landwyrms are actually fairly benign or can be reasoned with at the very least, but many are fairly slow-witted or outright mindless creatures that can only be dealt with in a violent fashion.
The Turaxiarien tongue is derived from Old Andu, a fact that is recognizable to a scholar learned in that tongue. It is possible for a speaker of Old Andu to get across some basic ideas using plenty of time and pantomime, but not much more than that. Anuirean has evolved in a different direction and does not help in understanding Turaxiarien. Turaxiarien may actually have been influenced a bit by Draconic, because of the interaction between the tribe and the landwyrms (some of which possesses language). Someone speaking both Old Andu and Draconic can, with some difficulty, understand and make himself understood.
The Anuireans were probably aware of the Turaxiarien, but had little reason to interact with them (since they had little to trade, lived in a worthless land, and proved quite hostile to outsiders). As least one Anuirean scholar visited the tribe during the 6th century, but he failed to learn important things abut their origin and religious life, leading him to draw only erroneous conclusions. He concluded that the tribesmen were savages that worshiped dragons, and failed to notice any connection between his own ancestors and those of the Turaxiarien.
The Mountains of Haze is catchall for the stretch of mountains and hill-lands running from the Straits of Aerele in the north (where they separate Tenouire from Mieres) to the Kiervon Massif in to south, following a largely south-westerly path. The Mountains of Haze have several local names as well, which differs as one move along the range; they are called the Alraphans where they branch out to cover northern Tenouire, the Teeth of Wyloch in central Tenuiore and south of Kratas they are called Bakratok (an named derived from the dwarven tongue it is believed).
The Mountains of Haze are not the tallest mountains on Aebrynis, averaging between 6000 and 9000 feet for the middle of the range. But they are certainly among the most rugged, especially near Tenouire, with terrain that can best be classified a badlands being common. There is evidence of considerable geological upheaval in the not-so distant past (scholar estimates range between 10.000 and 100.000 years ago), with cataclysmic earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions throughout the range. Around Tenouire most of the debris from this even has been cleared away by the actions of glaciers during a long-forgotten ice age, but elsewhere there terrain and be both bizarre and hazardous to travelers.
According to dwarven lore the Mountains of Haze once were home to many proud dwarf-holds, until the great dwarven empire there earned the ire of a god-like figure the dwarves name ?Atlas?, the Earthshaker. If this is the case, then the destruction of the dwarf-holds was quite thorough, for no-one has found any remnants of said holds as far as Anuirean scholars are concerned. Anyway, dwarven writing and calendars are notoriously difficult to interpret, so it might just be a legend.
, 08-12-2009 at 04:42 AM|
Last edited by , 10-23-2011 at 01:58 PM
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