The Iron Kingdom of Gildor
Size: 3’480 square miles Allegiance: Law Government: Monarchy Population: 50’460, 14 persons per square mile; 35% Urban Dwellers, 55% Rural Dwellers, 10% Abroad; 80% Human, 20% Beastfolk; 13% Military, 12% Clergy, 10% Nobility, 20% Urban Workers, 50% Rural Commoners; 20% Chaos, 25% Balance, 55% Law Law Rank: 5 Transitions: Two violent overthrows Legal Code: Old Legal Code – Atarns Law Enforcement: Very Strong Corruption: Hardly Any Social Standing: Always Matters
Gildor takes up the lower western shore of the north-western continent. It is closely bordered by The Stone Magocracy of Mirak, a large island which broke free of the larger landmass during the great cataclysm. The straight that runs between the two nations is known as The Silver Straight. Beyond Mirak lies The Great Western Sea. Off the southern coast across The Golden Gulf lies Org, an even larger island of dense jungle named after the bestial race that lives there. To the north lies Dunreth Forest and the largest unexplored territory on the continent.
The proud history of Gildor predates the young kingdoms around the inland sea. Gildor and distant Rom are referred to as the iron kingdoms. Ist and Esh are older still. They are called the golden kingdoms. The chaotic lands of the far east are called the black kingdoms. Mirak with its reluctant, petulant council of wizard-ministers is known as the stone magocracy. They appear aloof to worldly affairs but they still tithe the Dragon Lords of Melnibon with everyone else… Distant Dorel, the land of a thousand chiefs, is also known as a stone country. Few have the patience to wait for so many tribes of horse-lords to reach a consensus about anything…
The Royal Law of Gildor
Gildor is a monarchy but the king is elected by the royal court. If the king is incapacitated or missing his chosen heir will serve in his name until his fate is known and a vote for a new king is made. If the king has no fit heir a regent will be chosen by the church of law. The church of law is the only authority equal to the king. The king may not enact a law or declare a war that the church has not approved and conversely the church cannot carry out a sentence not approved by the king.
Caspia is the capital of Gildor. The king and the royal family live in an impregnable castle surrounded by the royal court where all the other royal relatives and descendants of previous monarchs live. History has shown that the strength of Gildor lies in its unity. Everyone is expected to cooperate and work for a common goal there are no exceptions. A noble must share his roads, a farmer must share his food, the king must share his taxes with the people…
If the king is away, deposed or replaced with a regent the royal court will vote in his stead. Wealth and rank are not above the law. A noble that mistreats a commoner will be tried in the common court. A royal that mistreats a noble will be tried in the noble court etc.
Anyone can appeal to a higher court if the vote isn’t a two thirds majority. If the accused looses the vote they can still beg for leniency or trial by combat. A death sentence is not mandatory except for cases of premeditated murder.
Leniency means the accused forfeits their life in hopes of earning back their freedom (usually after many years laboring or soldiering in chains.) Once sentenced criminals are branded, if pardoned they must carry a writ of pardon at all times or be arrested for concealing a criminal brand. (Forgery of a writ of pardon or any official seal is a serious crime and requires investigation by an inquisitor usually ending in the torture and arrest of many people)
Anyone bearing a criminal brand cannot rise to nobility or knighthood and conversely those of nobility or knighthood that suffer a brand loose their rank. Lastly, in lieu of trial the accused and the challenger may decide to settle the matter by combat. In such cases either party can request a champion of the court if there are no volunteers from his jury of peers. (Every court is divided into a jury of the accused and a jury of the challenger.)
Branded criminals cannot enter a court unless they are themselves on trial or called as a witness. The judge of a common court is usually a priest of Donblas. The judge of a noble court is an Inquisitor. The judge of the royal court is the king. Weapons are forbidden to commoners and magical items are forbidden to anyone.
Champions of the court are chosen from branded criminals that previously volunteered for this duty. Trial by combat is always to the death. (The logic being that if you aren’t willing to die or let another man risk his life for your freedom you would beg for leniency instead.)
Early History of Gildor
Gildors early history begins with the dragon wars. Early on it seemed hopeless. Caspia, the largest best defended city in the realm had already been destroyed by the enemy. Great King Atarn, the builder, was the first to unite the people under one crown and defy the dragons. He observed that independently, none of the other lords could withstand dragon kynde. One by one their castles fell to ruin. Commoners were killed by the thousands with nowhere to retreat. The land burned.
Unlike the other lords Atarn decided not to hide behind his gates and await his doom. Instead he gathered his knights and his serfs and abandoned his castle. He pulled down the towers and walls himself piling the stones on wagons and carts in a caravan bound for Caspia. Along the way he gathered other lord-less knights and other refugees until there were thousands of men, women and children trailing behind him. The only request he made in return for his protection was a contribution to a “war chest” of coin and treasure. Whenever they passed a ruined castle or town they stopped and collected stones and timbers in large quantities.
However before they reached Caspia an army of dragon kin appeared before them arrayed for battle. Considering the composition of his fighting force Atarn admitted this was a battle they could not win. He ordered the war chest to be brought forward and he approached the enemy horde to parley.
“This war chest contains the treasure of every town and castle I passed in Gildor including my personal valuables. They were given to me, lord Atarn, in return for my protection. I give it to you freely without battle or bloodshed, only let us pass in peace.”
The dragonkin generals were confused by this gesture. At first they assumed the war chest was fake, or some sort of trap… but they confirmed the gold and jewels were real. Then they suspected Atarn was trying to hide an army of mercenaries with stocks of weapons in the guise of commoners. Atarn permitted them to send a small detachment to search anyone they pleased until they were satisfied this was no army of mercenaries. After the dragonkin were convinced lord Atarn was not lying they accepted his terms and let everyone pass. Some of the people were confused and angry with lord Atarn for bargaining with the enemy. He said.
“Good people what is Gildor? Is it a border on a map? Is it wealth? Is it an army or a castle? No my friends, Gildor is us! What is the value of a commoners life? A knights? A nobles? I would trade all the gold in Gildor for all of you, or anyone of you!”
When they reached the ruins of Caspia, Atarn asked for a moment of silence to honor the dead. Then he said…
“Here we find the ruins of Caspia, the finest city in Gildor. We have all seen war. We’ve seen our homes burned, our loved ones butchered, and worse… and now we ask ourselves what can we do to regain what we’ve lost? How do we keep our children safe? How do we honor the dead by ensuring nothing like this happens again?… We build!
A city without people is nothing more then a graveyard. Flesh decays, iron rusts, bones crumble to dust, but these stones will remain to mark our graves forever! I have asked us all to carry something of our homes with us so we never forget what we lost. We should remember the walls that kept us safe, the timbers that kept us dry and warm.
Let us all help each other to make a new city where we can live together. Gildor is vast and we are few, but honestly I feel safer with you then I did with all my wealth behind the gates of my castle. The fact is there is only one choice left for us. We must choose to survive together, strive together or die together!
Caspia has fallen but we will raise it! We will live! Long live Gildor! Long live Gildor! Long live Gildor!”
And the people shouted back… “Long live king Atarn!” They put a crown on his head shaped like a castle wall because that was his legacy. He was Great King Atarn the builder…
Incidentally there is a legend that the war chest of Great King Atarn appears on the anniversary of his death at a random site of an old ruined castle, battlefield or town lost in the dragon wars.
Gildor in the second Dark Age
Recent History of Gildor
In the last fifty years the monarchy has suffered two violent overthrows. Thirty years ago the prince put the king in a coma before he could draft a treaty with neighboring Mirak. As acting regent the traitorous prince brought Gildor to the brink of war for two years waiting to assume the crown.
Thankfully his younger brother led a coup to remove him from power and averted a war that is no longer pending but quite possible two decades later. Unfortunately the prince avoided capture with the aid of conspirators and remains at large. Tragically the king was never able to explain his reasoning for a treaty with Mirak before he passed away.
The younger prince is no warrior. He fancies himself a builder and started spending the exuked princes hoarded taxes on new roads and public works. He’s contracted The Steam and Iron Workers Guild for several hundred additional Steamjacks to speed up the labor but he hasn’t cutout the smaller labor guilds which keeps him popular with the commoners.
The new King disbanded the massive standing army his elder brother assembled and redirected military patrols towards the interior effectively bracing law and order at some expense of border security.
He plans to fill the gap with balloon patrols and fast-response airships that can carry dozens of armed soldiers to the borders of Gildor in a matter of hours not days. Critics of the king say his ideas bolster the appearance of security without actually improving it. For this reason he’s known as the Dreamer.
After all balloons make large targets for wizards and dragons. However the king has also increased funding to The Gunsmiths Guild for accurate long-range cannons in the hopes that military airships will be able to hit the source of spells and breath weapons while remaining out of range from counterattack.