Free Palatinate of Dyrwood

From Pillars of Eternity Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Free Palatinate of Dyrwood
Dyrwood coa.png
General
Government
Elective monarchy
Capital
Founder(s)
Leader(s)
Demography
Population
1,900,000 
Languages(s)
Races(s)
Nomadic people
  • 80% Resident
  • 20% Transient
Urbanisation
  • 20% Urban
  • 80% Rural
Other
Faiths
Products(s)
  • Wyr
  • Wool
  • Gal glas
  • Timber
  • Glanfathan deer hide
  • Tin
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Copper
Locations
Relations
Connections

The Free Palatinate of Dyrwood is an independent nation that contains the entirety of the Dyrwood.[1] Historically, it was once a colony and later a large, remote duchy of the Aedyr Empire. Led by their duke, Admeth Hadret, the people successfully fought for their independence over an excessively burdensome campaign to colonize the dangerous ruins of Eir Glanfath on behalf of the empire.[2] After the Dyrwoodan war for independence, the Dyrwood officially stopped the Aedyr Empire's practice of exploring and plundering Eir Glanfath's sacred ruins, an act that had sparked previous wars.[3] Later it fought the Saint's War. The Palatinate and the Vailian Republics are both leading nations in animancy research.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

No other land has quite a wild and bloody recent history. From colony to palatinate to free republic, the Dyrwood has undergone a trial by fire to emerge as a powerful force of the Eastern Reach. Dyrwood's history begins in Aedyr in 2602 AI. Aedyre explorers returned from a journey across the ocean with tales of countless ruins scattered through the forests as well as plains to the north with trees that would be perfect for growing vorlas. There was a problem, however - the locals were hostile and there was potential for conflict. The fercönyng of Aedyr ("first king" or emperor) knew that this was too good an opportunity to pass up and sent more explorers to scout and map the area.[5]

Exploration continued over the next twenty years. Small groups of explorers traveled back and forth between Aedyr and this new world with a handful of colonists setting up small camps to establish a base for the explorers to work out of. Conflicts with the locals - the Glanfathans - were rare, but frequent enough for the fercönyng to send a small squadron of guards to help protect his citizens. These guards established a central base on a river in the western section of the woods. This settlement would eventually become the city of Dyrford (upon which the modern day village of the same name is presently built). Once that base was established, the first permanent Aedyran settlements began north and west of the Bael River. Over the next three years, thousands of Aedyrans made the trek from Aedyr to this new land. The Glanfathans, who seemed to revere the ruins scattered through the forest, caused a few problems with some of the settlements, especially those founded near the ruins themselves. These were easily taken care of by the colonists with the help of the imperial guard. The Aedyrans, in order to further their foothold in the area, reduce the cost of production, andto keep the Glanfathan population under control, started enslaving any Glanfathans captured during the attacks, resulting in long-lasting tensions between the Glanfathans and the colonists.[5]

With the population of the area growing, an official governmental structure is established by the fercönyng. He appointed several erls to preside over the land and assigned them thayns to help run their territories. The new gréfram was officially named the Dyrwood, with Dyrford remaining the center for imperial guard military operations, while a new settlement in Pearlwood Gulf, New Dunryd, became the economic and political heart. Sitting at the edge of the ocean, forest, fertile farmlands, and a river that runs from the coast to the White March, settlers flocked to New Dunryd, hoping to establish names for themselves. [5]

War with Eir Glanfath[edit | edit source]

However, the colonization effort did not continue without problems. In 2626 AI, a group of farmers accidentally knocked down one of the ancient adra menhirs on their land while clearing farmland for planting. The accident was interpreted as an act of sacrilege by Glanfathans and gross mishandling of the situation by the authorities in New Dunryd started what would come to be known as the Broken Stone War. When it was finally over, several thousand colonists have been killed as well as hundreds of the Glanfathans. Even though the war was technically over, the Glanfathans escalated their attacks on the settlers over the next two years using vicious tactics that left many colonists, several military figures, an erl, and six thayns dead, thanks to Galven Regd, a talented glanfathan military commander.[6]

Unable to stop the Glanfathan attacks, the erls elected erl Edrang Hadret to the position of gréf . Well respected and known to be a master of military tactics, he was tasked with dealing with the Glanfathan threat. Edrang fought with the Glanfathans for the next two years. Neither side could gain the upper hand on the other resulting in a tense stalemate between the two groups. Because of this , the hostilities slowly died off and in 2631, the Dyrwoodan people signed a treaty with the Glanfathans. Regd would step down, the Glanfathans would stop their attacks altogether, and the Dyrwoodan people would leave the ruins alone. This treaty angered the nobility in Aedyr, as it brought to a halt the supply of artifacts. Edrang also tried to get the practice of slavery outlawed, but this was not successful. Because of this, the peace between the Dyrwood and Eir Glanfath was uneasy and tumultuous. Small patches of rural violence still cropped up, but were easily dealt with, as neither side wanted another war.[6]

The Dyrwood would see peace and prosperity for 21 years, aside from the occasional slave uprising or border dispute. In 2652 AI, some of the Dyrwoodan erls, tired of being restricted by the treaties and encouraged by imperial sources, defied the decrees and sent people to loot the ruins in the Dyrwood. The Glanfathans, already angered by the continued exploitation of their kith and kin as slaves, retaliated. Renewed guerilla attacks under Galvan Regd's command coincided with a massive slave uprising throughout the Dyrwood. A contingent of delemgan joined the forces as well, making the fights in the forest even more deadly for the Dyrwoodan soldiers. Edrang, then far too old to lead Dyrwood in war, sent his son to deal with the situation. Admeth, showing the same tactical prowess as his father, analyzed Glanfathan tactics and implemented scorched earth tactics. Luring Regd's forces into a trap near a tributary of the Isce Úar River, Admeth set fire to the forests behind the Glanfathans, while positioning his soldiers beyond the river. Trapped between fire and water, Glanfathans lose thousands, with Regd himself captured and imprisoned in New Heomar. The war peters out a few months later, with entire stretches of the Dyrwood burned to the ground together with Glanfathan villages and their inhabitants.[7]

Edrang died in 2654. Regd, who had developed a begrudging respect for his constant adversary over the years they had fought, sent Admeth his sincere condolences from captivity in New Heomar, as the gref's son assumed his father's place. The other erls disliked this development and began publicly overriding Admeth's decrees. To contain the situation and gain true power, Admeth leveraged his alliance with the newly independent Vailian Republics and the support of common Dyrwoodans and presented an ultimatum to the fercönyng of Aedyr: Dyrwood was to become a gréf palatine, giving Admeth authority over all the erls, their holdings, and their titles. The fercönyng, who did not want to have to deal with a rebellion while trying to revivify the vorlas trade in Readceras, acquiesced. Admeth quickly consolidated his power, forcing erls to recognize his authority and investing substantial sums into Dyrwood's port and shipping facilities. The increased profits from trade temporarily stabilize relations with the Empire and its fercönyng.[7]

Under Admeth's rule, the Dyrwood saw seven productive and profitable years. In 2662 AI, he put an slavery to an end in the Dyrwood. The Ten Years Treaty, signed on the tenth anniversary of the War of Black Trees, mandated that all slaves be released over the next several years in return for copper and lands, banned slavery across the Dyrwood, while Eir Glanfath would recipricate by opening up trade with the Dyrwood and cede a number of frontier territories. Hundreds of coopers rebelled against the treaty, only to be crushed by Admeth's forces. Although insignificant in objective terms, the rebellion's scope was deliberately inflated by official propaganda to discourage any further attempts of defying Adhmeth.[7]

War of Defiance[edit | edit source]

The rural communities loved Admeth Hadret, considering him the best leader they'd ever had. In Aedyr, the fercönyng rankled against his usurpations of imperial authority, but no longer had the necessary power to truly undo anything that had happened.[8]

Two years later, in 2664 AI, the fercönyng found allies willing to explore the ruins (against the treaty conditions) and plundered them for their artifacts. This was done discretely at first, but they eventually became careless. The agents were discovered and arrested, but there was no evidence pointing back to the fercönyng. Admeth, suspecting the truth, used Glafathan brishalgwin (‘mind hunters’) - the progenitors of modern day ciphers - to investigate the matter further. With this method of interrogation, he discovered a chain of evidence all the way back to the fercönyng. While he investigated, many rural communities suffered retaliatory attacks by Glanfathans.[8]

Armed with this new information, Admeth worked with Galven Medhra (the new leader of the Glanfathans) and the rural communities of the Dyrwood to prevent the fercönyng's agents from entering the ruins. There was a back and forth between the two groups, both sides engaging in various political, economic, and military maneuvers to try and gain the upper hand. The fercönyng was at a disadvantage in this game, though, as he preferred to assert his authority without causing an uprising.[8]

Eventually Admeth had enough. He convinced seven of the nine erls to join him and they severed their allegiance to the fercönyng, declaring themselves independent and decree they would govern themselves, just as the Vailian Republics did twenty years prior. Admeth told the people he had tired of policies that made the nobles rich while putting the people of the Dyrwood at risk. He declared himself a duc (again, modeled after the Vailian Republic's governing structure) and called the Dyrwood a ‘free’ palatinate. Thus began The War of Defiance in 2668 AI.[8]

The war lasted four years and caused countless casualties, including Admeth himself. The Dyrwoodans and their Glanfathan allies were able to persevere. Glanfathan astrologers, alongside the Dyrwoodan forces and members of the ad hoc Knights of the Crucible militia, won the Battle of Defiance Bay, which became the last battle of the war and left Dyrwood free from Aedyran imperial rule. Seven of the nine erls of the Dyrwood survived and, unified in purpose, signed treaties with the fercönyng of Aedyr. The war gave the Dyrwood a greater sense of unity between its citizens and their Glanfathan allies. Admeth Hadret was revered by both groups and the Dyrwood enjoyed for the first time a nationwide fellowship of independence, perseverance, and sacrifice. Yenwood and Cwynsrun were dissolved and incorporated into the surrounding erldoms, leaving seven - Helsgate, The Grasp, Tenferths, Norwaech, Coldwater, Ashfall, and Baelreach. New Dunryd was renamed Defiance Bay and would become the seat of power for the new duc in Baelreach. The new duc’s rule began in 2672 AI.[8]

Rise of animancy[edit | edit source]

Animancy, outlawed while under Aedyr rule, was technically no longer taboo after Hadret’s Rebellion. Academics began its study again in earnest in 2681 AI. By 2697 AI, there were almost 40 academics actively researching the field both in the Dyrwood and the Vailian Republics, even though no significant results had been discovered. A tragic breakthrough of sorts happened in 2704 AI. An animancer working in Baelreach accidentally shattered the souls of about a dozen volunteers who had been helping him. In retaliation for the deaths, the citizens of the area stormed his house and killed him. The erl of the region, not wanting to waste resources or anger the locals any more than they already were, did nothing to find the head of the vigilante mob, but neither did he outlaw animancy. To ensure their own safety, most animancers moved from the rural areas where they were studying and settled in Defiance Bay, many of them choosing the emerging and wealthy district of Brackenbury as their new home of operations.[9]

While there were still a few breakthroughs and the study of animancy continued for the next 24 years, it quickly slowed as it became cost-prohibitive and complicated the more people learned about it. Most animancers couldn't afford to continue research without the support of donations or gifts from wealthy individuals and organizations. In 2737 AI, some animancers, desperate to continue their studies and seeing no other means of furthering their research, entered the forbidden ruins of Eir Glanfath to further their research. They discovered some such sites had strange artifacts that seemed to bear affinity to soul essence, and began to prod at the devices for further insight. Even with continued research, they are unable to tell quite what they have discovered. Eventually they were found out by the Glanfathans, who captured some of them, demanding they be punished for their crimes. The Dyrwoodan authorities, in order to maintain their treaties and keep the peace, had no choice - they allowed the animancers to be executed according to Glanfathan tradition. This led the duc to make an additional proclamation - the study and practice of animancy on, or even near, the sacred Glanfathan sites, would be punishable by death.[9]

In 2780 AI, in order to mend relations with the Glanfathans, the Dyrwoodan government allowed some animancers to begin training and experiments in conjunction with the Glanfathan ‘mind hunters’ - their native ciphers. This was an exchange of information. The animancers documented the secrets of the mind hunters powers. The mind hunters learned new techniques for concentration which assisted them in taking their powers to a level no Glanfathan had seen before. The ciphers, no longer wary of the animancers intentions, trusted them to such a level that they convinced the Glanfathans to give some animancers limited access to some of the training sites where the Glanfathans practiced. The anamfaths of the Glanfathan tribes opened the training grounds to the animancers. They were not allowed inside - as this was still strictly forbidden - but the general allowances by the Glanfathans were seen as a breakthrough in relations between the Dyrwood and Eir Glanfath. Over the next eight years, the animancers’ research would continue unimpeded. With the exception of some minor squabbles, there has been no major strife between the two groups for almost 120 years since.[9]

The Saint's War[edit | edit source]

In 2807 AI, war returned to the Dyrwood. St. Waidwen, transformed supposedly into a living incarnation of Eothas, marched on the Dyrwood from Readceras, beginning The Saint's War. The Dyrwood rallied at Halgot Citadel and took the battle to him in Readceras, attempting to prevent as much damage to their own land as they could. Even though there were devastating losses for the Dyrwoodan forces, using Hadret's military techniques combined with Galven Regd's strategies, they were able to secure a few victories for themselves as well. Readceran forces made their way into the Dyrwood through White March - unopposed by the locals at Cold Morn - leaving Mercy Vale burned and devastated. The contempt the Dyrwoodans have for Cold Morn for this betrayal lasted well after the war ends.[10]

Desperate to end the war and eliminate St. Waidwen, the Magranic clergy of Dyrwood developed a special bomb that was hidden beneath the bridge at Halgot Citadel, intending to lure Waidwen to the bridge and then detonate it. Their plan was carried out in 2808 AI to tremendous success: St. Waidwen was completely destroyed, along with most of the forces with him and the entire bridge. The twelve Dyrwoodan men and women who volunteered to delay St. Waidwen on the bridge were also lost, their sacrifice and martyrdom celebrated by the Dyrwood in the ensuing years. The bomb would come to be known as the Godhammer, and soon after the battle, the citadel was renamed ‘Godhammer Citadel.’ St. Waidwen's forces were easily routed after his death and the Dyrwood set about rebuilding from the first major conflict in over a century. In retaliation for St. Waidwen's actions, many Eothasian followers were purged from Dyrwoodan communities or driven out via social pressure.[10]

Less than a year after the devastation of The Saint's War, tragedy hit again. In 2809 AI, the first Hollowborn was reported in the Dyrwood. Many of these poor creatures died within weeks or months of being born. The outcry from the populace called for blame or punishment be leveled against someone, whether it be the gods, the mothers, the government, or Eothasians. Responding to great sociopolitical pressure to try and help the Hollowborn, animancers developed a process to transplant animal souls into the infants, that they might develop survival instincts and even a basic personality. The process seemed successful, so it was repeated on tens of thousands of Hollowborn, even though many animancers disagreed with the technique, worried about the ethical implications. These protests were largely ignored and discounted. The process was soon named "Salvation" and the Hollowborn given souls this way were called the "Saved."[10]

Five years after the first Hollowborn - an orlan girl - was saved, she entered puberty. In a matter of weeks, she transformed into a ravenous, feral creature devoid of all conscience. Soon, all of the Saved would experience the same fate. Each one, upon reaching puberty, would transform into what the locals called ‘wichts’ (uncontrollable children). After researching the problem, animancers discovered an incompatibility between the animal souls and the children’s bodies. This fueled the parents' anger (as many of them had to kill their wicht children). The animancers responsible were widely denounced and many of them were dragged from their homes, beaten, and - in many case - killed. Most surviving animancers left the rural areas en masse and headed to Defiance Bay. Others left the area completely, moving to the Vailian Republics to study in peace.[10]

Hollowborn Crisis[edit | edit source]

In 2823 AI, the influence of Waidwen's Legacy and the resulting waves of refugees stretched Dyrwood to the breaking point. Fifteen years of hollowing denied the Free Palatinate an entire generation of laborers, soldiers, artists, and thinkers, leaving only desolation in its wake. Erratic behavior by thayns such as Raedric VII in Gilded Vale further destabilized the nation, while deliberate interference by Leaden Key and Thaos, working to discredit animancy for centuries to come, further exacerbated the symptoms. In this weakened state, the Dyrwood was ripe for the picking, with the Vailian Republics, once its closest ally, deciding to try and take over all its trade with Eir Glanfath.[11]

Society[edit | edit source]

Most residents of the Dyrwood are Aedyr-descended humans, elves, and dwarves, but many are also culturally integrated orlans or children of Glanfathan elves.[2] Although slavery is no longer legal in the Dyrwood, many Glanfathan orlans and a few elves still work/serve in a state that is little better than slavery. Because Dyrwoodans sneer at appeals to authority, locals who dislike the state of affairs often feel that they have to take care of it themselves or do nothing at all (usually the latter).[12]

Dyrwoodans have a strong sense of nationalism due to the revolution, and continue to refer to their home as a "Free Palatinate" out of pride at having bested an empire. However, despite the War of Defiance, they are now trading partners and have maintained few grudges. Their one continued point of contention is exploration and colonization of Eir Glanfath, which Aedyr continues to push through official and unofficial means.[2]

  • Dyrwoodan virtues: independence, perseverance, sacrifice, communal hospitality, and vigilantism/feuding.
  • Dyrwoodan vices: servility, shirking (responsibilities), selfishness, lingering (near Engwithan ruins), "facepainting" (pejorative term for sympathizing with/acting like a Glanfathan).

Government[edit | edit source]

Dyrwood is an elective monarchy led by a Duc and before their independence they were ruled by a gréf of the Aedyr Empire appointed by the fercönyng. When he started the revolution, gréf Admeth Hadret followed the example of the Vailian Republics and declared himself the duc of the "free" palatinate. After his death during the closing of the revolution, the remaining erls of the Dyrwood elected his son to be the next duc. The erls are the intermediate level of government in the Dyrwood, between the duc and thayns, regional lords.

To be a noble in the Dyrwood is to fight constantly for your position, proving yourself to the erls and the thayns, as power shifts quickly. Each player has to play a fine balancing game between their interests and ensuring the loyalty of others. As a result, erls rarely get involved directly in disputes between their thayns. They particularly avoid stripping lands and titles from nobles, as these inflame nobility like no other action and can result in war if not managed with care. However, that does not exclude aiding their favorites by proxy, such as by providing military advisors to eliminate troublemakers in a discrete way.[13][14]

Not all ducs of the Dyrwood have been from the Hadret family, but they are all elected by the seven hereditary erls.[15]. Before the revolution there were 9 erldoms but two were dissolved after the revolution, leaving seven erldoms:[16]

Name Ruling Family Heraldry Area
Baelreach Ethgowr Party per fess embattled vert and argent, two estoiles or. Defiance Bay, Forked vale, Dyrford and Baelreach.
Coldwater Ungradr Chequy bleu celeste and argent, a falcon perched gules. from the Grasp in the West to Cold Morn in the East
The Grasp[17] Bademar

2823 AI erl: Bademar

Geiran's Grasp, New Heomar, Gilded Vale and the ruins of Caed Nua.
Helsgate Manhem Party per chevron sable and gules, a dragon rampant sinister counter-charged. Hel's Gate Citadel, Road's End and most of the land north of Pearlwood Bay, but excluding Gilded Vale.
Norwaech[18] Rafendr (pronunciation: RAH-ven-dur)

2823 AI erla: Frya Manhem

party per pale vert and azure overall a tower argent. New Yarma, Godhammer Citadel (formerly Halgot Citadel), and the isolated Hangman’s Abbey.
Tenferths Echo Bay, Fleetbreaker Castle, and King’s Lantern.
Ashfall
Dissolved erldoms
Yenwood Gathbin Party per fess dancetty gules and bleu celeste, an oak tree eradicated counter-charged. Formerly encompassing Gilded Vale, Caed Nua and Maragans Fork
Cwynsrun

Military[edit | edit source]

There are quite a few military structures/fortified areas in the Dyrwood ranging from fortified cities to castles. The Dyrwood does not have a standing army, but many erls keep professional soldiers organized in groups the size of a platoon or (for high-conflict areas) a company even during peacetime. These professional armies serve their employers, who often are nobles (though sometimes simply wealthy individuals). Of course, all of those nobles pledge to serve the will of the duc. This does not always work in practice. When nobles levy armies in the Dyrwood, the only lawfully do so under a ducal order of conscription. The service that peasants pledge is to the duc and their country, not individual nobles. In practice, they always serve under regional nobles(typically erls and thayns).[19]

The army is structured similar to real life armies, though there are a few differences. The "lieutenant" rank in the Dyrwood uses the title "steadman" but is functionally the same. And there are no subdivisions of steadman, sergeant, or corporal ranks.[19]

Notable Locations[edit | edit source]

  • Defiance Bay – capital and largest city of the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood. Located on the west coast, the port city is gateway to the riches of Eir Glanfath.
  • Gilded Vale – grain producing area northwest of Defiance Bay.
  • Dyrford Village – isolated town in the eastern part of the Dyrwood.
  • Anslög's Compass – Named for a rocky stretch of land which theoretically resembles a sundial, this lagoon provides decent fishing for both brave Dyrwoodans and a local contingent of Xaurips. More than one ship has met its end upon the nearby reef, and debris occasionally washes ashore from the wreckage.[20]
  • New Heomar – a port city in the northern part of the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood.
  • New Yarma – city near the border to Readceras.
  • Mercy Vale – a village that was destroyed during the Saint's War.
  • Caed Nua – a stronghold directly above the Endless Paths of Od Nua

See also[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

Promotional Content