The Kingdom of Strakenland (Dominaria Supplement)
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Strakenland is a vast expanse of hilly alpine grassland, steppes, and boreal forest that stretch from the Alba River Valley to the Shatterdale and the foothills of the Verge. Strakenland is the locally given name for what the rest of the Imperium called the Northern Reach. For an Age, this land was an occupied march under Illyrian lords, and then it joined the Northern Alliance under Malkeir during the rise of the Third Imperium. It was the Wars of Succession that pushed Strakenland into its own identity. High Seat Damar Rostan, Lord of the Reach and High Thane of the six clans, broke from House Malkeir when it became obvious that their goal was to pit the Renzels and TIonnes against one another. The Iron Legions of the Reach marched home soon after the Albians and the Kingdom of Strakenland was born. The young country benefits (as do all of the remnants of the Imperium), form Imperial Organization. King Rostan rules from Castle Illum and the five clans rule from their ancestral seats. The country trades freely with the races of the Verge and their human brothers to the south, and in the last decade the generation born after the Storm War has begun to trade with Malkeir again. Humans, dwarves, some elves, and mountainous races call this place home.
The region of Strakenland is a Kingdom new to the tapestry of the Westlands: a union of old northern Houses under a new King. Formerly part of the northern bloc of Houses in the Imperium and then part of the Northern Alliance against the Dragon, Strakenland left Malkier's sphere of influence to form a new Kingdom after the Battle of the Centrality. Strakenland was the first and largest new breakaway country; its 'secession' showed the first cracks in the old order's attempted reincarnation. Other countries would follow Strakenland's lead as the Coalition and Alliance's war against the Dragon's remnants drug on, because when Strakenland left it shook the already shaken order violently.
Strakenland was not a country, nor had it ever been really. The Kingdom of Strakenland was an appendage of the 2nd Imperium, and their swiftly crushed rebellion ended any small semblance of individuality. Following that, and then in the 3rd Imperium, Strakenland was a regional identity and the 'Strakenland Nobles' were a political alliance within the northern state of the Imperium. Their political alliance was a party under the larger umbrella of the northern Imperial state. During the Third Imperium's two generations of existence, this identity was only slightly eroded by the large and peaceful new empire. Strakenland maintained a firm identity even as trade and influence blurred the lines in the new country. After the ludicrously brutal fall of the 3rd Imperium, the Strakenland Nobles were drawn together by mutual loss in an effort to scrounge together a fighting force to defend themselves and add to the Alliance's effort. Their efforts yielded 3 competent fighting formations (the IV, XI, and XIII Legions) formed out of older Legions and their own militias. The strain was increasingly tough though, and in the wake of the Wandering One's fall the West still faced many years of war. The decision was made, in utter secrecy, to keep fighting until the Dragon fell - then no further.
So in the spring of 70 FA, the Northern Alliance marched south. The IV, XI, and XIII Legions, as well as the Strakenland noble's bannermen (The Iron Army) were part of the advance south into Illyria - an offensive undertaken simultaneously with the advance on the Centrality following the Battle of Nurim's Plains. More than three years of campaign and a dozen battles large and small wore down the northmens' resolve. In the summer of 73 FA, when the news of the Dragon's death and the fall of the Centrality arrived in Upper Illyria, the Iron Army was part of the vital siege of Pantipacea. The ancient ruin holds a bridge across the Isen River; normally not valuable, but the closest two bridges had been sapped by retreating Warlords. The news brought an end to the fighting and a week of feasting - made more jubilant by the surrender or retreat of the defending Warlord's men. At the end of the feasting Field Marshal Bernard Tionne called for the assembly and march, but the Iron Army's flag officers did not meet the assembly and the Iron Army marched north. The Field Marchal did not choose to pursue, but sent word ahead into Tionnic lands that the Iron Army was on the march and he did not know their intent.
The Iron Army marched north along King James' Highway north around the ruins of King John's wall and into Strakenland. They avoided pitched battle twice by negotiation, both times confronted by Tionnic House forces. As soon as the Iron Army crossed the Slatemarsh and entered Strakenland the Legionary troops, House bannermen, and levies returned to their home cities and the Strakenland Nobles met to form a new nation. The political fallout, even given the fractured state of western politics during the war, was extreme; and the stress was felt in the forming country. For two years, the coalition of nobles merely formed a bloc against possible Malkieri or Tionnic reprisal and ensured trade with Albia and Velmorra kept outside goods flowing into Strakenland. The Albian nobility, though still part of the Tionnic bloc, sided with the Strakenland nobles and allowed trade to Strakenland from the West to flow through their lands and across the guarded border. Strakenland's nobility also worked on forming a nation, and on the Autumn Equinox of 75 FA crowned King Damar Rostan High King of Strakenland and annointed 5 High Thanes to rule under him.
As the war wore on and Strakenland's independence began to sink in, relationships with Malkier began to thaw. Strakenland, as part of the Northern Alliance, had been under High Seat Malkier for the duration of the Third Imperium. Malkier tried to slip back into the superior role with Strakenland: they offered money and favorable trade but also made assumptions and demands that Strakenland quickly resented. In 81 FA, several years into this testy new dynamic, a delegation of Strakenland nobles showed up to the High Harvest Festival in Calitania. High King Rostan and three of his Thanes rode into the Summer City of the Tionnes and made overtures to the assembled Tionnic, Illyrian, and Arythi nobility. High King Rostan made a strong statement by attending the festival and meeting the 'southern' nobility in court. Strakenland would now be a fusion of cultures and influence - no longer a northern state.
MOVE BELOW: Strakenland's goods now flowed south, and a growing merchant marine based in Albia spreads their commerce around the world
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Government: High King Damar Rostan rules Strakenland from Castle Illum. Castle Illum is an old, sprawling, and partially destroyed Castle in what used to be known as the Northern Reach - near the border of the Shatterdale. High King Rostan chooses to rule from this austere location to set him apart from what much of the northern nobility has become, and also to remind his army of the threat that broods in the Shatterdale. Five High Thanes rule under him from the old Halls that form the center of Strakenland's five largest cities and towns.
Military: The Iron Army of Strakendland has taken up the practice of many other successor states and maintained the legionary formations that it raised for the Imperium. The 4th, 11th, and 13th Legions of the Iron Army, now depleted by peace and retirement, form the backbone of Strakenland's military. These well-trained and equipped men operate from the old 4th and 13th Imperial Legionary fortresses and a network of smaller outposts and castles built across Strakenland over the centuries. They can be quickly supplemented by local levies and noble bannermen if the need arises, but most of their function is to guard against incursions from the north (out of the Verge) or west (out of the Shatterdale). The borders with Malkier are also watched, though nowhere near as stringently.
The Long Patrols of the Iron Army are its elite arm. There are 12 Long Patrols, and each have three elements that vary in size. The Long Patrols nominally share Castle Illum with High King Rostans personal bannermen and Honor Guard, but in reality only three or four Patrols are ever at the Castle at once. One Long Patrol always has two of its elements deep in the Shatterdale, moving through the twisted land to and from watch posts and camps erected by the Patrols over the years and always on the lookout for the foul denizens of the place. The Long Patrols exist to keep Strakenland safe from such, and patrol the expanse of the Shatterdale to keep tabs on or kill whatever they find. While the two elements are in the Shatterdale, the remaining element (chosen by lot) stays behind to ensure that the Patrol and its knowledge, tactics, and secret routes survive.
The two to three other Patrols at Castle Illum are there recovering from or training for a Patrol. While the 'Active' Patrols are at Castle Illum, three to four Patrols are out among the Iron Army. They perform scout, knight, mage, or whatever duties they are best suited to, but their primary job is to find and recruit new men and women for the Patrols. The remaining Patrols operate from watchtowers and redoubts built into the foot of the Verge long ago and mount patrols up the mountain passes, rivers, and known caverns of the southern Verge. People (not necessarily humans) who serve in a Long Patrol volunteer, and serve for as many Patrols as they wish. Men and women of the Patrols often wear a braid, in the ancient northern style, tied with a trophy for every Patrol they've mounted. A man with even one trophy braid is a hard man in any circle of Strakenland.
- High Seats
- Low Seats