(Formerly the Grand Duchy of Brookshire)
by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.5
Population: 45.6 million (75% Human, 15% Shei, 7% Dragonoid 3% Asyndi.)
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy (since re-absorbing the Brookshire Collective).
Current Head(s) of State: Queen Lucretia Anne DeBellicose. She answers to the People’s Parliament, centered in Brookshire, which elects representatives every four years.
Alliances: Kingdom of Vyss, Irys, Windsong Republic, Tallis-Kah Territories, Farwind, Taijun, Zodasia.
Pacts of Nonaggression: Draconic Empire, Isles of Miroa, Albadosia.
NOTE: Populations do not include half-breeds of species, save for Dragonoids, due to the fact that Dragonoids are so varied onto themselves, and cannot be easily folded into either dragons, or another group. Half-Shei are considered Shei, Half-Asyndi and Asyn-Shei are considered Asyndi, and Half-Xalayi are considered Xalayi. Dracothar and Half-Giants are too few in number to accurately count in a census, nor would many opt to take one.
The following is a list of cities within the Kingdom of Moonfall, on the continent of Shalzaar. This atlas will not be an exhaustive literary work of each city, but rather a basic guide to each city and its place on the continent of Shalzaar and further, the whole of Imarel, to give the world traveler some measure of what to expect whilst traveling abroad.
Brookshire (Divashi Capital)Edit
Brookshire in many respects is the twin city to Sundown as the latter was meant to reflect the former in terms of layout and architecture. Brookshire is also the ruling seat for the Grand Duchy, where Grand Duke Armando DeBellicose holds court during the colder months. During the warmer seasons, the Grand Duke travels to Moonfall to avoid the sweltering temperatures Brookshire suffers. Like Sundown, Brookshire is home to its own vampire population, fostered by the legendary Ko`rashae Ri and her favored childe, Nevi`sasha Stormwillow.
Before the War of the Eternals, Ko and Nevi worked tirelessly to establish a foothold in Brookshire. Lord Mason Grieg, Venywn Saul, and Alora Windchaser were all turned at this time and comprised the power-base of Elders that were originally intended to infiltrate Brookshire’s cabinet and take control of the Grand Duke himself. However, what Ko did not count on was the interference of the Kal`aire. With their stronghold of Shadowcove so close, it became evident that even if she had succeeded in subtly taking over the Duchy, that there would always be a looming threat from the Children of Vengeance. With the conclusion of the War of the Eternals and the huge population boom Brookshire gained from Elvish refugees, Ko found herself in a position to act as a colonial emissary for the Grand Duchy of Brookshire. It was entrusted to her to negotiate with the founding members of the Windsong Accord a place for the new colony of Sundown, that would be sponsored by the Grand Duchy but then turned over to the new Republic once it was established. Grand Duke Lorendar DeBellicose (Armando’s ancestor) had no real designs to gain territory on a continent so far, but had a serious overpopulation problem in his Duchy. Trusting Ko’s advice (through either charmed faith or vampiric coercion), the whole matter was placed in her care by royal appointment. The rest as they say is history.
The Brookshire of today still suffers the legacy of Ko’s taint, with its own coven of Khavosian vampires. Largely removed from the toils of Sundown and the issues revolving around the coven there, the vampires of Brookshire are under the control of a vampire by the name of Lady Ariadne Amarys. Strict with maintaining secrecy, the Brookshire coven remains low key, organized and only takes what it needs from Brookshire’s populous to survive. With the Kal`aire so close, this policy is increasingly wise, less they put the eye of Vengeance directly upon them. This does not mean that the vampires don’t have their fingers into everything; they do, though only to the point to sway their interests within the city, rather than take control of the Grand Duke entirely. It has proven a delicate balance that has made the vampires a small problem, rather than one that requires extermination. Brookshire is also known for its excellent porter, famous bread pudding and its well-crafted sea-faring vessels. The city is also home to the Grand Duke’s naval fleet which boasts over seventy warships strong, equipped with magically reinforced hulls and big twelve pound guns that fire a special grapeshot known as Fireseed. This special grapeshot explodes on impact, giving it a cluster bomb effect that’s been effective enough in the past to take out Shalzaarian Dragons that ventured too close.
Moonfall (Nisa Capital)Edit
Moonfall is an ancient city, established originally by the Tallis-Shei colonists that migrated from Ishaela, then turned over to the Humans when they felt they could hold their own. Enjoying a population of both Moon Elves and Shalzaarian Humans, with a healthy dose of Half Elves, Moonfall comprises the spiritual heart of the Duchy. The city claims both the title of summer capital and home to the Moonfall Grove at the center of the city. This grove is dedicated to Zorah and acts as a place of worship for people throughout the land.
Because of its rich Elvish heritage, Moonfall also acts as the location of the Tallis-Vyss embassy; the xenophobic Shadow Elves rarely willing to travel elsewhere in the Grand Duchy despite their steadfast alliance. Moonfall is also a rallying point for joint military operations between the Grand Duchy and Kingdom of Vyss against the Draconic Empire of Shalzaar to their north. Because of the heavy military activity in the area, Moonfall has heavily reinforced walls, a large number of the Grand Duke’s armies and a garrison of Shadow Elvish airships stationed there.
Because it is also a holy city, every effort possible is made to keep both fighting and large gatherings of soldiers out of the main city and to the barracks located along her outer fortifications. Despite being so close to the fighting in the north, Moonfall itself is relatively peaceful. In the thirty one years the Shalzaarian Border War has been going on, The Shalzaarian Dragons have only flown against the city once and were repelled so forcibly that it is unlikely unless they can muster outside help or gain some kind of advantage, they will attempt to do so again in the foreseeable future.
Moonfall is also known for its vast apple orchards and its sparkling apple wine that is produced by the Grand Duke’s royal winery. The apple wine is a particular favorite of Armando’s, who insists on having it served with all his meals regardless of what’s being served…much to the eternal dismay of the lovely Grand Duchess Isabelle.
The city of Vidika suffered the great plague of Shalzaarian Dragon attacks almost weekly during the War of Shadows. A heavily defended point in the Grand Duchy, the Draconic Empire had been attempting to take this city for the last three years almost continually and the battering it suffered has been beginning to show. Crops are no longer sewn, homes remain left in a frost-crumbled ruin and any food or water that the city had was brought in from Moonfall by caravans escorted by the Royal Army. Despite the beating this city has taken at the hands of the Dragons, her citizenry was adamant about holding ground till the dragons were driven back.
Like Moonfall, Vidika is an ancient city, built by the Moon Elves for the Humans, then turned it over to them when they had proven they could manage it properly. Before the Shalzaarian Border War began, Vidika was a prosperous lumber producing community that supplied timber and wood products (including bows comparable to Elvish bows in quality). Many wood craftsman still remain here for the war effort, but lumber as a whole has been harder to come by because of the fighting. With the end of the war, there is a great deal of hope that Vidika can return to her previous prosperity. With so many ships and buildings destroyed during the war and the construction of new towns for the survivors coming from the north, the potential is encouraging.
Also referred to as the First City of Men, Twilight Dale was the first of the three Elvish-made cities to be turned over to Humans when both races had prospered enough in their new home of Shalzaar that doing so was warranted. The humans that had come from Ishaela were wild folk, tribesman and the like, unmarred by the corruption that had taken to Xosians down the dark path of Khavos. Because of this, it presented a unique opportunity for the Sivanoshei refugees, now called Tallis-Shei to mold Humans the way the Prince had intended. Twilight Dale is the culmination of those teachings and hopes.
Much like Vidika and Moonfall, Twilight Dale shows several examples of Elvish architecture mingled with newer, more Human-like constructions. While the second largest city in the Duchy, Twilight Dale remains as one of the most scenic and traditional to its Elvish roots, with structures that blend in with the woodland environment, rather than swath through it as later cities of Men do. While Twilight Dale borders with the Kingdom of Vyss, it is rare that the Shadow Elves make an appearance there. Save for the adventuring types that might be likewise found in Moonfall, the sighting of a Shadow Elf is as rare as spotting a white stag in the forest. This beautiful city produces a fine brandy imported the world over and is often a favorite in the Grand Duke’s Court. Twilight Dale also borders on the mysterious Twilight Lake, which is rumored to have healing properties upon the sick. This power they say is whispered to come from a race of aquatic Faeries known only as the Miah that live in the deepest part of the lake. The Miah are very shy however, though friendly if encountered so spotting one is a rare opportunity.
One of the first cities built by Men without the assistance of Elves, the city of Ilaria is a proud city named after one of the Grand Duke’s ancestors, Princess Ilaria Monett DeBellicose. The princess and her twin Luisellia were beloved by their father, the legendary first ruler, Grand Duke Lorendar DeBellicose and each had a city named in their honor. The city of Ilaria is home to some of the finest art in the Duchy as well as some of the finest cuisine. Particularly known for its sweet-cakes, pies and pastries people have traveled the world over to sample its sweet treats.
As previously mentioned, Ilaria is also home to some of the finest art on the continent, rivaling some of the ancient Elvish sculptures crafted with magic. The Royal Hall of the Arts showcases pieces hand picked by the Grand Duke and Duchess each year in an exhibition held during the beginning of spring. This allows up and coming artists to find patrons as well as sell some of their magnificent works to the various nobles that visit the show.
The city of Addensford is a small farming community that acts as the breadbasket for the Duchy. Like many small communities of its ilk, it only has a knight-protector to act as law enforcement with a small collection of the Grand Duke’s men remaining to defend the city should it be attacked. Addensford really doesn’t see much action though, with the most serious threats being some of the wild animals in the woods surrounding the city and the occasional Jackalare that make an appearance to kill livestock.
Jackalares are unique to Shalzaar and particularly around Addensford and deeper into the Kingdom of Vyss, where a pack of them live near Murkwhisper Lake. Bipedal jackals for all intents and purposes, they rove in pairs like their four-legged cousins do and while unlikely to attack alone, they most certainly will attack even fortified positions, if they feel they have an advantage. It is unclear whether they are a species onto themselves or a type of lycanthrope; there are urban legends in Addensford to suggest either.
The city of Luisellia was named after the princess Luisellia Antoinette DeBellicose, twin sister to Ilaria DeBellicose and like her twin city, Luisellia is a place of refinement and culture. Many of the performing arts take place here, boasting the Duchy’s Royal Coliseum, to promote such things. Budding musicians and those hoping to become bards or playwrights travel from across Imarel to study at the fine schools in Luisellia.
The city of Luisellia also houses the Royal School of High Sorcery, which is not affiliated with the Schools of Magic in Tal`Rah, but offers similar curriculum to those wishing to become Magi, Wizards or Seers. The Shei and Xosian methods of casting are taught here and strict royal edict prohibits any sort of necromancy to be taught here. Along with this fine school, the Royal Library and Hall of Learning are both located in Luisellia.
The town of Mistrise Harbor is one of two new cities to the Grand Duchy, that are being built for the Human refugees from Davenshire, Hastenworth and Lyrewood. Built on land that had been occupied territory for the last thirty years, then regained as part of a treaty of non-aggression signed with the Draconic Empire, under the rule of Tashalasheeri, there is much hope invested in this brand new town.
Situated on the coast, Mistrise Harbor has begun construction of both a great many fishing shanties and ship-building facilities that should offer it swift growth in a relatively short time. Refugee families come in droves almost daily as the rush of open borders and peace promises a new hope for those who lost everything in the war.
The second of two new towns being constructed on the land regained from the Xannti Dragons, Defiance’s population is made up of largely veterans and refugees from Davenshire. These war-hardened people gave an apt name to their new town that sits close to the new border with the Draconic Empire. It is a fortified town, not by orders of the Grand Duke, but by the will of the people themselves who refuse to fall under the shadow of oppression again.
Defiance is building a training facility for the Royal Army and those who wish to learn skills of war, alike. Estimated completion being at the beginning of next year, it is expected this training facility will see a great deal of use. A large garrison of the Grand Duke’s soldiers also resides here, making the presence of such place quite welcome. Defiance also boasts to have some of the best gunsmiths on Shalzaar.