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City-States of the Hulean Gulf

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

(Nova Svoga, Zagora, Zvornik, Hojah, Slagovich)
Halav - War, strategy and tactics, strength and determination, arms and armour, sacrifice, combat humanoids
Petra - Patriotism, protection, courage, resistance, virtue, loyalty, besieged settlements, Traladarans
Zirchev - Hunting, survival, nature, animals, magic
Eiryndul - Sylvan races, illusions and deceit, guile, jokes, fun
Faunus - Sylvan races, animals, instincts and sensuality, drunkenness, revelry, hedonism, poetry and music
1. The city-states of the Hulean Gulf were founded by expatriate Traladarans in the middle of the V century AC. This group of Traladarans was guided by a priest of Halav who had had a vision in which the great Redhair invited them to sail westwards, where they would find a new homeland in which to reconstruct the Golden Age and in which, in effect, is found the Tomb of Halav. Only those who had discovered the place in which his mortal remains were placed would be able to reawaken him, and he would then lead them to victory and prosperity. Many ships took the large following this vision, and arrived in the Gulf of Hule, where the colonists exhausted by the diseases and the inclemency’s have settled. The five families that founded the city-state of the eastern gulf each proclaiming that it had found the tomb of Halav, and reclaim the right of guiding all the others. From that moment, they have always been in competition between them, incapable of allying due to questions of honour and prejudice, and in each the Church of Halav is the national religion, with the cults of Petra and Zirchev relegated to a minor role. Now every cult presides over the real Tomb of Halav, claiming that only when his remains have been reassembled in only one mausoleum will the great king return to lead them as a united people. The problem is that no one would like to give up their relics in order to put them in common with their rivals forever, and therefore as yet the prophecy has remained unfinished. Naturally the Church of Traladara is at the current of this cult, but consider simply that the relics don’t really belong really to Halav, who the Song would like buried in Traladara, and that the separatists had simply been deceived on the basis of the ravings of an excommunicated visionary.
2. Among the Bylot Hills and Kavaja to the east of the city-states live Goatmen creatures, divided into three distinct races: the Goatlings, the Ovinaurs and the Caprines. Their history is extremely strange and tormented, given that they are the result of a forced magical cross between elves, halflings, dryads and goats or sheep that lived in the area around 700 BC. It is thought that it had been the Nithians who had only just appeared in the region in 700 BC to once more attempt an experiment of magical crosses using the communities of elves (descendents of those that broke away from the migration of Ilsundal in 2300 BC), halflings (a clan originally from the Serpent Peninsula who preferred settling rather than sailing eastwards in 1300 BC) and dryads that lived in the area, mixing them with the herds that they had pastured in order to make them more intelligent but extremely servile. In order to do this, a group of mages and clerics thought to summon planar creatures and use their powers in order to facilitate the fusion. Thus arrived the Dark Ones, beings that originated in another dimension (probably lawful evil devils of the Nightmare Dimension, the equivalent of the Mystaran demons for that dimension based on Chaos), who created the first Goatmen. In order to avoid their vile destiny, a large part of the elven population migrated towards the western side of the gulf and began to settle on the margins of the Nithian territories, while the remaining were hidden in the grotto on the mountain. With time, it became clear that the powers of the Dark Ones were superior to that of the summoners, but they were in too few numbers to be able to successfully rebel. They therefore decided to teach some of the magical arts to their creatures, and with the help of the goatmen the Dark Ones were able to surprise the Nithians, destroy their settlements and drive them from the area of Kavaja, which became their undisputed kingdom. The goatmen must of tolerated the yoke of the Dark Ones for centuries, until sick of serving and after having stolen enough magical knowledge to their masters, pushed by the elven survivors and by some sylvan creatures faithful to Eiryndul and Faunus, who were also revolting in the I century BC. A large part of the Dark Ones were destroyed, others were forced back into their dimension, and the more unfortunate ended up imprisoned in their own fortresses, which became property of the goatmen. With the passing of time the goatmen were divided into clans and tribes, each with different traits and customs, and the majority remain faithful to Eiryndul (who is also followed by the elves that still live in this area and in the city-states) and to Faunus, even if some started again to honour the Dark Ones in secret, forgetting the ancient slavery and craving more power and more forbidden knowledge (given that the source of the magic of the goatmen resides in the link with the Dark Ones, and for this were used only in rare and extreme cases). All these cults are prohibited in the city-states, with the result that the only places consecrated to Faunus and Eiryndul are forests and stone circles in the wildest areas. The Dark Ones instead were worshipped in sanctuaries hidden under the mountain and under the ancient fortresses, where they plot in order to return to Mystara bringing destruction and death to their enemies.
3. Many lupin of various races (Slagovici Gonic, Zvorniski Gonic and Borzoi) live in the city-states as integrated citizens, while others prefer to lead a nomadic life outside of the civilised territories. At Zvornik, the Zvorniski Gonic have formed a cavalry order absolutely devoted to Petra (the Order of the Dying Brand) and acted as citizen firemen. Later a lupin community settled on the eastern shores of the Gulf of Hule, on the hills between Slagovich and the Crna river, that worships Jackal Head (Pflarr) in a temple dedicated to him. We’re talking about the majority of Nithian Errants that have passed down the ancient cult from the time of ancient Nithia, but today are considered heretics by all those lupin that exist on the surface of Mystara.
4. The Lupin that live in the wildest areas around the city-state are followers of Luup the Black (Loup) and Maleen (Malinois). The two groups are not enemies but only in competition for the territory, and neither of them possess temples or sanctified holy places.