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ARCADIA (Barony of)
Location: Continent of Brun, west of Oceansend, in the Icereach Mountains, bordering Lake Gunaald. NW
Area: Approx. 500 sq. mi. (1,295 sq. km.).
Population: About 300, including 250 dwarves and 50 humans.
Languages: Alphatian, Heldannic, Dwarvish.
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp); gold nuggets or barter commonly used.
Taxes: None, inhabitants sometimes give goods to their baron to gain his protection from dragon attacks.
Government Type: Barony in name, no real government, independent but loosely allied with the Kingdom of Alpha, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Fishing, mining (gold), crafts (goldsmithing, weaponsmithing).
Important Figures: Arcadius (Baron), Sandryth (Draconic Envoy), Tark Takkras (Clanlord).
Flora and Fauna: Arcadia consists mostly of high mountain, overlooking western Lake Gunaald. The cold freshwater lake is rich in fish, which constitute all the animal life that can be found in the area. A few evergreen trees grow in the small valley bordering the lake, soon replaced by small shrubs, then bare rocks on the towering mountainsides. Some rare chimerae and wyverns make their lairs in caverns high in the mountains, while dragons from the Wyrmsteeth to the east occasionally swoop by.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords, previous almanacs.
Description by Arcadius.
Arcadia is a small peaceful dominion located on the western bank of the southernmost of the three major lakes that lie in the heart of the Icereach Range [many smaller lakes dot the region. Arcadius.]. It is commonly avoided by travellers because of its secluded position, but it does trade with the nearby dominions of Chevas and the Barony of the Lake, using the bigger lake (Lake Alinor) as a means of transport to reach Siegeria and Leeha, and from there, all the dominions of the Great Bay [safer than crossing the Wyrmsteeth. Arcadius.].
The Barony of Arcadia lies, to most eyes, in the middle of nowhere. It is an isolated dominion in the tall Icereach mountains, though it also encompasses part of Lake Gunaald. The fact is I rule only over the Tower of Arcadia, which is built on top of the highest peak of the dominion, and I do not try to enforce any law over the rest of the land that is nominally mine; hence I don't really know where it starts and where it ends.
Most of the land is thus high mountains. This does not mean it is a poor land, however. Though there is almost no vegetation and virtually no animals, the soil is rich in valuable minerals, mostly gold. A small clan of dwarves runs profitable gold mines a few miles north of the Tower of Arcadia. The highest peaks are covered with everlasting snowcaps, and cold winds from the north blow most of the year.
The Tower of Arcadia is built on top of the highest peak, and is surrounded at all times by snow. Unless you are well equipped, I do not advise you go there by normal means; the best way to reach the tower is by air, or by magic. When the sky is clear, the tower can be seen from below, including by fishermen at work on the lake. Most of the time, though, clouds block the sight, as the peak stands above the cloud line.
A feature of note is Lake Gunaald, which is frozen during a good part of the year, typically from mid-fall to late spring or early summer. It is a freshwater lake, whose waters abound with delicious white fish called gunaald (the lake is named after the fish) that fetch high price on Leeha, Alpha and even Oceansend's markets. Several families live off the lake's bounties, fishing from small boats in the summer, and making holes through the frozen layer of ice the rest of the year. Most of those fishermen live in the sheltered valley stuck between the lake and the high mountains, because it is quite safe from the cold northern wind thanks to the mountain range.
One peculiarity of the barony that surprises many fellow nobles, especially King Ericall, is the fact that I do not collect taxes of any kind from the few inhabitants of Arcadia, nor do I enforce a single law. Truth is, the dwarves govern themselves, with their own regulations and justice, and it wouldn't be wise to meddle in their internal affairs. As for the fishermen, they are simple people who don't need any law to tell them how to live their lives. However, they both fear me and praise me for supposedly keeping any dragon attack on them at bay, and when they can afford it they donate fish supplies or, more rarely, offer their services. The dwarves also accuse me of being an agent of the dragons that only want to steal their gold, but they trade with me anyway.
Arcadia is sparsely populated at best, due to the fact that it is such a remote place and that I never actively tried to attract new settlers. In fact, I never even conducted a census and population numbers I give are estimates only.
The majority of Arcadia's population is made up of dwarves, a single clan of them, the Takkras. This clan was established some 187 years ago, when young Tark, youngest son of a clan from the region around Oceansend, discovered how rich in gold the mountains west of Lake Gunaald were. He brought with him some members of his former clan and was designated as clanlord by his followers, and has ruled his clan ever since. The clan's main business is gold mining, of course, and all sorts of crafts related to the working of gold. The dwarves often buy tasty fish from the fishermen of the valley, for which they pay in raw gold nuggets. The dwarves are quite paranoid about dragons, whom in their minds are all after their gold. They often accuse me of being in league with them, which I sort of am, not to mention that in their eyes wizards are not much better than dragons in the first place. Anyhow, since they have not suffered from any dragon raids since I settled in Arcadia, they grudgingly recognise that I may somehow be protecting them, and occasionally trade with me precious, beautifully crafted items that I use as vessels for magical experimentation in exchange for magical items and commodities that I bring back from Alpha or Oceansend or beyond.
The rest of the population are native fishermen of Antalian descent who have been living off the bounty of the nearby lake for an unknown number of generations. They sell gunaald they don't eat to the Takkras dwarves, or smoke it and carry it downriver and sell it to the hin who are fond of it. And the leftover they give to me, hoping the dragons and I will keep on leaving them alone...
Dwarves and native humans have been living in the area for quite some time, long before Arcadia was founded. Dwarves moved to those high mountains 187 years ago when they discovered gold veins, and will likely stay there as long as there is an ounce left to mine. The fishermen have been living by the lake for an unknown duration, as they don't keep any records. From their language I speculate that they have been living there in complete autarky since the earlier days of the ancient Antalians, before Loark's horde brought the dark age of most of their people. In their secluded valley, the scattered fishermen probably went undiscovered and lost contact with other tribes. According to the hin of Leeha, at one time they found the fishermen and their wonderful gunaald and began trading with them. Unfortunately those events, if they ever happened that way, are undated.
The Barony of Arcadia is fairly recent in comparison. I was appointed to baronial status in AC 1002, and the erection of Tower Arcadia took until AC 1004 because of its nearly inaccessible location. And yet I got help from the dwarves-for a hefty price, but that was well worth it. Since Arcadia is so isolated from the rest of Norwold, and since I do not levy an army, Arcadia has been unconcerned by the recent wars that have plagued the continent. With no taxes or troops coming from Arcadia, I am pretty much left to my own devices by King Ericall, which means that I am only loosely allied with Alpha.
The only exception to this concerns dragonkind. I am in permanent contact with the Kingdom of Dragons in the Wyrmsteeth through Sandryth, a gold dragon. This is part of an agreement between the Council of Dragons and myself upon establishing my barony, which states they would agree to share some of the knowledge they have accumulated over the millennia with me-I hope to one day be allowed into their hidden city-in exchange for my help in ensuring the humans, and especially their lords, do not encroach upon the draconic lands or slay non-renegade dragons. Sandryth and I are diplomats of sorts between the two races.
On that matter, there is one event in recent history that I wish to clarify, concerning the dragons' assault on Heldannic warbirds above Oceansend. King Ericall did ask me to petition the council for such an action, but I was not surprised when Sandryth answered that the dragons would not get involved in human business and thereby violate an ancient treaty, unless the knights actually attacked them first. However, Ericall was not satisfied with that decision and tried to find some more open-minded dragons-as he didn't need a full commitment from the dragons in the first place, just a handful of them to keep the warbirds in check. Thus he contacted a young, active red that was upset by the conservatism of the council and decided to act, sure that the council elders would in time back the move.
Two things: if you like good, freshly fished gunaald, try fishing with the natives, and if you like beautiful landscapes, take a look at Tower Arcadia perched high in the mountains during a clear day from either the valley below or from the lake.
The renegade dragons that occasionally venture here or make their lairs in the vicinity.