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CAERDWICCA (Barony of)

Location: Southern coast of the Isle of Dawn, southwest of the Great Escarpment, north of Aegos. SD

Area: 17,459 sq. mi. (45,220 sq. km.).

Population: 5,000, including 1,500 in the town of Caerdwick; about twice that if you count the numerous pirates that answered the baron's call last year, and are anchored at the town of Caerdwick or elsewhere in the barony.

Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian and Redstone dialects both common), Alphatian (Hillvale dialect), Klantyre (among the McRhomaag clan members).

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Alphatian coins are also very common: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).

Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 20% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.

Government Type: Dominion, part of the Province of Meridia, member of the Thyatian Empire.

Industries: Agriculture, trade, piracy.

Important Figures: Uthgaard McRhomaag (Baron, human, male, F12/T4).

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Demetius Vannopolus.

Caerdwicca is a large and prominent Thyatian barony on the southern shores of the Isle of Dawn, often believed to be part of the Province of Meridia (Furmenglaive still claims part of that province as land it legitimately owns, a mapper's nightmare). The inhabitants of Caerdwicca are noted for their rakishness.

The Land

Caerdwicca lies along the eastern rim of the Province of Meridia, where the Afon Du River empties into the Alatian Sea. The territories of the barony also run along the northeastern shores of the Straits of Barbarossa. These coastal areas are the most settled and developed portions of Caerdwicca, though there is one village, Lindum, located inland near the forests of Meridia.

The coastal lands of Caerdwicca consist of bluffs overlooking beaches along the Alatian Sea, with many treacherous offshore reefs. These bluffs are often broken by caves and lagoons, which are too frequently the hideouts and lairs for the buccaneers and corsairs that infest the Straits of Barbarossa.

The town of Caerdwick itself, as well as nearby McRhomaag Castle, is built on one of these bluffs, a port in this region and one of the few havens for fishing and trading vessels. [Many say that the majority of ships here actually do more piracy than honest trade and fishing. Ed.]. Approximately a dozen miles north of Caerdwick Town, in the midst of the gulf, lays a rocky isle of seagulls and pelicans, about a hundred square miles in area. A lighthouse on the isle is operated by a small leper colony, which does some light farming and has some sheep, goats, chickens, and cows to provide for their own needs.

Inland Caerdwicca consists of rolling plains, with true hills around the Carreg Brynniau region. In those hills there are a series of dolmen-mysterious stone monuments-which are believed to have been constructed by fairies. Nearby, around the village of Lindum, is the best agricultural land, though it is mainly used as pasturage for sheep and other herd animals.

The treacherous Straits of Barbarossa, off of the barony's eastern coast, have precious few narrow sea lanes that are safe for shipping. The rest of the straits are festooned with coral reefs and shallows, which only fast, shallow-draft vessels that know the region well are able to navigate safely. These prey on the slower trading vessels that must sail straight through the narrow trade lanes. The pirates dart in like sharks, and only well-protected vessels with good captains, or those who are able to buy off the pirates with protection money, pass through here safely. Many corsairs of the region, it is said, once had a concord with the knaves and pirates of Ne'er-do-well, but this league between them seems to have fractured during the Great War, and the two groups are now antagonistic rivals.

I should mention one other danger for those travelling the Straits of Barbarossa: sudden massive whirlpools can open up and swallow an unwary and unprepared vessel, never to be seen again. The merchant-princes of Minrothad and others with knowledge of water-related magics can help guide one through these dangers, but less able vessels are advised to dock at Furmenglaive or sail south through the Sea of Pearls rather than the straits.

The People

Caerdwicca was founded by the McRhomaag Clan, men of Klantyrian descent who left Glantri after that nation's Light of Rad declaration, and emigrated to Thyatis. This family, known for its brave and worthy fighters, served the empire as military officers. When Emperor Gabrionus I began a series of colonisation efforts, the clan managed to secure a fief for itself on the Isle of Dawn. Caerdwick Village was subsequently founded in AC 912.

During the Alphatian Spike Assault of 959, Darragh McRhomaag, a naval officer and the clan's patriarch at the time, led a daring assault against the Alphatian ships around the city of Thyatis as part of Thincol's counter-strikes against them. Though Darragh died during the battle, his quick wit and Valor led to the capture or destruction of a number of Alphatian vessels, crippling their fleet and making subsequent counterattacks to recover Thyatian portions of the Isle of Dawn possible. As a result of Darragh's bravery, Thincol, the new emperor, posthumously upgraded Darragh's fief into a barony. Thus, his son and heir, Malachy McRhomaag, inherited his title and became the first living Baron of Caerdwicca.

The McRhomaags are a fiery, hot-tempered bunch, known for their combativeness but also for their gregarious nature. They will brawl with you one moment, then pick you up off the floor , slap you on the back, and share a beer with you. The settlers they have attracted to the barony are much the same, though hardened sea dogs are increasingly common, finding a kindred spirit in the current baron, Uthgaard McRhomaag.

Recent History

Uthgaard spent the recent war raiding Alphatian shipping in the Alatian Sea, having good success doing so, a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing war for Thyatis. As a result of this, the Alphatians tried to take Caerdwicca during the war, besieging Castle McRhomaag for a time, but they were eventually forced to withdraw after having suffered considerable losses. Some say Uthgaard continues to sponsor piracy and is a buccaneer himself, and there are even rumours that he has a hidden grotto used as a base for pirates somewhere in Caerdwicca, but imperial officials have never been able to confirm any of these rumours. In any case, the population of Caerdwicca has grown significantly since the end of the wars, as a result of the increased colonisation program, as well as the special efforts of the baron to attract settlers he finds suitable. Caerdwicca's main settlement has grown so much, indeed, that it is now classified as a small town rather than a village. Uthgaard has also expanded by absorbing some of the nearby villages that had been in the hands of petty lords, whom had often behaved more like bandits than nobles.