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CHEVAS (Baronie de)
Location: Continent of Brun, west of Oceansend, in the Icereach Mountains, on the south-eastern shores of Lake Alinor. NW
Area: 498 sq. mi. (1,290 sq. km.).
Languages: Heldannic, Averoignian.
Coinage: Adik (gp), glyph (sp), florin (cp); gems or barter commonly used.
Taxes: None. The baron and the aristocrats own the land and they give it to serfs to work. Serfs must keep only the minimum required to survive, the rest is given to the ruler.
Government Type: Barony, independent but loosely allied to the Kingdom of Alpha, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Fishing, agriculture, mining.
Important Figures: Adik de Chevas (Baron), Gilbert de Fausseflammes (Aristocrat), Roger Dumas (Seneschal).
Flora and Fauna: Chevas consists mostly of cultivated plains and rolling hills bordering the sandy beaches of Lake Alinor. 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 on the hills and on the foothills of the Icereach, soon replaced by small shrubs then bare rocks on the towering mountains. Some wyverns and griffons make lair in caverns high in the mountains, while dragons to the east occasionally swoop by.
Further Reading: M2 Vengeance of Alphaks, previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas.
La Baronie de Chevas [or the Barony of Chevas, if you go by Thyatian common. Adik.] is a small but proud dominion located on the southeastern shore of Lake Alinor, the biggest lake in the Icereach Range. It is not so important from the economic or military point of view, but it is a pleasant stop on the dangerous route that takes the traveller from northern Leeha to the southernmost dominion of Two Lakes Vale.
The Barony of Chevas is similar to Arcadia in many ways. It lies in an exposed and somewhat off-the-way position, in the middle of nowhere. West there are the Icereach Mountains, west the Wyrmsteeth, and both brim with dragons and intelligent monsters that prey on all the settlers who come to this region. Also, the weather is not especially comfortable, since Chevas lies in the so-called Valley of the Wind, a great valley that begins near Kameloth in the north and extends southwards up to the Barony of the Lake. This vast plain is always windswept during most of the year, because the winds blowing from the north are not stopped by the mountains, but rather conveyed inside the valley, which then gets much more than its fair share of storms and tornadoes. However, Chevas is not hopeless against these dangers.
Ever since my arrival, I have begun protecting the land with spells and magical items that are able to stop bad weather from endangering my dominion. The wild animals and monsters are another matter, but that was similarly solved through the use of magic. Today, Chevas is the safest place one could find in the whole Valley of the Wind.
My dominion is divided into smaller fiefdoms we call maisons [an Averoignian word to indicate a house or a group of people. Adik.]. These maisons are ruled by an aristocrat appointed by myself, and this way I assure the land is always exploited in the best way possible. In fact, each maison knows well the characteristics of its territory and each takes the appropriate decisions to exploit it fully.
Even though not as heavily populated as the northern dominions, Chevas is a tiny little corner of wisdom and happiness, where everyone earns what is needed to survive without making any great effort. True, some people are richer and live better than others, but this is the right order of the world. After all, if there were not leaders to guide the populace, it would surely go into anarchy and fall in disgrace in a matter of years. For this reason, there are two classes in Chevas, recognised and supported by the people: the aristocrats and the commoners. Aristocrats are people who own and lead the maisons and who give the land to the commoners to cultivate and exploit. The commoners' task is then to work hard to maintain the aristocrats, while the aristocrats' task is to protect the commoners and direct them to exploit the land in the best possible ways. Each part cannot live without the other, this is the order of things in Chevas.
Aristocrats are cultivated and wise literati who came to the dominion from Nouvelle Averoigne (Glantri) when I first settled the barony. As a result, most of them are wizards who got their degree at the Great School of Magic, but a few are non-spellcasters, to testify that Chevas is not so obsessed with magic as Glantri is. The commoners are both Heldannic natives of the region as well as Averoignian servants and farmers who moved north with the lords when they came here in AC 1005.
Another stock of people can be found in Chevas during certain periods of the year. They are nomads who constantly roam the Valley of the Wind and who call themselves Viaskodas. Even if nominally under the rulership of Lord Brogahn of Ublaat-nor, these people have no real intention to settle down, and they always run with their horses throughout the plain, following the seasonal changes. In summer they can be found in Ublaat-nor, in the northern plains, but when the last months of autumn come and the weather begins to worsen, they take up their herds and migrate southwards, passing through my barony as well and staying for a few weeks [given the relative safe harbour they find here. Adik.]. Then, when the rainstorms pass, they mount on their saddle again and head south, where I am told by Lady Winnefred of the Lake, they traverse her dominion and end up in another secluded valley to the west.
I came here in AC 1004, following the clues I found in an old tome regarding a certain crazy Alphatian prince who had lived here a few centuries before. I was intrigued by the story of Prince Alinor of Alphatia, who apparently founded the first big Alphatian settlement in Norwold well before Empress Eriadna's claim over this land. I was fascinated by the way he had been portrayed in the famous poem "The Madness of Prince Alinor," and I really wanted to find evidence of his existence and the truth about his mysterious doom. However, much to my dismay, I found the best archeological sites to be already claimed, so I relegated myself to this untouched corner of the Icereach Range and started researching. It was only after some months that it occurred to me I had to give King Ericall significant proof of my capacity as a baron if I wanted to ensure my permanence here. So I invited a few friends from Nouvelle Averoigne and together with them I created the Weather Control Station, a hidden facility that allows us to control weather inside the dominion [quite a feat, although the relatively small dimensions of my barony helped a lot. This is also one of the reasons I am not interested in conquering other lands. Adik.].
Once this was accomplished, we began recruiting commoners and established the Code des Lois, the laws of Chevas. That was AC 1005, and the dominion has done quite well so far. During the Great War we didn't experience any significant threat, aside from the usual draconic assaults, which were however repelled without many losses [I really do not understand why dragons, with all their wisdom, still persevere in attacking my dominion, even though they know in advance they cannot win. Adik.]. The main reason why the population is so low is indeed because of wild monstrous predators like dragons. If I ever had too many people here, I would not be able to protect them all from the monsters living nearby, and this would result in breaking the Code des Lois on the aristocrats' part, thus throwing the barony into chaos. This, together with the limited capacities of the Weather Control Station, are the main reasons that have kept Chevas so small and underpopulated for so long. But we like it that way here.
Be sure to come during the last week of autumn, when the winds blow fiercely and tornadoes start sweeping the valley. It is an incredible sight, so remain on the borders of the dominion and see huge whirlwinds and tornadoes coming closer than a few yards without actually affecting you at all. Few will ever manage to stare right in the centre of the maelstrom's eye without taking any risks!
Do not venture too far from the borders, because the intelligent monsters have by now well understood the limits of the Chevasian aristocrats' scrying powers, and they keep away just the distance needed not to be spotted, but are ready to ambush those who venture too far in their territory.