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Dragonard (County of)
Location: Norwold, continent of Brun, south of Leeha.
Area: 2,494 sq. mi. (6,459 sq. km.).
Population: 6,000 (80% humans, 20% halflings).
Languages: Alphatian, Heldannic, Halfling (Lalor).
Coinage: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 25% of yearly income.
Government Type: County; bears allegiance to the Kingdom of Alpha.
Industries: Agriculture, fishing, mining.
Important Figures: Quentin Jax (Count, human (actually a huge elder gold dragon), male, M10).
Flora and Fauna: The eastern plains and hills are lightly covered by evergreen trees, mostly pine, while the western areas near the White Bear River are farmlands. The hills and mountains of the south have rich deposits of precious ores that attracts miners as well as aurumvorax and dragons. Wild cold-loving beasts roam the southern mountains, where few dare adventure. Otherwise the dominion is completely free of dangerous beasts. Dragons are often sighted near the southern border, although they are not a problem for this county.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
Another dominion that is heavily populated and nestled near the western shores of the Great Bay, precisely south of Leeha and on the eastern banks of the White Bear river, is the County of Dragonard. Its people seem to enjoy a rather peaceful living and its exports make it one of the most envied dominions of the whole Norwold.
Dragonard is a rather large country bounded on the eastern border by Siegeria, separated from that country by the White Bear River. It also touches Leehashire's southern border, and many hin in fact live in Dragonard's territory. The land is hilly along the eastern border, where woods and light forest cover the rolling hills before turning into an intricate forest. Evergreen woods also exist in Dragonard, and the human city of Arboria has been founded by Alphatians to commerce with the Shiye that dwell outside the dominion's borders.
In the north, farmlands and peaceful hamlets dot the countryside, a vast plain that extends into halfling territory to the north. Here, streets of cobblestones connect the capital city of Jaxia (built on the shores of the White Bear) with the northern hin settlement of Surekeep (on the border with Leehashire) and with the other significant settlement of the dominion, Silmaril (north of Jaxia). Other simpler trails and dusty roads link the various hamlets with one another, even leading to the town of Arboria, nestled inside the Mur Woods in the east.
The mountains to the south, called by the locals the White Glacier, are technically part of the Icereach Range, although these are the easternmost tip. They reach 8,000 feet in height and vast glaciers cover their peaks all the year. In the lowest parts however, many miners have found rich deposits of precious stones and gold, and Dragonard prospers selling these raw materials to the other dominions or crafting them to produce refined manufactures to sell to Panteria, which then exports them to the Old World. Even though dragons are often spotted in this region, they never venture beyond the peaks of the White Glacier, leaving Dragonard's populace and their mines in peace.
Dragonard's people are a happy folk, especially because they enjoy such a peace and a relative welfare that the other Norwold countries do not have. The majority of the population is Alphatian, with many Heldanners working as farmers in the north and hunters in the eastern woods, but enjoying a better life than their peers in the rest of Norwold. Count Jax, the ruler, long ago solved the problem of wandering monsters [although nobody knows for sure how he managed it, and he refuses to tell anyone. Adik.] and this attracted many settlers. The precious mineral ores also are the first source of richness for Dragonard, since its whole economy is based on that. For this reason, gemcutters, goldsmiths, and even miners are respected professions in this region. Strangely enough, no dwarves are present in the country to prosper thanks to their skills as metalworkers, but this has never preoccupied the Dragonardites. Indeed, the human and hin population seem to have more talented goldsmiths and gemcutters than the usual northern country, and nobody knows if Lord Jax actually called them from all over the world or just had a great luck in finding the right people in the right place.
Anyway, nobody in Dragonard bothers for the living standards, since there are absolutely no poor wandering the streets or woods of Dragonard. However, bandits do exist, even though they are not humanoids, but humans coming from other lands attracted by the richness of this dominion. Penalties for stealing in Dragonard are severe [they range from a minimum of forty lashes for small sums to the removal of one hand and one eye for higher amounts. Arcadius.], and if somebody is found guilty of theft for the second time, a death sentence is automatic. Count Jax is inflexible in enforcing the law, but his motto is: "Laws make a rich country a heaven." Lord Jax's special elite guards, the Golden Wings, always serve in the capital of Jaxia and regularly patrol the dominion looking for criminals to hang. They are unforgiving, and the populace seem to like their manners.
Dragonard was founded by Quentin Jax in AC 1002, when numerous settlers had become moving to the area also called by other lords, who were founding their domains nearby. He soon got rid of the problem of monsters roaming the land and transformed the wild areas into safe farmlands and orchards, leaving even the eastern woods devoid of possibly dangerous creatures, but still a heaven to inhabit. He soon made pacts of non-belligerency with his neighbour, the Baron of Tescan, and these were ratified when Lord Sieger von Duwn claimed Tescan the year after.
In AC 1004 the rich ores were discovered in the mountains south of Dragonard, and Baron Jax claimed them immediately, beginning the exploitation of the White Glacier. Dragons never gave a problem even in these years, although they attacked ferociously both Siegeria to the west and Kameloth to the northeast. [Many people suspect Baron Jax made a secret alliance with the dragons to win their trust and protection well before coming. Also, none knows exactly where he comes from. Arcadius.]
Despite Sieger's thirst for power and new lands, Siegeria never waged war against Dragonard, even after declaring its independence in AC 1005, and this still remains a mystery to everyone [King Sieger and Count Jax refuse to talk about the topic, simply saying that "good neighbours don't kill each other." Adik.]. After remaining neutral in the first stages of the war, when the Thyatian troops stationed in Siegeria invaded its borders, Dragonard sided with Ericall and Alphatia, and repelled the Thyatians after a staunch but taxing resistance that killed many of its inhabitants [who are craftsman, not warriors, after all. Adik.]. For its service to the Alphan Crown, Ericall awarded Lord Jax with the title of count and the former barony became a county. This only added to the haughtiness of its inhabitants.
Recently, Dragonard has had diplomatic relationships even with the Heldannic Knights, even though they remain formal economic agreements. However, many believe Count Jax is simply taking the appropriate steps to avoid being crushed by the Heldannic warmachine should the knights advance further in their conquest of Norwold.
Be sure to come to Dragonard's capital of Jaxia on the first week of Sviftmont. On that day, the Dragonardites celebrate the Day of the Gold: they all dress up in golden clothes, paint their faces with gold hues or don golden masks and parade on the streets cheering and exchanging money freely. But beware: be prepared to give some coins in exchange and absolutely do not try to steal, or you will be hunted down by an angry mob and hanged among laughs and cheers in a matter of minutes.
Another interesting site to behold is the Mine #1, some 1000' up the northern foothills of the White Glacier. That mine is a honeycombed maze, and its walls are shining with gold veins and gems so that it is impossible to resist and not pick something. But you'd better resist temptation, for they are heavily patrolled and overseen by the Golden Wings, and as you may know, the punishment for gold theft in Dragonard is not pleasant at all.
Never go past the northern side of the White Glacier if you value your life. Just because dragons do not invade and prey over Dragonard, doesn't mean they've become tender lambs that will leave you in peace if you cross their territory. And believe us when we say to you, dear reader, that there are far more dragons than one might think in the White Glacier.