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ESTERHOLD (Republic of) and DRAEH (City-State of)

Location: Large peninsula west of the Jennite lands, north of Minaea, continent of Skothar. SK

Area: Approximately 1,000,000 sq. mi. (2,590,000 sq. km.), including Blackrock 100,000 sq. mi. (259,000 sq. km.) and the "Free City of Draeh" 126,000 sq. mi. (326,340 sq. km.); the rest is mainly wilderness with scattered Alphatian settlements on the southern coast and Jennite tribes in the interior.

Population: 180,000 including Blackrock (pop. 60,000), the territories of Draeh (pop. 100,000), Port Marlin (pop. 10,000 residents in town and 5,000 refugees) and Rock Harbour (pop. 5,000). Cities include Skyfyr (pop. 15,000) in Blackrock and Draeh (pop. 35,000) in what was once Verdan. An unknown number of "free" Jennites also live on the peninsula. The former town of Anchorage was destroyed last year and its population was slain, fled as refugees to Blackrock, or joined the Jennite rebellion.

Languages: Alphatian (Arogansan dialect) and Jennite.

Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Barter common among the "free" Jennites.

Taxes: Alphatian-held lands have a 15% income tax and an import/export tax of 2% on magical items and components, and 1% on all other goods (Naycese kingdoms, Karameikos and Thyatis excluded). 20% of tax revenue goes to the imperial treasury. No official taxes among the Jennite tribes, all are expected to serve community interests as needed. Revolutionary Council in Draeh have instituted communal system of exactions, where everything belongs to their state/community, with requisitions "according to means" and dispensations "according to need."

Government Type: Blackrock is a monarchy with nascent republican institutions similar to that of the Dunadale Confederacy. Draeh is ruled by a revolutionary council. Rock Harbour and Port Marlin are part of the Republic of Esterhold (Blackrock). The Jennites are governed by tribal councils.

Industries: Military, light agriculture, herding, hunting (free Jennites), fishing, logging (south coast communities). Mining (rich) was once the main industry of Blackrock but the unrest has closed the mines.

Important Figures: Favian Vern (President), Talin (Jennite Leader).

Flora and Fauna: Scrub bushes, tough grasses, bactrian (two-humped) camels, wild asses, horses, gazelles, antelopes in the uplands; humanoids scattered in the broken hills and mountainous areas. Taiga along the southern coast has deciduous and evergreen forests, moose, elk, bears, wolves, mountain lions and some deer as well as orcs, goblins, trolls, ogres, ettercaps, and especially rabbits, all of which are prey for the feared and legendary Esterhold Devil.

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

Description by Welten Feather-of-Blood-and-Soil.

Men from far away came upon the sea in a ship. They asked one of us to tell to you why we fight the Alphatians, so they could put it in their book. They gave us weapons in exchange for pretty rocks and bright metal "coins" the Alphatians made, and in exchange for this tale. So I will share our wisdom with you. No one can own the earth, but the human Jennites have lived here since the rocks were born and the stars of the sky shifted. Then came the inhuman Alphatians, with their powerful magics and greed for rocks and metal, and they said that this land where we lived was owned by their empire. We fought, but they were mighty. We never gave in; the only true man is a free man. Now we win our freedom.

The Land

The land is good. It provides all one needs to live. One need not dig into the ground either to plant or carve deep shafts into the earth-mother in greed to get at pretty stones or metal. All one needs can be found on the surface, for the earth-mother gives her bounty willingly to those who understand the ways of nature. Only inhuman Alphatians and those corrupted by their ways need to toil at the soil and vex our mother. Fish, fowl, berries and grain can be found. It is a hard life for those who have forgotten nature's way and live in large camps surrounding themselves with stone and cutting themselves off from the ways of nature. But we know how to live here, as this is our home.

The land is large. The Alphatians could have lived here side by side with the people of Jen. They also have lands elsewhere that they lived on. They would not do this. They insisted it was all theirs. So the earth-mother swallowed up their home, since they insisted on taking other people's homes. They almost learned. New men came, with them a Faviaver. He meant well, but he was still Alphatian in his mind. He said "you will be Alphatians now, and we can live as brothers if you accept our rule and agree the land is ours." But we are not Alphatians, we are people of Jen. And the land is not theirs, it is not ours, it is the earth-mother, and we are her [word untranslatable from Jennite into Thyatian, means something like "guests," "visitors," or "tenants," but is not quite the same. Has some of the connotations of the patron-client relationship found in Thyatis, with the planet, Mystara, being the patron and the Jennites viewing themselves as her clients. Ed.]. So we fight.

The People

We are the true people of the land, the Jennites. Also here are the outsiders, the Alphatian aliens who come from beyond the sea. Some say we can live together. But the Alphatians, they do not know the way of the land. They believe one can own the land. We know we come from the land and will return to it. You cannot own the land. They think that some are destined to rule over others, and others are fit only to serve. But we know that all men are free, the land gives to all who know its ways and to the land all will return. Some are great warriors, respected for their hunting skill and gift for war, and their advice is listened to. Elders are wise, having learned much in their years, and their council is given respect and weight. But none are to be enslaved, nor are some to be bowed down to. True men live in yurts [translated the Jennite word into an Ethengar word that our readers will be familiar with. Ed.] and follow the herds with wagons and horses as the land wills.

The Alphatians came and oppressed the people of the land. They try to force their ways upon both the land and the people. They want us to live in one place, in yurts of stone surrounded by stone walls. But the land and the people reject their yoke. We cannot till as they do, or dig as the dwarves do. We must live in harmony with the land, and we must be free. So we fight the invaders.

We have freed much of the land from those who claim they can own it. Their far-to-them, near-to-us stone village is now free, and the Jennites they captured in their raids now rule it. But these are somewhat lost themselves. They lived too long under the sandal of the Alphatians. They think that to live in such a place can be a good thing. They have forgotten the ways of the land. But they remember they are free. So they can learn the ways, and we will teach them.

It is a shame so much blood must be shed for the people to reclaim their freedom and rid the land of Alphatians. In Draeh last year, one could not pass a tree from which either an Alphatian or a collaborator was not hanging. The same in Anchorage. Some say the terror of the revolution is more bloody than Alphatian rule was. But this is all the invaders understand. It is a shame, but if half the world must burn for us to be free, and for the land to be free, then that is what must happen. We press on, and soon we shall free the land and people where they once burned us with sky fire. When it is over they will all be driven back to where they came from or eliminated. Then there will be peace and freedom, no oppression, no possessions. All will live in harmony with each other and with the land.