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Heldann (Territory of)
Location: North of Ethengar and Rockhome, east of Wendar. OW
Area: 25,000 sq. mi. (64,750 sq. km.).
Population: 285,000. Population increased due to Hattian migration, but the civil war has also taken its toll.
Languages: Thyatian (Hattian dialect), Heldannic. Thyatian is the official language of the nation.
Coinage: Heldannic Standard: groschen (5 gp), gelder (gp), erzer (ep), markschen (sp), fenneg (cp).
Taxes: 15% income tax collected four times a year. 10% tithe to the Heldannic Knights collected once a year. 1 gelder head tax collected once a year from all those not in military service. There is also a 5% sales tax on all items but food and clothing.
Government Type: Military theocracy, member of the Heldannic Empire.
Industries: Agriculture (wheat, barley, and potatoes), mining (iron), sheep herding and fishing.
Important Figures: Heinrich Straßenburger (Purported Oberherr), Geoffrey of Grunturm (Rebel Leader), Anna von Hendriks (Ordensmeisterin).
Flora and Fauna: One can commonly encounter sheep and elk herds, bears, boars, wolves and yetis. Rarer, but more deadly, are the snow apes, hill and stone giants, gnolls and lycanthropes. Occasionally a dragon will be spotted, but the Heldannic Knights hunt them down as soon as possible.
Further Reading: Previous almanacs. Also, several articles of the Princess Ark series can be useful.
Last Year's Events: See below.
Description by Freiherr Hendrik von Gultzer.
It is with pride and honour that I write to you about the magnificent Heldannic Territories and the glory of Vanya. I hope that this entry into the Mystaran Almanac will help refute all disparaging remarks made about the Heldannic Knights and show the world the true valour behind our ideals and way of life.
I now give you a description of Heldann, the Gateway to Norwold.
The lands of the Heldannic people are harsh and unforgiving. Our winters are noted for their cold winds that pierce right down to your bones, and the summer is not much warmer. Cold waters from the northern regions of the Alphatian Sea splash upon our shores, keeping the warm months cooler than most other nations of the Old World.
The land is as beautiful as it comes, with many renowned painters travelling to Heldann just to paint portraits of the landscape. Pines and spruce are everywhere, and mountain runoffs create numerous small, crystal-clear lakes.
Although covered in pines, the land is rocky and not very adequate for agriculture. Despite this, hardy Heldanners work the lowlands, producing enough food for the people to survive. Further from shore, tall rough-edged mountains dominate the land, effectively marking our border with Wendar and Denagoth.
While our land is definitely picturesque, it is the people of the Heldannic Territories that are the true heart of our nation. They are hardy and resourceful, never giving up on any task they set to heart. The fact that they manage to grow crops and even thrive in this harsh land is proof enough of this fact.
Heldanner commoners are a tall, light-skinned people most likely related to the men of the Northern Reaches. They toil the fields and are at peace with themselves and the world. The more worthy and brave among them join the ranks of the Heldannic Knights.
The majestic Heldannic Knights were once majority Hattians (from Thyatis), but now they are equally represented between Thyatians and Heldanners. They preach of conquest and glory, and as has been proven in the land of Norwold, these are not empty words. One day, as foretold by Vanya, the Heldanners and Hattians will rule the world in Vanya's name. This dream is becoming more of a reality with each passing year, as our frontiers are pushed further to the north, and those lands we claim are brought fully under the order's control.
Heldann has had a remarkable growth period recently. The land under our control is so great, we had to divide it into several territories [notably, Heldann, Heldland, and Vanya's Rest. Ed] which, together, form the Heldannic Empire. More recently, our glorious armies secured a new dominion, the Davanian city-state of Polakatsikes, which is now enjoying the fruits of Heldannic suzerainty. Admittedly, a few vagabonds throughout our lands have stubbornly resisted our rulership, but our armies crushed these lawless bands, who were known to trouble the other inhabitants. Many have thanked us for our remarkable control on crime and punishment of all criminals.
On our own, we are a formidable army, yet we also have the blessing of the Lady Vanya. Rest assured that the Heldannic Order will deal appropriately with those malcontents who seek to destabilise the land for their own selfish ends, including Sir Geoffrey of Grunturm (there is a 100,000 gelder reward for his head), and the traitorous Helmut Jaschke, the self-styled "Count of Wolkenburg," in Heldland (we are offering a 25,000 gelder bounty for his head).
Similarly, the tales of threats to our Davanian territories are fallacious; we have successfully repulsed the assaults mounted by the savage Meghaddara and the uncouth Mivosians, with little loss of life. Thus proving again our unity and strength in the face of adversity.
The existing situation changed markedly towards the end of AC 1015 and afterwards, however. During the now-famous Crown War in Thyatis, domestic political unrest rose to an unprecedented level, much to the detriment of the hard-working denizens of Hattias. The unspeakable cruelties of the Storm Soldiers, as well as the retribution meted out by Eusebius, forced many honest Hattians to seek a new home, unwilling as they were to live in a war zone, or to see their once-fair land reduced to ruin. In the spirit of eternal brotherhood, and by the grace of mighty Vanya, we generously opened our borders to these people, and arranged for tracts of land to be allocated to them, should they decide to stay in Heldann. Much to our surprise, every one of the refugees from Hattias decided to stay-a miraculous testament to the integrity of the Heldannic Order, and the inherent goodness of Vanya's principles.
The Heldannic Knights have continued with their tradition of conquest in AC 1016, conquering large swaths of lands in the north up to Oceansend (which we have kindly relinquished for now, for strategic considerations), expanding their dominions in the southern continent of Davania, and proving their mettle through the temporary seizure of Helskir, which we then surrendered in good faith. Since then, a number of discontented knights, led by Heinrich Straßenburger, have complained about the path the order has recently been taking in its quest to propagate the faith of Vanya. Their concerns are being dealt with in an expeditious manner.
Freiburg, the capital of Heldann, was once a filthy and tightly-packed town. But the Heldannic Knights destroyed most of it, rebuilding it with spacious streets (so a parade of knights on horseback could easily get through town) and sturdy buildings.
At the center of town lies the majestic Star Chamber, a temple and barracks dedicated to the Lady. From this magnificent chamber the oberherr rules the land and the will of Vanya is interpreted by the high priests. Freiburg also has the most impressive city walls on Mystara. The knights claim that nothing can or ever will breach the walls. Many architects and siege engineers agree with them. Some outside observers, obviously lacking crucial information, have claimed that a band of usurpers have indeed breached Freiburg's legendary walls. These claims are gross exaggerations; I would suggest that dutiful readers of the Mystaran Almanac wait for the official statement by the leadership of the Heldannic Order on the state of affairs in our fair nation, before jumping to any rash conclusions.
Visitors are also encouraged to visit the small, but pleasant, port town of Kammin. Far cleaner than its northern counterpart, the disgusting town of Landfall, Kammin is a place where local sea traders may sell their wares-such as whale oil, walrus tusks, and cold-water fish, though even the more exotic goods of the south sometimes find their way here-and relax between journeys. Compared to the bustle of Freiburg, Kammin presents to the visitor an air of calmness.
Although Heldann is a safe, orderly realm, one should always exercise caution when venturing near the borders with Ethengar and Denagoth. Of the former, little need be said, as the reputation of those barbarians is well known to civilised folk, but Denagoth is less known. It is a dark, forbidding land-certainly no place for righteous followers of Vanya, or any other wholesome Immortal, I will admit-whose humanoid inhabitants are under the sway of the foul Shadow Lord. Little is known of him-and the less said, the better-or his legions, but the aura of decay emanating from that evil place carries over the Mengul Mountains themselves. It is more pronounced in Heldland, where the land itself becomes blighted as one approaches Denagoth, but even in fair Heldann the air is colder, the forests are darker, and even the sun is seemingly dimmer, as one traverses the eastern foothills of those brooding mountains. Suffice it to say you have been warned.
It has also come to our attention that foreign merchants have reported to their respective houses that Heldannic waterways and roads are currently unsafe due to a prolonged period of localised unrest. This is patently untrue. The Heldannic Empire is open to all merchants from civilised nations, and their legitimate goods.