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HELDUN (Exarchate/Confederated Kingdom of)

Location: Northeastern head of the Isle of Dawn. SD

Area: 175,465 sq. mi. (454,455 sq. km.).

Population: 120,000, including cities of Helskir (pop. 12,500) and Dunadale (pop. 20,000), and the towns of Deirdren (pop. 5,000), and Norkinn (pop. 1,000). Helskir's population has fallen due to the hostilities surrounding its liberation from Heldannic occupation.

Languages: Alphatian (Hillvale dialect), Thyatian (Redstone dialect).

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp); Alphatian Standard: 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: Constitutional monarchy with many elected representatives advising the ruler. Member of both the Thyatian Empire and Nayce.

Industries: Agriculture, fishing, cutting of peat moss, sheep-herding, trade, some raiding.

Important Figures: Asteriela Torion (Exarcha/Queen).

Flora and Fauna: Standard for its climate, notably herds of sheep and goats. Dangerous monsters include goblinoids and bandits that are common throughout the Isle of Dawn.

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

Description by Demetius Vannopolus, with commentary from Vivianna Romanones.

Heldun as a kingdom is a bridge. A bridge between a past shrouded in antagonism and war, and a future of prosperity and enlightenment. It was formed from the union of two nations, the Kingdom of Helskir and the Confederacy of Dunadale through the peaceful efforts of Thyatian and Alphatian alike. Heldun is a bridge between cultures, Thyatian, Alphatian, and increasingly Antalian as Ostlander immigrants establish their settlements. That promise of a new future was threatened for a time, as the Knights of Heldann occupied Helskir itself, and much of the surrounding countryside, in a bid to assert control over the northern portion of the Isle of Dawn. Although they were thrown out eventually, the chaos they wreaked will be felt for years to come.

The Land

Heldun is a large nation, with all types of terrain and climate. From the northern tip of the Isle of Dawn where Helskir lies, and the land is cold but where the fish abound, sweeping down the coast in a wide arc to the temperate coastal communities of Dunadale and Deirdren. The fertile coastal lowlands are the most settled parts of this land. As you move inland from the coast the terrain becomes a patchwork of hills, bogs, and forests, a dangerous place, but a place where the people are hardy and freedom-loving. [The area around Demeran's Moor, at the head of the island, once considered part of Helskir, was ceded to Westrourke following the signing of the Treaty of Helskir. Vivianna.]

The People

Heldun's cities are thriving communities, with burgeoning trade. The people are beginning to mix freely in these towns. By and large, the cities of Dunadale and Helskir have become communities where Alphatian and Thyatian customs are blending into a new culture, uniquely Heldunian. Even before the recent Thyatian conquest, Dunadale stood out among Alphatian domains as the only place to adopt anything resembling the Thyatian concept of citizenship, and even went a step farther. The inhabitants of the confederacy had rights, could vote, and popularly elected officials limited even the powers of the monarch. Coastal Heldun is a cosmopolitan land, whose spirit the Heldannic invaders could not crush.

But while the coasts with their brash tradesmen are what people most think of when they consider Heldun, it is the people in the countryside which form its heart. These people are the salt of the earth, prizing their self-reliance, and yet ever ready to lend their neighbours a helping hand. For centuries they have lived, wedged between two empires, their lives and livelihoods endangered by war and monster incursions, and yet they thrive. [Until recently Asteriela Torion and Eruul Zaar jointly governed this land, with the capital at Helskir. The assassination of Zaar while on Ionace and the invasion of the Heldannic Knights left the government in turmoil and forced Asteriela to move the capital temporarily to Dunadale. Although she has yet to return to Helskir formally, Asteriela has given every indication that she intends to do so. Vivianna.]

Recent History

Heldun is a new land with more ahead of it than behind it. It was forged from the crucible of war, and tempered by diplomatic wrangling between the Thyatians and the Alphatians. Heldunians have put the past behind them. New arrivals from Ostland and Thyatis, as well as Alphatians returning from abroad, prefer to think of the future. [The arrival of the Knights of Heldann was a painful reminder of the region's strife-filled past, proving that it is not so easy to forget harsh reality, as Vannopolus would like to believe. The wars, especially the recent Final Alphatian War and Thincol's subsequent absorption of the region, still shape attitudes among the people. Vivianna.]

Don't Miss

The lighthouse in Helskir, while not (as previously reported) the largest in the world (several along Vanya's Girdle are its equal or greater), is quite a sight nonetheless, with a brilliant beacon light. The Heldannic Knights used it as a lookout tower, and it was fairly heavily guarded. Although much of Helskir was severely damaged during its liberation late in AC 1017, the lighthouse survived the ordeal intact. [Helskir's once-thriving markets are still quite bare, due to the reconstruction that is currently underway-most of the goods you will find are the bare essentials, as most people living here are more concerned with rebuilding their lives than anything else. The markets of Dunadale are still much more impressive, though in a few years I am sure Helskir will become once more a destination of choice for northern sea traders. Vivianna.]

Also not to be missed is the grand outer wall of Helskir. Constructed by the Heldannic Knights in a bid to both strengthen their defences and open the way for a massive expansion of the port city, it held off the city's liberators for several days. Although heavily damaged in some portions, the wall is still very sound, and massive in scale. Helskir's city council is currently debating what to do with the structure-tearing it down would yield much in the way of stone for building materials, but because its construction involved the use of forced labour, it has become highly symbolic of Helskir's time of occupation. There is a movement afoot to preserve the wall for future generations, as well as improve upon it to bolster Helskir's defences. Regardless of the final decision, I recommend that you visit it.

The Herdane Escarpment does provide a glorious view of the sunrise for those who have the fortitude to scale its cliffs. The hard-working people of the interior aren't a sight, but for those who are tired of interactions with cynical swindlers, spending time with these folk will restore your faith in humanity.

Do Miss

There are designated areas between Helskir and the outer wall that have been fenced off-heed the warnings and avoid them! Not all of the traps laid by the Heldannic Knights in this region were triggered by the allied force that liberated the city, and thus you could be maimed, or killed, by a mundane-or magical-device left over from the battles. It is unknown how long it will take to deactivate and remove them all, but some city planners estimate that it could take a year or more.