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Helskir (Kingdom of)
Location: Known World, Isle of Dawn (east of the continent of Brun; southwest of the New Alphatian Sea), northern tip.
Area: 28,932 sq. mi.
Population: 40,000, including 15,000 in the capital Helskir.
Languages: Thyatian (official), Alphatian.
Coinage: Thyatian Standard: Emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Coins of many other nations are in common circulation here.
Taxes: 20% income tax collected quarterly (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, Ei. 1). 5% customs tax on all but food and clothing.
Government Type: Independent kingdom under the jurisdiction of the Empire of Thyatis (it's ties to Thyatis are merely a formality).
Industries: Trade and fishing.
Important Figures: King Eruul Zaar (human, male, F18), Queen Asteriela Torion (human, female, M12).
Flora and Fauna: Standard for its climate, including sheep and goats. Dangerous monsters include goblinoid hordes scattered throughout the Isle of Dawn as well as bandits.
Description: by Alasdhair MacCallum
The town of Helskir is a rather odd sight here in the war-torn lands of the Isle of Dawn. It is the first city I see without any city walls. Admittedly, there is a wooden palisade surrounding the town, but compared to the massive stone walls that most other cities have, it makes Helskir look defenceless.
Compared to most kingdoms, the nation of Helskir is relatively small. The city itself lies on arable land, well suited for farms and livestock. This farmland follows the coast of the Sea of Dawn, covering about a third of the nation's lands.
To the south of the nation lies to huge Demeran's Moor. Fell lizards and monsters of all sorts thrive within the murky waters far away from any civilisation. Demeran's Moor is even more dangerous because a low fog often rolls in, hiding the inhabitants, as well as the various sinkholes and natural dangers of any moor. This giant moor takes up another third of the land claimed by Helskir.
The last third is rocky ground which the people of Helskir use to herd sheep and goats. As one moves toward the southwest, the ground becomes more uneven and rises higher and higher until it stops at a huge, unnamed cliffside several miles just past the border. [Ed. Note: Alasdhair seems to be referring to the Herdane Escarpment mentioned in Favonius Viator's description on Dunadale.]
The city itself was but a small fishing village 40 years ago. King Eruul Zaar has since transformed it into one of the most thriving economical trade centres in this part of the Known World.
Helskir is lucky enough to have a deep harbour with the capacity to handle several ships with ease. Although there are areas of shallow water here and there, a large, stone lighthouse guides ships safely through the bay and to the docks.
Currently, only a wooden palisade protects the city, but the foundation for a stone wall has been laid in various places. The work is expected to be completed by the summer of AC 1015. Key buildings within the city, such as the Fishing and Sailing Guildhall, the Palace, and the lighthouse, are built on a steep hill with their own wooden palisade around them.
The people of Helskir have learned to ignore most rulers and simply continue on with their lives. The city has changed from Alphatian hands to Thyatian control to independence so many times that most have stopped bothering to even try to count.
Now it seems that Helskir is once more a part of the Empire of Thyatis, although it remains a semi-autonomous kingdom under the rulership of King Zaar.
With all the political manoeuvring that took place during the Thyatian-Alphatian war, most inhabitants expected Helskir to be one of the first cities to fall and be destroyed. Much to their relief, they have actually prospered except for a brief period of raiding the past few years. Now with the full presence of Thyatian Legions, the economy is once more on the rise.
The inhabitants are of Alphatian descent, although they have long ago abandoned all ties to their Alphatian culture.
Unfortunately, there's not much to see in the land of Helskir.
Myself, being from the inland nation of Glantri, I was rather intrigued with the lighthouse, so I paid it a visit. This stone tower stands what must be 12 to 15 stories in height, with a base of at least 50 feet in diameter. At the top lies a huge, magical fire that can be seen far out at sea, a fact I can testify to from my sailing trip here from Oceansend. Many other places also have lighthouses, but from what I hear, this is one of the biggest ones found anywhere. Of course, despite all that, it is still just a lighthouse.
The only other place to see in Helskir is the market. In itself, the market is nothing spectacular, but when you consider that almost every ship that sails in the waters of the Sea of Dawn or the New Alphatian Sea stops here, it becomes evident that almost anything can be found in the market. Helskir is a great place to collect coins and currency from various sea-faring nations of the world. I would imagine only Minrothad can claim a bigger market.