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LATELA (Barony of)
Location: Continent of Brun, northeast of Alpha. NW
Area: 1,995 sq. mi. (5,165 sq. km.).
Languages: Thyatian, Alphatian.
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 20% of income.
Government Type: Barony, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Trading, logging, agriculture.
Important Figures: Longtooth (Baron), Tano Tarantella (Guild Master).
Flora and Fauna: The coastline of Latela is dotted with farmlands and orchards, while the inland regions are still covered by the evergreen trees (mostly pines and sequoia) so common in the Lothbarth Forest. The wildlife in the forested areas include common animals like deer, boars, elk and moose, and more feral beasts like wolves, black and brown bears, pumas and yowlers. Fish are not so common in Latela's waters.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords, previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
The Barony of Latela is basically a Thyatian province rather than an Alphatian dominion, since its ruler has shaped it using the Thyatian system he is so familiar with. Latela is incredibly rich for a northern barony so far from the Old World merchant routes, and many believe its richness doesn't always come from honest trades.
The dominion of Latela is in many ways similar to Panteria and the former barony of Westria. It extends along the central shores north of the Great Bay, following the coastline and the plains some 30 miles in the interior of the great northern forests. A good part of these plains have been turned to farmlands and orchards, while the rest remains wild woods that are exploited by a bustling logging industry [the main economic resource of the barony, according to the official data. Arcadius.].
The coastline and the small villages in this part of the country (including the capital city of Civis Nova) have been built reflecting the typical Thyatian urban plan: a square or rectangular city map, with two main roads (cardus and decumanus) cutting the settlement in four living quarters, with a main square in the middle of the settlement. All the houses are one story and white painted, with a small temple in each settlement and even a public arena and a theatre in the capital of Civis Nova. But there are some differences from the typical southern Thyatian town. First of all, all other streets except the two main roads are dark and narrow alleys, often unpaved, unlike the main roads. Also, the buildings (even the arena) have wooden sloping roofs, typical of the northern countries where heavy rain- and snowfalls abound in the coldest months.
The capital of Civis Nova (pop. 2,000) lies in the southernmost tip of the barony, with direct access to the Great Bay. Its port is one of the largest in Norwold, rivalling with those of Alpha and Panteria. Many foreign ships dock in Latela, especially those coming from Thyatis and the Isle of Dawn, which seem to have made special trade agreements with the baron. Latela's capital is a small pearl of Thyatian architecture, with all its buildings painted white and all the streets (even the narrow alleyways) paved with cobblestones. A natural amphitheatre has been cut out in the rocky promontory that faces the Great Bay, a couple of miles to the west in the outskirts of the town, and dramas are held there regularly once a month.
Together with the amphitheatre, the Temple of Asterius and the Guildhall are the other two interesting features of the city. The first is a white templum with a ring of outer columns that masquerade the inner walls. Inside, the temple is decorated with golden stucco works and paintings depicting the glory and munificence of Asterius towards his worshippers. The priests' quarters are outside the templum, in a smaller and less elaborate enclave. Ceremonies are held daily and many people participate with donations and services, testifying how widespread Asterius's faith is among the citizens. The Guildhall is the only two-story building in the whole country [not even Lord Longtooth's villa is that tall. Adik.] and is the place where representatives of all guilds of the dominion meet to discuss economic agreements or sell goods to foreign ambassadors.
In contrast with the Thyatian homeland, which is a melting pot of different races, Latela is a country mostly inhabited by Thyatians of Kerendan and pure Thyatian origins, while the few Alphatians living in the region are concentrated in the hamlets and houses built inside the woods [they are trappers and loggers. Adik.]. The Thyatians are obviously aware of their heritage and do not miss any opportunity to display it in the face of Alphatians. However, Latela never created problems for Ericall, and Baron Longtooth's loyalty to the Alphan Crown, although many times questioned, never failed. Latela enjoys a stable government and an enviable economic situation, which places the barony and its inhabitants among the richest in Norwold. Obviously this only applies to the Thyatian majority, since they fill the ranks of the trading guilds. Alphatians are usually small craftsmen and woodcutters for the most part, and even if a good deal of Latela's entries come from the logging industry, the woodcutters do not participate much in the wealth of their industry.
The role of the guilds is very important in Latela, although not as much as is in Minrothad, Darokin or even Panteria. Guilds are left free to trade among themselves with whatever agreements they see fit, provided they keep accurate estimates of their revenues. Trade agreements with foreign nations must be made with the authorisation of the baron, however, and are always supervised by the United Guilds Senior Chairman, a position currently held by Tano Tarantella [who founded the union and has been chairman since its creation. Arcadius.]. This position is, according to some rumours, even more important than that of the baron, since the union's chairman has the final word on all trade agreements with any foreign merchant [and since Latela's economy depends on the foreign trade, this is likely the truth. Adik.].
The Tarantella family is a well-known Thyatian dynasty that counts among its seemingly infinite members merchants, governors, senators, guild masters and rich landowners, both inside and outside the Thyatian Empire. However, some rumours say that the Tarantellas have also ties with the infamous Thyatian crime organisation known as Causa Nostra, which has grown in power in the Old World (especially during the last decade) and caused the downfall of many merchants and rival thieves' guilds [particularly famous is the Flaccus Scandal of AC 1004, where a Thyatian Senator was exposed as being one of the leaders of the Shadow Hand, a powerful Thyatian criminal organisation, which suffered then a major blow from this event. Arcadius.]. These same rumours also tell that the Tarantellas are behind Lord Longtooth's power, and that Latela's revenues have been boosted more by the slave trade than by the logging industry.
Lord Longtooth [whose origins are shrouded in mystery, even though he insists in being the only-albeit illegitimate-son of a deceased rich Thyatian landlord. Adik.] came to Norwold in AC 1001, answering King Ericall's call to colonise the wild areas of his kingdom. He immediately swore fealty to Ericall and built the village of Civis Nova, concentrating on enlarging its docks and harbour. Once everything was ready and the dangerous beasts had been dealt with, the first waves of Thyatian immigrants began to hit the coasts of Latela at an impressive rate, and the small village of Civis Nova soon became a full-grown town in less than a year. The settlers who came to Latela were basically poor artisans and beggars, who were convinced by Lord Longtooth they could have a new and better life if they left Thyatis for this new land. The strategy succeeded, and indeed most of them changed their lives for the better.
During the Great War, Latela kept providing the Kingdom of Alpha with important food and weapon supplies, but it never sent its rather puny army on the battlefield. Some say Latela also helped the Thyatian troops that came to Norwold against the Alphatians, but so far nobody has found evidence supporting this hypothesis. Also, other rumours state that Latela's guilds were involved in the bankruptcy that ruined the western dominion of Westria, and that Lord Longtooth was about to buy the barony when Lady Celia of Panteria intervened and beat him in time. Again, these are but unconfirmed rumours, of course, since nobody [not even the many provosts and bureaucrats sent by King Ericall. Arcadius.] ever found something out of place in Latela's accounts.
Civis Nova and its marvels are a must see, since they are a real novelty to the common inhabitant of Norwold. If you are from the Old World, Latela offers you the typical Thyatian atmosphere, so maybe you'll find yourself at ease there. Besides, you don't need official permission to conduct business or do many other things in Latela, unlike in nearby Panteria, so if you are a merchant or if you are interested in making a profit without troubling too much with rules and laws, Latela is the land that suits you.
Even in a rich town like Civis Nova the alleyways are dangerous, and brim with cutthroats and cutpurses. They especially target foreigners who visit the town, and the narrow streets seem to have been built just to suit their shady needs. Also, since the guards are not really reliable in Latela [they seem strangely to always be looking the other side when something happens. Adik.], it is best advised you count only on yourself to fend off any possible assault, especially at night.