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MERIDIA (Province of)

Location: Southwestern coast of Isle of Dawn. SD

Area: 82,160 sq. mi. (212,795 sq. km.), plus Caerdwicca, which is technically considered part of the province.

Population: 3,000, plus Caerdwicca, which is technically considered part of the province.

Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian dialect), Alphatian (Hillvale dialect). An ancient dialect of Ochalean is spoken in some areas of the province.

Coinage: Thyatian Standard: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), justiciar (ep), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Alphatian Standard also very common: 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: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire.

Industries: Agriculture, fishing, trade (in general; each dominion of the province might have a few extra industries as will be noted in their description).

Important Figures: Valerion Recebarius (Provincial Legate).

Flora and Fauna: The Provincia Meridia consists largely of sparsely inhabited grasslands in the west, and unsettled forests in the north. The hilly regions to the south of the province are rich with mineral ores, and are a hotly contested area between the settlers in Meridia and those of the County of Furmenglaive to the south. Wild horses roam the grasslands, as well as the usual chickens, goats, pigs, and other sorts of animals. The dark forests are rife with monsters and evil fairy creatures.

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

Description by Stefania Torion.

This southern province is most well known for the petty warlords who feud between themselves for mineral and land rights, and for the dark fairy creatures that lurk in the forests (as opposed to the more benevolent fairies who live in my own County of Redstone). The dangers found here have limited colonisation in Meridia, as most colonists prefer more stable areas.

The Province of Meridia is almost entirely untamed wilderness. Only the sparsely settled Barony of Caerdwicca has seen any real development. This area was largely left to its own devices until recently, with imperial colonisation centred upon developing the northern and central sections of the Isle of Dawn. During the war the Alphatians almost completely bypassed this area, though the privateers of Caerdwicca and the pirates of Ne'er-do-well clashed fiercely at sea.

The Land

The Menhir Wood dominates the southeastern portion of the Provincia Meridia. It is around this forest, along the eastern coast and the southern hills north of Furmenglaive, that most settlers reside. The woods are named for the numerous strange rock formations that lay within their depths. Sages have pondered over their nature for decades, and most agree that they are somehow magical and related to similar formations in the fairy-haunted Unseelie Forest in the northern part of the province. Their true secrets defy all investigation, however.

Those aforementioned woods have yet to be settled by man. The evil creatures that roam the depths of the northern forest are formidable and aggressive, and few who venture into their depths return. It is rumoured that the dark fairies have a kingdom of their own hidden there, and that even the trees themselves are alive and hateful of mankind.

A few small villages may be found in the central grasslands of the Provincia Meridia, along rivers leading to the Western Sea of Dawn. Nomadic herders, descendants of the original settlers of this portion of the isle, also make their homes here.

The People

The original inhabitants of the Provincia Meridia were a slight, yellow-skinned race of people similar to the Ethengars. They once had numerous small villages in the grasslands and along the western portion of the Shadow Coast, but over the centuries they were enslaved and shipped off the island, or conquered by outsiders. Their legacy remains among the nomads who still roam the grasses, and in the legends and lore of the Shadow Coast. Some still speak their ancient language, a language that has surprising similarities to modern Ochalean.

The native inhabitants have since mostly blended with the Thyatian and Klantyrian colonists over the intervening centuries. The more recent settlers' physical traits-red hair among the Klantyrians, for instance-tend to dominate, but aspects of the original stock may still be found-slight epicanthic folds to the eyes, a yellowish tint to the skin.

For the most part, there doesn't seem to be a particular physical type that can be assigned to residents of the Provincia Meridia, but as for cultural outlook... well, let's just say that the Meridians tend to be close-mouthed, but that doesn't mean they're pushovers. They've been beaten down so much by their overlords that they've learned to keep quiet. At the same time, though, they're plotting their revenge on their oppressors.

Recent History

The lords have taken advantage of the chaos of the last several years, and most recently the Crown War, when imperial attention has been distracted. They have not rebelled openly, but they used the disorders for their own interests, while the empire's officials were not paying attention, to scheme against each other and encroach on each other's territories. Some of these lords even are not true lords recognised as such by the empire, but just people who have seized control of an area and set themselves up as warlords or bandit-lords. Due to the crises that have wracked Thyatis in recent years, these lordships have, if anything, multiplied and gotten even more unruly.

Because of this, most recent colonists have settled either around Caerdwicca or Furmenglaive, or in the northern coastal areas away from the disorders of the lordships. However, the lords recruit new adherents and mercenaries from these areas when they can. They especially seek out the colonists who were sent as a result of colonial conscription, the criminals and other hardened sorts, who make good thugs in the opinion of the lords. These lords also hire mercenaries in small numbers (none of the lords are able to afford large forces), hardened men willing to do anything for a few gold pieces a month, and employ them in their feuds and wars.

The Provincial Governor of Meridia tries to keep a lid on the strife of the lords, or at least keep the taxes flowing to the city of Thyatis. Until recently it had been Catullus Florus, who employed a group of thugs, most former soldiers-the Rorphyri-to enforce his will. However, Catullus was recalled to Thyatis shortly after the end of the Great War, on suspicion of corruption and treason. His replacement, Valerion Recebarius, tried to reign in the lords and bring order to the region, but he has disappeared and foul play is suspected.

Don't Miss

Grosmouth Castle in the southwest is one of the oldest fortifications on the Shadow Coast. It reportedly dates back to around the crowning of the first Emperor of Thyatis. It was built by a Traladaran mercenary named Estragon, who had joined with Thyatian raiders in attacking Alphatian settlements on the Isle of Dawn. He was so intrigued by the place, that he remained and became known as one of the most brutal warlords to rule in the history of the isle. His castle was long rumoured to be haunted, but Catullus Florus made his home there during his tenure as provincial governor.