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SELHOMARR (Empire of)

Location: Continent of Suridal, western regions. HW

Area: 256,410 sq. mi. (664,100 sq. km.), including Ilarnnian Autonomous Region, otherwise area is 248,094 sq. mi. (642,255 sq. km.).

Population: 5,000,000, including the capital, Calimnis (pop. 350,000).

Languages: Lhomarrian (official), Ilarnnian, Neathar.

Coinage: Various denominations of the alin, corresponding to cp (1 alin), sp (10 alinni), gp (100 alinni), and pp (1,000 alinni).

Taxes: 25% of yearly earnings, and 10% of estimated land value collected yearly on Gallotar 27 (corresponding to Kaldmont 27).

Government Type: Constitutional monarchy; regional nobility has considerable power.

Industries: Agriculture (Selhomarr's climate ensures there is almost always a surplus for export), common spices, fishing, leatherworking, mining (copper, silver, and tin mines), woodworking.

Important Figures: Tamaris (Emperor, human, male, F12);, Dinaria (Empress, human, female, Dr3), Gallos the Aged (Respected Philosopher and Historian, human, male, T4), Mirinasi (High Emissary, human, female, Dr15), Thessia (High Priestess, human, female, Pr29 of Xeron).

Flora and Fauna: In Selhomarr one can find plants and animals common throughout the temperate regions. Towards the south, great stands of pine, maple, birch, and evergreens blanket the hilly terrain as it rises to become the Lhomarrian Range, the largest mountain range on Suridal. Further north, beyond the great Forest of Garithor, oaks and poplars replace the coniferous trees, until the forests give way to the great Plains of Aymira. Here, tall grasses dominate the landscape, save for the forested hills of the Tylierian Peninsula, where the famed dillianora trees may be found. In the northern regions of Selhomarr, across the Bay of Lokam, many of the trees in the Veroxith and Lorethii Forests are fruit-bearing, providing ample yields of apples, peaches, pears, oranges, and other fruits. To the east, surrounding the city of Annurios, the great Korvoris Forest is populated by hardy stands of oak, ironwood, and yew.

In terms of animal life, Selhomarr is equally blessed. Herds of aurochs and buffalo roam the Plains of Aymira, while foxes, wolves, birds, giant rats, deer, and other beasts make the forests their home. In the swampy regions, insects of all sorts buzz about, as snakes slither about their business. Also common in the region are monsters known to inhabit temperate zones, such as giant ants, giant bees, displacer beasts, dragons, griffons, hydras, owlbears, pegasi, purple worms, rocs, various undead, and other beasts, as well as such bizarre plants as grab grass, strangle vines, vampire roses, and whip weed.

Further Reading: The Empire of Selhomarr by Geoff Gander, previous almanacs.

Description by Taleris, son of Trestian.

I am happy to present to you a glimpse of the wondrous Empire of Selhomarr, the centre of an ancient culture that has existed on Suridal for almost as long as our people have been recording history. As a member of the Lighthouse community, I was approached by others to share some basic information about my land, which, because of its location, has relatively little to do with events on the main continent of Iciria.

The Land

Selhomarr is a temperate land located on the fertile western shores of the continent of Suridal, centred around the Bay of Lokam. It is bounded by mountains to the southeast and to the north, and forests to the east. It is broken up into three pieces: the northern shore of the Bay of Lokam, the eastern reaches and the city of Annurios, and finally the southern portion, which makes up the bulk of Selhomarr's landmass.

Having been settled for a very long time, much of Selhomarr is currently being farmed, or otherwise supporting a vast network of cities, towns, and villages, all connected by paved roads, save for those outlying regions. Where regions do not receive enough rain, complex networks of irrigation canals and ditches have been dug, and several cities and towns have aqueducts leading down from the hills and mountains, supplying them with all the water they need. Despite this fact, though, there are still many areas of the empire, mainly towards the south and east, that remain untamed. In some places, particularly along the hinterlands of the Forest of Garithor, small fortresses and towers have been built, to protect nearby communities from what lurks within.

The People

The first thing that must be remembered about Selhomarr is that, unlike many other nations, it has more than one distinct people living within its borders. By far the most numerous group is the Lhomarrian people, of which I am a member. It was us who built much of the empire, and named it Selhomarr, which literally means "New Lhomarr," or "New Land of the Sea." The bulk of our armies are Lhomarrian in origin, as are most of our administrators. The other, much smaller, group consists of the Ilarnnians, who are a different people entirely. Most Ilarnnians live in the Ilarnnian Autonomous Region, a nation within a nation in which they constitute the majority, and in which they follow their own laws and speak their own language. The people of Selhomarr are peaceful and prosperous; they enjoy a hard day's work and give their best effort to everything they do. They are a people of explorers, warriors, and philosophers, whose inquisitive nature has taken them all over the Hollow World. Their towns and cities are clean and orderly, and their stone buildings are gracefully decorated with bright frescoes of beautiful scenes.

Though it may seem that all people do in Selhomarr is work and attend to their duties, this is not so. We also love to sing, dance, indulge in sports-especially in the venerable game of dillianath, among the Lhomarrians-, tell tall tales, and enjoy great feasts. All the people of Selhomarr, especially the Lhomarrians, look for opportunities to celebrate something, whether it is a good harvest, a birth, a marriage, or a great personal accomplishment. While the Lhomarrians tend to be open to others, as well as sociable, the Ilarnnians are far more reserved, and their celebrations tend to be more restrained. They are far less open to outsiders, though not hostile to them, and many prefer the company of their own people. It is said that many Ilarnnians see themselves as far more refined than their more numerous Lhomarrian neighbours, though I personally have not run into anyone expressing this opinion.

Among the Lhomarrians themselves there are several sub-groups, each of which has its own traditions and customs, and its own outlook on life. Despite these differences, most citizens of Selhomarr consider themselves Selhomarrians first.

The people of Selhomarr are rather fair-minded in comparison to other peoples. We do not practice slavery, nor do we impose cruel punishments for minor crimes. In our society, both men and women are accorded the same respect and the same rights, though each gender has certain responsibilities not shared by the other. Though not perfect by any means, the society of Selhomarr is, in my opinion, considerably more enlightened than many others.

Finally, the people of Selhomarr are united by their faith in Xeron, the one true Immortal. Xeron is the force behind the eternal sun, and He is the one who created this world so long ago. It was by His mercy that we were brought to this new world, and it is under His protection that we grow strong as a nation. Though other Immortals do exist, they are as faded shadows to the might of Xeron, who is known by some other peoples as Ixion.

Recent History

The Empire of Selhomarr has existed peacefully on Suridal for thousands of years, interacting with its neighbours through trade and diplomatic contacts on a relatively frequent basis. This was not always so, however. Our legends tell of a time, now lost in the ages, when our people fought against a great menace, foul lizard-like beings who lived only for destruction and suffering. It was a time of great heroes and great deeds, but also of tragedy, for in the dying days of that age our old world was destroyed, and only by the grace of Xeron, our patron Immortal, were we brought here to begin anew.

During the long years since then, Selhomarr has grown and prospered, developing ties with the other nations of this world that wish them, and exploring the many strange lands that lie here. There have been conflicts with the Antalians to the north, and with the Krugel Orcs and the Azcans of Iciria, but on the whole Selhomarr has maintained peaceful relations with every people it has met. So it has been for many centuries-a period of slow and steady growth.

More recently, domestic events have taken a turn for the worse. Three circles past a great fire arose in our central plains, devastating many villages and forcing many to go hungry, as our crops were reduced to ashes in the blaze. Only now, as we have begun to recover, a militant group of Ilarnnians grows restive in the north, demanding a homeland of its own. Making matters worse, the normally peaceful dragons who inhabit the mountain ranges that gird our homeland have become far more aggressive, and on one occasion last year a great red wyrm flew out of its lair and did great damage to the cities of Rethnaris and Dirdassos. Since then, a calm of sorts has descended upon Selhomarr once more, but for how long no one knows.

Don't Miss

Selhomarr has more than its share of sights to see! The capital, Calimnis, is a notable site in itself, with its long series of canals spreading like a spider's web throughout the city, and its ancient, well-decorated buildings represent the various building styles that can be found throughout the nation. With its many boulevards and squares, and its vibrant inhabitants, Calimnis is a place that must be seen!

Within the city itself, the Great Temple of Xeron and the Imperial Palace are architectural feats in themselves, and both house a wealth of information on the history of the peoples of Selhomarr, as well as many artifacts from the distant past. Both buildings stand across from each other in the main plaza, and their graceful spires are visible above all other buildings in the city.

Also notable is the Imperial Map Collection, located at the Imperial Museum of Antiquities, which houses one of the most complete and accurate maps of the coastal regions of the Hollow World, as well as a well-preserved map of Old Lhomarr that was brought to this world millennia ago. For those seeking to learn more of this world, almost all the geographical information one might need is contained therein.

Another interesting place is the Great Forest of Marinnir, with its wondrous dillianora trees, which are found nowhere else in the world. In these lands the locals pick the silvery berries of these beautiful trees, and with them make the renowned cakes, potions, ointments, and breads known all over Selhomarr for their quality. It is said that a traveller can walk for great distances, and go for long periods without food, by subsisting only on the slightest portion of the legendary foods and drinks made from this rare berry. Though the process of making these foods is a secret, the sheer beauty of the landscape, and the hospitality of the people, make this place well worth the visit.

Finally, no visit to Selhomarr would be complete without a tour of the lovely city of Dirdassos, where visitors can sample the wonders of Ilarnnian culture, such as the legendary performances of the tale-weavers, whose graceful moves can recite whole epics without the aid of words.

Do Miss

While the heartland of Selhomarr is quite safe due to long periods of settlement, there are still regions of the empire that should be avoided if at all possible. First, the many mountain ranges that gird much of the nation house wild beasts of all sorts, including red dragons and griffons. Not for nothing do we regularly patrol these borderlands to ensure that nothing does harm to our citizenry.

Another region the unwary should avoid are the treacherous Bogs of Disania. For as long as our history has been documented, this fetid land has always resisted attempts at settlement. Those who venture within rarely return, and those who do come back tell tales of undead, and worse, roaming about. It is also known that a great black dragon makes its home within the bogs, said to guard a treasure hoard of incredible wealth. Many a would-be treasure hunter has gone in search of the beast, only to meet with sorrow.

The Forest of Garithor is also known to house dangers. There have been numerous sightings of green dragons flying over the trees, and many travellers have been mauled by owlbears, displacer beasts, and their ilk.