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Surshield (Kingdom of)
Location: Bellissaria, west of southern Skothar, southeast of Aquas.
Area: 260,390 sq. mi. (674,410 sq. km.).
Population: 100,000 (30,000 in Spearpoint).
Coinage: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone and an import tax of 1% (Karameikos and NACE kingdoms excluded). 8% goes to the imperial treasury (for economic aid).
Government type: Semiautonomous monarchy owing loyalty to the NACE.
Industries: Military, agriculture, craftsmanship, art.
Important Figures: Gratia (Queen and General, human, female, M14).
Flora and Fauna: Like most Bellissarian kingdoms, Surshield's animal and plant life was brought in from elsewhere. However, the more chaotic western portions of the kingdom boast some hostile creatures. Wolves of all types are a particular problem and packs of them can frequently be seen running the land. Also, bands of creatures such as tasloi and hill giants have been reported amid the forests and hills. How they came to Bellissaria is unknown.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Thalia.
Our travel through Surshield was interesting. The first thing to come to mind is the sheer size of the kingdom. It seemed as if we would never see the walls of the capital. The trip was rough and we took the precaution of being armed, armoured, and alert. Luckily, we had the luxury of horses and pack mules to carry our supplies and ourselves.
Surshield is a large snaking kingdom, encompassing the majority of Bellissaria's southern coast. Along its interior, the terrain is composed of hills and mountains, periodically giving way to expanses of open pastures or dense forests. Numerous rivers cross the kingdom. Travel is difficult. There are few roads across this rough terrain. Those present are in bad shape, being little more than footpaths kept clear by the sporadic traffic of the locals.
To the furthermost eastern portion of the kingdom lays the capital city of Spearpoint. As we approached the capital I noticed that the condition of the roadways improved and there seemed to be a bit more order. Spearpoint was a sight for sore eyes. Well laid out and with the creature comforts, it was a worthy destination from our previous weeks' travel. With its daunting battlements and harbour defences, I find it difficult to fathom that the Minaean reavers posed as big of a threat as they do. But then again, all those defences are all for naught once a vessel is but a few hours' sail out of the city. I guess that that is what the Surshield navy is for.
The people living in Surshield are Alphatian, of course. I noticed that those living away from the capital are a rather unruly bunch. Allstrick told me of the kingdom's tradition of being an anarchy. In many ways, it reminded me of some of the more remote areas of Karameikos. I am unsure why it is like that, but there is much about these Alphatians that I do not understand. Despite their chaotic attitude, we had little trouble from the locals.
The closer one travels to Spearpoint, the more organized the locals tend to be. Spearpoint's populace is pretty normal, even by Alphatian terms. There is a heavy military presence, mostly in naval personnel. We spent a great deal of time in the city's taverns. For me, it was a bit difficult to follow the gossip, however through my broken Alphatian and Allstrick's help I did manage. I got the impression that the people in Surshield are not too happy with the NACE, particularly several of their Bellissarian neighbours. I guess the pains of the post-war years and Zandor's aggressions are still a sore spot for the people of Surshield. It may take years for the kingdom to rebuild its trust in its neighbours.
Following the Great War Zandor demanded the abdication of certain rulers within his new Alphatian Empire. Most obliged for various reasons. Only Queen Gratia resisted. Zandor dispatched Commander Broderick to assert authority over the queen and the kingdom. Broderick, supported by several Bellissarian navies, began the aggression against the city of Spearpoint. Gratia attempted to organise the kingdom's defence through conscription. The more chaotic western populace revolted at this display of central authority. This revolt only subsided when she rescinded the declarations.
With the city and its immediate surroundings acting alone, Gratia fled the city to save it from total war. Gratia later was involved with Broderick, Haldemar, and Zynnia's overthrowing of Zandor. Afterwards, Gratia resumed her rule of Surshield and committed to the NACE. The relationship with the NACE has been fair. Surshield has been given relaxation on its taxes due to its prominent role in keeping the Minaean pirates in check.
Despite its sheer size, there is surprisingly little to see. Spearpoint boasts a few interesting details based on its military. Outside of Spearpoint there are several displays of natural beauty to dazzle the spectator. Rektar Falls is a spectacle of nature to behold. Likewise the rock formations of the Zligda Caverns is interesting, especially with the magical lighting. However, one should acquire the services of a competent guide. These sights are in remote areas and are often referred to by different names.
With its size and lack of organized patrols, the wild western lands are home to numerous vile creatures. Wolves are a particular nuisance. More organized creatures also abound. Tasloi are fairly rampant in certain portions of forests. There are also reports of hill giants, cyclops, and a few types of dragons running about.