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Geographic entry for the Heldannic Outpost of Vanya Bay

by Dani Moonstar

Location: Hattias, east of the Stegger River along the eastern coast.

Area: 384 square miles.

Population: 350 people in village, plus staff of one commanderie and one abbey. Haven't quite figured all of this out yet.

Languages: Thyatian (Hattian dialect), Heldannic. Heldannic is the official language of the new colony.

Coinage: Heldannic Standard: groschen (5 gp), gelder (gp), erzer (ep), markschen (sp), fenneg (cp).

Taxes: 15% income tax collected four times a year. 10% tithe to the Heldannic Knights collected once a year. 1 gelder head tax collected once a year from all those not in military service. There is also a 5% sales tax on all items but food and clothing.

Government Type: Military theocracy, member of the Heldannic Empire.

Industries: Agriculture, ale & beer, animals (especially sheep & goats), crafts, fishing, oil, privateering, trade, wine, wool.

Important Figures: Katrina van Helsing (Governor-General).

Flora and Fauna: Mulberry trees (for sericulture), grape vines, olive trees, cedar, peach, pear, orange, and cherry fruit trees in cultivated orchards. Herds of cattle, sheep, horses, goats, swine, and mules. Bees kept for honey. Bears, boars, centaurs, lycanthropes, mountain lions, foxes, dryads, wolves, unicorns and goblinoids can be found in the wilds of Hattias.

Description by Katrina van Helsing.

It is my esteemed honour and pleasure to pen this description of Vanya Bay, the newest acquisition of the Heldannic Order. Located as it is in my homeland of Hattias, I am especially proud to lead this colony, and it is my fondest wish to see it become the brightest jewel in Vanya's crown.

The Land

Vanya Bay is located along the eastern coast of Hattias, east of the source of the Stegger River. Our holdings were ceded to us for one hundred years by the Thyatian Empire, as part of the repayment of the imperial debt to the Order. These lands include a village, a deep-water bay with twenty-four miles of coastland, and lands extending another sixteen miles inland. The village is home to three hundred and fifty Hattians, a small and unassuming community that was thankfully spared the ravages of the recent Crown War.

Vanya Bay is now host to a Heldannic garrison, guarding the village against incursions and banditry. The garrison detachment includes Governor-General Katrina van Helsing, twenty knights, thirty squires, twenty sergeants, sixty men-at-arms, sixty archers, sixty crossbowmen, ten ballistae and thirty crewmen, ten Chaplains, and forty serving brethren to handle menial tasks within the garrison. Another two hundred and fifty Heldannic peasants who do not reside on site tend to some thirty acres of farmland and the garrison's livestock of ten bulls, twenty oxen, forty cows, twelve pigs, two hundred goats and sheep, and scores of poultry and fowl. Other assets include twenty ploughs and twenty supply wagons including ten for the ballista units. The garrison itself, a rather blocky and inelegant structure located just outside of Vanya Bay proper, provides several dormitories, stables for the knights' fifty horses, a mess hall, a chapel, a few individual rooms including the Governor-General's quarters, and a kitchen. A barn and other wooden structures used for farming stand outside the garrison.

The abbey, located adjacent to the garrison, provides religious services to the inhabitants of Vanya Bay, as well as medical and educational services. The priests of the abbey also collect taxes, handle local recruitment, and conduct any police duties in the absence of the military. Taxes are shipped to the garrison. The abbey also provides peaceful retirement to elderly Knights who have become incapable of handling their duties. The inhabitants of the abbey include an Abbot, one hundred Priors, one hundred Chaplains, and nearly five hundred serving brethren.

Never a particularly settled area of the island, the land ceded to the Heldannic Order by Thyatis has already proven to be fruitful and productive. There are several expansive fields and orchards here in the fertile lowlands that play host to mulberry trees, olive trees, grapevines, cedars, peaches, pears, oranges, and cherries. These orchards are maintained by the Hattians, who have cared for them for many years before the arrival of the Heldannic Knights. There are also fields for sheep and goats, which are prolific in the area and provide for sizeable wool product to be exported to Thyatis and throughout the Heldannic Empire.

The land here is also very hilly, especially as one moves further inland, and it is in these hills that we have recently discovered iron deposits that had gone unexploited by Thyatis. We recently opened an iron mine in the area, and it is currently operating at a satisfactory production rate. Our mine here, with others to follow as our scouts and engineers work to discover and exploit them, will provide for sizeable exports to Thyatis as well as helping to fuel our Order's military endeavours both at home and abroad. It is somewhat ironic that the Thyatians would probably have not parted with these lands so quickly if they had known that there was still potential for iron mining here.

The fauna of the land is almost devoid of monstrous creatures. Herds of cattle, sheep, horses, goats, swine, and mules graze peacefully in pastures, with only the occasional mountain lion, fox, or wolf molesting them. Bears and boars also roam freely throughout the land.

The People

The people of Vanya Bay are almost completely Hattian in ethnicity. The Heldannic Knights sent to the colony were chosen because of their predominantly Hattian heritage, because Hattias has such prevalent intolerance toward outsiders. However, there are major differences between the native Hattians and the Heldannic Knights which now inhabit Vanya Bay.

The Hattians are a tough, stoic, taciturn people by and large. Jolly and happy around their family and their own people, they are close-mouthed and inhospitable around strangers and travellers. The Hattians use naming conventions that seem more akin to those of the Antalians or Heldanners, prefer beer to wine, and most importantly are known for their intolerance of outsiders, a trait greatly different from the cosmopolitan and tolerant Thyatians and Kerendans. Though they are accepting of the Heldannic presence in Vanya Bay, there is a barely-noticeable tension between them, as the Order has grown away from the original tenets of its founding over eighty years ago. However, the Hattians here cannot and should not be generalised as hate-mongering isolationists. The events of the Crown War, as well as recent influxes of Davanian refugees to Hattias, have slowly begun to bring about changes in attitude toward outsiders here. Davanian refugees are strangely absent in Vanya Bay, however, as the Heldannic Order views their enemies abroad with outright hostility.

The Heldannic Knights here, for their part, are not the bloodthirsty conquerors that many people of the Known World would make them out to be. The horrific Inquisition and its aftermath led to drastic changes within the Order, as Vanya herself initiated much-needed reform within her Knights. As the Order has built a solid reputation for the integrity and reliability of its banking operations, Vanya Bay may soon become a financial centre for all of Hattias and beyond. The Order also services the pilgrimages that many of Vanya's faithful take to her distant grave in Davania, and has recently opened its port to the pilgrims, joining Southpoint and Vinton in this extremely lucrative practice.