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VERTILOCH (Kingdom of)

Location: South central portion of the floating continent of Alphatia, east of Vertiloch, south of Bettellyn, west of Randel, and north of Arogansa. HW

Area: 49,384 sq. mi. (127,905 sq. km.).

Population: 620,000, including Ashar (pop. 15,000). [Population figures are tentative, pending census. Ed.]

Languages: Alphatian (Vertilian dialect).

Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Vertiloch mints no other coins.

Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher. Slaves are counted as the property of the owner and the product of their labour is taxed as income for the owner.

Government Type: Monarchy, member of the Alphatian Empire.

Industries: Formerly government, currently subsistence agriculture.

Important Figures: None currently (Eriadna now resides in Alphas'ar).

Flora and Fauna: See Alphatia.

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

Description by Gerta Knutsdotter.

Vertiloch is the location of the former capital of the Alphatian Empire. Vertiloch is a long, narrow kingdom set astride the Greenlake River, with a large bog (the Haunted Swamp, which overall is larger than the Malpheggi Swamp) in the south and lush landscapes in the north. Alphatia's former imperial capital, Sundsvall, is now a ruin. Vertiloch's population seems to have declined considerably as a result of either the earthquakes or the apocalyptic cataclysm that came in its wake. It seems that until recently the population was three times higher than it is now. Many seem to have been killed in the destruction of Sundsvall and the aftermath, but others simply seem to have succumbed as a result of famine.

This famine seems to have resulted because, although Vertiloch's lands are good, set on both sides of the banks of the Greenlake River, the kingdom seems to have been designed as a showcase of Alphatian power rather than put to agricultural use. The lands are very carefully sculpted and decorated, but as a result the kingdom was apparently not self-sufficient, but rather imported food and imperial tribute from elsewhere to sustain its prosperity. The source of this seems to have disappeared, and the people of Vertiloch are having a hard time surviving. This is exacerbated by the fact that the kingdom's government, the parts that weren't destroyed when Sundsvall was, relocated to Andaire in Alphas'ar and have concentrated on restoring an imperial government apparatus and capital there, depriving Vertiloch of its traditional authorities. Also, the Alphatians seem to be concentrating on a major build up of expensive skyships and military restructuring, and as a result they have somewhat neglecting relief efforts in Vertiloch and elsewhere.

The kingdom's current administrative centre is the large town (or small city) of Ashar, located not far from the ruins of Sundsvall at a fork in the Greenlake River. But Eriadna, Alphatia's Empress, is also the Queen of Vertiloch in addition to ruling Alphas'ar, and she spends almost all her time at the latter kingdom. Ashar's population includes some refugees from Sundsvall, but most of the wealthiest and most prominent survivors who had the resources to do so seem to have moved to Andaire, along with the imperial guard and other troops which would otherwise be a means of reviving Vertiloch's economy as a result of the commerce that their presence would generate.

[Finally we come to my own homeland-the greatest nation of Alphatia, the crown jewel. How the mighty have fallen... Today Vertiloch is a sad shadow of past glories, the capital of Sundsvall in ruins, the land ravaged by the war, and famine plaguing our once-fair nation. Though the empire was rescued by the Immortals, a large portion of Vertiloch has died and likely will not live again. My nation is still quite beautiful as many of the empire's artistic achievements still grace much it, though our greatest works were lost with Sundsvall, and so what remains is more of a monument to what was lost to those of us who remember. That way, what has survived is tragic rather than joyful, and we find that we cannot appreciate these except as memorials of our former splendour, so hailing the inevitable dusk as our nation falls apart. It is difficult to express these emotions, so I'd better not try. One of the greatest sorrows is that our very queen, Empress Eriadna, seems so oblivious to the hardships of the people of Vertiloch and has done little to aid us. Many, in fact, have left our nation for newly-founded Alphas'ar, but there are still those of us who love our nation too much to just let it become a victim of the war and resettle to build anew in Alphas'ar. I just hope that the empress changes her mind. Aritmanes.]

Don't Miss/Do Miss

Sundsvall, which the Alphatians called the City Built by Magic, was built at the site of the Landfall of the Alphatians on Mystara according to their oldest histories, and was the imperial capital since that time, for over two millennia. It was a vast, sprawling metropolis and wondrous city, with the streets laid out in the pattern of a spider web, with the imperial palace at its centre. Given its size and the apparent number of its buildings, it seems to have had a population larger than that of Corisa or Tarthis, or even Dharsatra in Shahjapur. Depending upon which version of Alphatian history one believes, it was either destroyed in an epic earthquake around the time the sun went dark, or levelled by Alphatia's enemies during a major war. Squatters and scavengers, as well as monsters, are known to infest the ruins of Sundsvall, picking through the rubble for valuables. Apparently some Alphatians think Sundsvall should be rebuilt, while others want to keep it as it is, and make it a hallowed site, a sort of monument to the dead. Given Alphatia's magical construction methods, the more common buildings could be reconstructed quickly, but it would be impossible to restore the massive and glorious monuments of twenty centuries of construction that were destroyed. Given this the Alphatians seem to have decided to make Andaire their current and future capital, the new showpiece of their empire. A new and different Sundsvall may be built in time, but things will obviously never be the same, as change is the only thing that time guarantees.

This does make Sundsvall a wonderful site to study, and I learned much about the Alphatians in my explorations of the ruins-including, I believe, things they would have preferred that I not discover about them (having found some seemingly lost libraries with stores of knowledge). Indeed, when I first inquired about visiting the site, they forbade it, and I had to use my skills as an explorer to sneak in covertly and avoid the occasional patrols which police the site in an effort to clear out the squatters and scavengers. These patrols seem to have some other purpose as well, being particularly heavy around certain areas, but I was unable to discover what secrets they might be protecting. Because of this, I would caution those who wish to explore these ruins for themselves, as the Alphatians seem very hostile to such inquiries, and given what happened here I must say I understand their feelings. But the demands of scholarship outweigh such considerations. But you should be aware of another danger as well-according to the squatters I talked with, mysterious disappearances are common here, for some unknown reason people have been known to vanish, never to be seen again. These might be tall tales based on disappearances that occurred in the wake of patrol sweeps and roundups, but the scavengers swore that something more was happening, that sometimes their companions would enter a building but then never emerge, and not ever be found, even though no patrols were anywhere nearby.