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Westrourke (Grand Duchy of)
Location: Northern section of the Isle of Dawn, south of Helskir, east of the province of Dunadale and north of the province of Redstone.
Area: 97,272 sq. mi.
Population: 55,000, including 25,000 in the capital of Newkirk.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Thyatian dialect official, Redstone dialect is also common), Alphatian Common (East Portage dialect).
Coinage: Thyatian Standard: Emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Alphatian coins are also very common: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 25% income tax, collected 4 times a year (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). 5% sales tax on all items except food and clothing.
Government Type: Independent Grand Duchy with formality ties to the Empire of Thyatis.
Industries: Agriculture, armour, dies and pigments, and lumber.
Important Figures: Thrainkell Firestorm (Duke, human, male, P(cr)12 of Vanya), Holva Firestorm (Duchess, human, female, T13).
Flora and Fauna: Standard for its climate, notably herds of sheep and goats. Dangerous monsters include goblinoids and bandits that are common throughout the Isle of Dawn.
Further Reading: M5 - Talons of Night, Dawn of the Emperors boxed Set, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3.
Description: by Titia Solenius
Westrourke was once the largest dominion on the Isle of Dawn, but has suffered severe cuts since the Wrath of the Immortals war. Despite this, it is still one of the largest territories, and is by far the most stable and prosperous.
Like Helskir, Westrourke is an independent nation with formality ties to the Empire of Thyatis. It has its own military, and none of the taxes collected ever make their way to imperial coffers. Still, Westrourke has seats in the Senate and can command Thyatian Legions to help defend its borders on top of its own military. What this spells for the future of our Empire, especially since other nobles are starting to get jealous of this prestige, remains to be seen.
Westrourke is blessed with a wide variety of terrains and towns. In fact, the Archduke has divided his land into several lesser dominions.
The Duchy of Newkirk is the Duke's own seat of power. Here lies the city of Newkirk, capital of the entire Grand Duchy. The borders of the duchy are delimited by the Southern Kauth Hills, a light forest to the east, and the grasslands to the north. The Bay of Newkirk is obviously the western border. In fact, the entire coastline is one large cliff dropping into the waters below, giving the duchy an excellent means of defence from sea reavers of Ostland. The city of Newkirk is renown for the excellent chain and platemails, and the Legion often orders in bulk from their armourers.
The Dust Reaches is a large plateau located about 30 kilometres (20 miles) off the shores north of the Duchy of Newkirk. This wasteland is overflowing with goblinoids, particularly kobolds and orcs. In fact, many military excursions are sent to clear them out, but so far with no success. Between the plateau and the Bay of Newkirk are the Sveikassli Woods. This region is uninhabited.
North of the Dust Reaches you enter the County of Viksdalen. Contained within its borders are Glotta Forests and the Fyresvatn Bogs. Viksdalen is a major trade town as all overland caravans from the north must pass through the town to get to Newkirk or beyond. Viksdalen also has a strong military presence, mainly due to the constant raids of orcs from the Dust Reaches or lizardmen from the Fyresvatn Bogs.
Spreading out toward the north and west, around the Bay of Westrourke, are the baronies of Blido, Guddal, Tromsheim, and Ytre Ystrebo. In fact, each barony is nothing more than a small village of which the baron controls about 30 kilometres of the land around it (20 miles). The area is well forested and home to many lumberers and woodsmen. The plains are also fertile and produce just enough food to keep Westrourke self-sufficient.
The County of Nordvik is the largest dominion of Westrourke. This county encompasses all the land around the Erdals Fjellet River as well as the Geittinden Mountains. A small gold mine within the mountains provides some income for the dominion, but in fact its main industry is the production of dyes and pigments. Nordvik is the northernmost dominions of the Grand Duchy, near the border to Helskir.
Thyatians and Ostlanders make up the vast majority of the population. Alphatians used to be common, but many have fled after being faced with intense prejudice by Thyatians upset at the deaths caused during the Wrath of the Immortals. Still, it is not uncommon to notice Westrourkites of Alphatian descent.
Most Westrourkites are proud of their new-found independence and believe that they will be spared should Thyatis start another war with the New Alphatian Confederate Empire. In fact, should there be such a war, Duke Firestorm would probably rush to the rescue of his former Empire, despite what his people believe.
The Grand Duchy of Westrourke was completely conquered in AC 1007 during the Wrath of the Immortals, a fact which took Thyatis by surprise. It seems that Helskir secretly switched sides and invaded the Duchy from the north while General Martigan of the Alphatians spearheaded an assault onto Newkirk itself after conquering Redstone Castle. The battle was long and bloody, but the Alphatians outnumbered the Thyatians. Duke Donegal Firestorm gave his life defending his people, allowing them to escape the doomed city.
His son, Thrainkell was one of those who escaped, and he was named Duke of Westrourke when Thyatis finally reconquered the land in AC 1009. But the Emperor did not return full control to Thrainkell Firestorm. First, the entire southern half of Westrourke was turned into the province of Redstone and given to the Emperor's daughter Stefania. Second, a large part of the northern territory was acknowledged as belonging to the Kingdom of Helskir. Still, Thrainkell held Emperor Thincol in high regard and accepted the decision.
In AC 1012, after the death of Emperor Thincol, Duke Firestorm announced his bid for independence, and Emperor Eusebius granted it to him shortly after the Isle of Dawn Treaty with Thothia. The current allegiance to Thyatis is merely a formality.
Now that he has his own nation, Duke Firestorm has given some attention to the matter of vengeance against General Martigan. He has placed a 250,000 lucins (gp) reward for bringing Martigan to him alive, and many bounty hunters have since flocked to Newkirk. Unfortunately, it seems that Martigan can no longer be found in his county in Norwold. In fact, he seems to have disappeared off the face of Mystara. But this has not stopped the Duke's desire for revenge.
Westrourke has a magnificent signalling system all along its coast, starting from Finnegar's Watch in the Geittinden Mountains all the way down to the city of Newkirk. Several towers dot the coast every 100 miles (150 kilometres) or so. Within each of these towers are large, magical chimneys that can send a pillar of smoke into the sky. The smoke signal is easily visible by the occupant of the next tower, who can pass it on down the chain. Thanks to this method, a message can quickly reach the capital about an invading fleet. Just as importantly, all the local inhabitants can also see the immense smoke clouds and will rush to safety. This saves the bother of sending out messengers to each village to warn of an impending attack.