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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: 119,344 sq. mi. (309,101 sq. km.).
Population: 75,000, including 25,000 in the capital of Newkirk.
Languages: Thyatian (Redstone dialect), Alphatian (Hillvale dialect).
Coinage: Emperor (5 gp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Alphatian coins are also very common: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp).
Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 5% imperial sales tax on all goods except food and clothing.
Government Type: Formally a dominion of the Thyatian Empire, which is asserting independence.
Industries: Agriculture, armour, dies and pigments, and lumber.
Important Figures: Thrainkell Firestorm (Grand Duke, human, male, P(cr)12 of Vanya), Holva Firestorm (Grand 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, previous almanacs
Description by Vivianna Romanones.
Once the largest dominion on the Isle of Dawn, Westrourke suffered some territorial loses since the Great War. However it is still one of the largest territories, and also one of the most stable and prosperous.
Westrourke has seats in the senate and can defend its borders with its own forces (classified as auxillia by the imperium), as well as calling on Thyatian legions in time of need.
Westrourke is blessed with a wide variety of terrain types and towns. The grand duchy is divided into several dominions.
The Duchy of Newkirk is the duke's own seat of power. Here lies the city of Newkirk, capital of the grand duchy. The borders of the duchy are bounded 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 renowned for the excellent chain and plate mail, and the legion often orders in bulk from their armourers. This is the best-settled and most developed region of Westrourke.
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 Forest 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 lizard men 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 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 which are exported to Thyatis. Nordvik was formerly the northernmost dominions of the grand duchy, near the border to Helskir.
Thyatians and Ostlanders make up the vast majority of the population. It is not uncommon to notice Westrourkites of Alphatian descent, as Thyatians have never evidenced the racial prejudices found in other lands. Thyatians don't typically blame their fellow citizens for the crimes of other nations.
Most Westrourkites are proud of their growing strength and civilisation and believe that they are entering an era of renewed prosperity, having fully recovered from the devastation of the Great War. In fact, Westrourke's economy is dependent upon Thyatis, and could be hurt badly if events in the empire sever Westrourke's trade with the mainland.
The Grand Duchy of Westrourke was completely conquered in AC 1007 during the Great War, a fact that took Thyatis by surprise. Helskir treacherously switched sides, allowing Alphatians to invade the then 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 won through mass assaults against the outnumbered Thyatian defenders. 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 disputed between Westrourke and 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 through the use of bribery and extortion he falsified records to make it appear that Eusebius had agreed to this in an appendix of the Isle of Dawn Treaty with Thothia. Firestorm went so far as to pay off Titia Solenius (one of several bribes that reporter was discovered to have taken) in order to spread his intrigue in last year's almanac [an error we heartily apologise to our readers for. Ed.].
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 (160 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.