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WESTROURKE (Exarchate 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. SD

Area: 119,344 sq. mi. (309,100 sq. mi.).

Population: 75,000, including 25,000 in the capital of Newkirk.

Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian and Redstone dialect both common), Alphatian (Hillvale 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 quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 20% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (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. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.

Government Type: Dominion, member of the Thyatian Empire with home-rule.

Industries: Military, salt mining, agriculture (truck vegetables).

Important Figures: Thrainkell Firestorm (Exarch, human, male, Pr(cr)12 of Vanya), Holva Firestorm (Exarcha, 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 Wrath of the Immortals war. However it is still one of the largest territories, and also one of the most stable and prosperous.

After a period of experimentation Westrourke seems to have settled into its position as part of the Empire of Thyatis. As an exarchate it is a dominion with considerable home rule that follows imperial foreign policy. Imperial agents collect trade taxes on behalf of the empire and Thrainkell Firestorm, with the new title exarch, contributes funds and soldiers to the imperial legions. 20% of the total governmental income (inclusive of any sub-domains Firestorm may permit) goes to the central government in Thyatis City, this in addition to the commercia mentioned above. 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.

The Land

Westrourke is blessed with a wide variety of terrain types and towns. The exarchate 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 exarchate and by far the largest settlement in the dominion. 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 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 its 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, and is protected by a series of fortifications (Gund's Tower, Battleford, South Creek, and Tromblekeep) warding it from invaders from the east.

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. Many military excursions have been 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 lightly inhabited, with the main settlements being at the lighthouse of Lag and the fortified settlements of Axelkeep and Eriksen Tower.

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 frequent raids by 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 centred on a village, and each baron controls land within about 24 miles of their capital. 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, with some surplus for export to the mainland.

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 was formerly the northernmost dominion of the exarchate, near the border with Helskir.

The newest addition to Westrourke, the Helskir Reaches, lies beyond that. It consists in a large section near the northern tip of the Isle of Dawn formerly disputed between Helskir and Westrourke. Firestorm's new land grant policy has spurred settlement in this region. The policy has been successful so far, and Firestorm is considering applying it to other areas of Westrourke as well.

The People

Thyatians and Ostlanders make up the majority of the population, though it is not uncommon to notice Westrourkites of Alphatian descent. The people are rough and ready, not uncultured but also used to the hardships of frontier life, and skilled with a weapon. Most also have one at hand at all times, due to the dangers found in the area.

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 Final Alphatian War. In fact, Westrourke's prosperity is dependent upon Thyatis' own recovery. Should the Crown War undo that, the hard won gains of Westrourke may disappear as well, and many of the more insightful inhabitants of the exarchate realize this.

Recent History

The Exarchate of Westrourke was conquered in AC 1007 during the Final Alphatian War, a fact that took Thyatis by surprise. Helskir treacherously switched sides, allowing Alphatians to invade the duchy from the north while General Martigan of the Alphatians spearheaded an assault onto Newkirk itself. The battle was long and bloody, but the Alphatians outnumbered the Thyatians and eventually overwhelmed the defenders. Duke Donegal Firestorm gave his life defending his people, allowing many defenders to escape the doomed city and sail to Thyatis.

His son, Thrainkell was one of those who escaped, and he was named Duke of Westrourke when Thyatis recovered the land in late AC 1009. But the emperor did not return full control to Thrainkell Firestorm. First, the entire southern peninsula between the Gulf of Westrourke and Seawolf Bay was turned into the County of Redstone and given to the emperor's daughter Stefania and her husband Anaxibius. Second, a large part of the northern territory was disputed between Westrourke and the Kingdom of Helskir until the recent treaty. Still, Thrainkell held Emperor Thincol in high regard and accepted the decision-but he was ambitious, and when Thincol died, he let his ambitions get the best of him.

He was ready to make a bid for independence for his dominion, but sided with the other rulers of the Isle of Dawn nations in remaining loyal to the empire during the signing of the treaty of 1012. Since then, the ambitious Firestorm seems to have settled down, outgrowing the impetuousness of his youth. He has diverted his dreams to building Westrourke into a strong and prosperous member of the Thyatian family of nations.

Don't Miss

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.