by Carteeg Struve
Population: 182,222 (Human 98%, Hartdar 2%)
Religions: major – Tashrama (green branch), Tashrama (black branch), minor – Tao-Shin
Languages: Common, Dwarven
Trade: Leather, horses, olive oil, fish
Legions: Road Watch, Court Swords, Mounted Cavalry of Sharathen, Watch of the Sea (navy)
Drejor (Drey’-jor) is the sister nation to Trejor and one of the Midland Sovereignties. Also a portion of the nation is under the control of the green Elder Dragon Glastious. The majority of the country is under the direct rule of Queen Luminecei Heymelion.
Life and Society
The population of Drejor outside of Glastious Forest is almost completely human with only some coin dwarf influence. The population inside the forest is impossible to get an accurate count of and is therefore ignored.
Drejor has extensive trading with the Coin Dwarves to the north in Kedaltol, and Trejor to the west. Also Drejor is widely known for the high quality of its horse breeding stock. Until the Falecohvo Ranch in Mauritand gained dominance, Drejor ranches were used to supply the Midland Guard with much of its stock. Although the loss of business with the Midguard dampened part of the economy, demand for the various Drejoran breeds still remains high throughout the lands.
Coastal fishing and the olive oil industries also make up a major part of the nation’s economy. In the city of Gray Drethen, Behsatin Markoinyo is known as one of the land’s more expert leatherworkers. Even with the Midland government’s shift towards Mauritand for horses, Markoinyo still has a lock on leathering.
Although society is well developed throughout most of the country, whether in the large cities in the west near the shore or in the sparser towns in Drejor’s heartland, towards the east much of the style of living is different. In Glastious Forest, the Green Elder Dragon who gave the forest its name hides within the trees. Animals, mobile plants, fey, and other races including humanoids take shelter under the canopy. However it is not a peaceful existence. The towns living near the forest experience a constant watch as Glastious’ followers raid them and travelers of the neighboring roads. Locals of the towns refer to themselves as the borderlands, making a parallel between their own existence stopping the forest from spreading with those who live on the borders of the north and south of the Midlands, on the edge with barbaric creatures who wish to harm the stability of Midland society. As time has gone on, that view which likely had been born as a simply point of irony is now seen by many as a reality. Both sides of this conflict realize one thing however. The state of small continual raids by both sides into the others cannot go on forever. Soon major war will break.
With Glastious’ forest dominating the eastern landscape, the Tashrama has a heavy presence in Drejor, but with no method available to safely or accurately count the population living within the woods, gauging its strength is difficult. Outside of the forest, there are scarce few who have begun to preach the return of the “true gods.” This Tao-Shin faith is very small currently, and many see it as a variation on the practices of the Church of the Divine Ladder (Tashrama) although those of the Tao-Shin claim to be reviving a faith of old.
Excluding years when nobles war over a vacant throne, the monarchy of Drejor has a long-standing chain of kings and queens that go back to long before the Drowning. Queen Luminecei (LG female Midlander human noble 12/sorcerer 1) rules both Drejor and the capital city of Sharathen. All other towns and cities elect their own mayor by whatever method that settlement sees fit for itself. City and town issues are supposed to handle local affairs by themselves, but Luminecei has developed a habit of micromanaging things that catch her attention, believing her can solve problems faster on her own than those more directly affected by the situation. Much to the frustrations of many mayors, the Queen has proven herself to be very effective and capable of doing just that.
A standing army is made of up a purely volunteer force, however in the past there have been cases where a draft was imposed during times of crisis. The last time this occurred, during the anarchy following the Days of Darkness, foreigners passing through Drejor were also impressed into service. Since then, the draft has never been imposed. Most who enter the service simply enlist, but for wealthier families, military training is available at several schools. Those who graduate with high enough marks are instantly given ranks as officers.
Several special branches within the army also exist. The Road Watch keeps Stonewatch Road, the major route between Sharathen and the east, clear of the expanding Glastious Forest. The Court Swords act as her own personal bodyguards and agents. The Mounted Cavalry of Sharathen is a large force of mounted soldiers who receive as much praise from the local population as the Midland Guard. The Watch of the Sea is the naval force that protects the waters off the Drejori shoreline. Of these branches, only the Road Watch and the Watch of the Sea allow newly enlisted soldiers into their ranks.
Magic and Mysticism
Those who practice arcane arts are seen by many in Drejor as useful, but their help is as often accompanied by a gnashing of teeth as often as praise. To many Drejori, magic is a venture into the unknown and the unknown is not to be fully trusted.
Opinions of divine magic vary widely. There are some who see the black branch of the Tashrama to the west as a group willing to assist others in need, but then they see the creeping threat of the green branch’s forest within their own borders. Most Drejori look at the newly energized Tao-Shin as a fringe cult not worth their attentions, but lately many herbalists have been slowly turning to the Tao-Shin for guidance.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
The largest feature noted by most in Drejor is the Glastious Forest. In earlier days, the Stonya Woods was much smaller and safe to walk through. Now with the Elder Green and his followers, only those who desire to serve the dragon may enter safely. The forest also expanded greatly in size after the Days of Darkness when Glastious struck back at the minions of Chaos by literally re-growing the forest from dust and rock. As of 421 AD, the forest takes up almost a fifth of Drejor’s area with smaller but still sizable parts in neighboring Guiteger. Many servants of the queen spend their time along Stonewatch Road doing what they can to keep the forest from overtaking the major traffic route between Drejor and Guiteger’s capitals. Often military patrols accompany tree trimmers and animal hunters in efforts to keep the trade route safe.
Deep in the early times of Adlatum, the nation of Trejor stretched from what is now Sakkaras down to Drejor. But that time was short lived. Before the unified period, the land was divided by a variety of warlords. A few years after the fighting was quelled, Drejor succeeded into its own nation. The reason for the division is know only known as a legend whose authenticity is questionable at best. A short summary of story is as follows.
In the ancient days before the Drowning, Trejor was originally covered by a number of warlord led tribes. This warfare lasted for centuries as the ground continued to soak in the blood. According to legend, the son and daughter of the Roanj Tribe chief came upon a sinkhole in the middle of the night. Both were swallowed up. When they came to, they found themselves in an old temple long buried beneath the earth. Before them stood three figures: an older man in armor of unknown design, a scribe with a closed tome, and a beautiful woman with eyes of a serpent. They brought before them a bow and arrow made of a strange metal. Even the string of the bow itself seemed to be made of this brilliant substance, yet it was shown to bend but never break.
“These are yours to forge a nation and unify these lands,” said the scribe. “But you each have a choice.”
“We three represent three paths you may walk, and may guide your people by,” said the armored man.
“Not one of us will lead you to a life of ease. No such path exists,” said the woman. “But great things may be had still.”
The scribe stepped forward and gave the boy the bow and the girl the arrow. “If you both choose a single path, then in time peace will reign for Ages in the manner for which you set. One for the good of all, one for the strength of your own aims, and one to allow each of your nation to choose and live as they see fit. But if you choose differently, then division will be had and nothing can be promised.”
The girl made to confer with her brother, but the boy had made his mind. “I choose the good of all,” he said, and the armored man gave a warm smile to him. “Nothing can be more important than that, even if the individuals, even I, must share hardship.” The eyes of the gods turned to the girl.
After a moment of thought, she said, “I choose the fourth path. It is not right for gods to force mortals to chose only between them, whether for all, for self, or for freedom. To do so is a detriment to all three. I will accept your gift to help my people, but my path is chosen.” And she turned and walked away.
The brother was dismayed, but in his heart he believed he had chosen what was best. He learned the path of the armored man, and met up with his sister at a tunnel’s opening. Hurt was felt between them, but they put it aside for the betterment of their people. However the divide did not ever heal completely.
In time the two came to lead their tribe as one, but often disagreements arose. Also never was the starmetal arrow fired from the starmetal bow. He used his own arrows, and she used her own bow. Never did the bow break, and always the arrow was retrieved. In time, through both war and wisdom, the warring people were unified. But only for a short while.
There were times where she believed that under specific circumstances immoral acts which only resulted in a better end were justified. He disagreed and believed it soiled the ideals they were aiming for. As disagreements continued, the people began to divide with them. The new nation swiftly split into two, Trejor and Drejor, as the sister took half of the country east.
Although forever divided, the nations of Trejor and Drejor remained surprisingly close. With the ability for each country to choose its own way, the disagreements that divided the people as one were no longer. Respect for each other continued, but the ability for each to make up their own laws appeared key in their sustained peace. In the following centuries, Drejor took Trejor’s lead and started heavy trade with the Hartdar dwarves of Kedaltol to the north. In time, the dwarves were even hired to build the royal palace in Sharathen.
Throughout the centuries, a number of royal families took power. Sometimes the succession of dynasties happened when one line perished without successor. Other times there were political coups. But even in the worst cases where civil wars erupted, the nation always healed.
The bloodiest conflict for the royal throne lasted for a full century from 112 PD to 2 PD. The war began when King Rodeli was murdered by a masked assassin. When his son Phinio was in the middle of his own coronation, the capital of the Court Swords Logusha Heratecin noticed Phinio was sporting an injury to his arm in the identical location where he slashed at the assassin before he escaped. Enraged the capital ran the traitorous son moments before the crown was placed on his head. Immediately, Heratecin was killed by his own men, but not before he could explain his actions. With reason or not, Drejor’s throne was without heir. The noble families began to ally with each other into multiple factions. When no one family gained majority support, secret plots began to remove competition. When the plots were no longer secret, skirmishes broke out in the streets. After the span of three years, full civil war took the nation. The War of Houses had begun.
As time went on the list of houses vying for control shifted. Those who controlled each noble house changed, and even minor houses that supported another changed allegiances. As the Canon War raged over the same period, Drejor assisted where it could. But most houses kept their best fighters in Drejor for the War of Houses. Even away near the front against the minotaurs, it was not unheard of for soldiers from different houses to attempt to kill each other while in the midst of a battle with the bull-men. For that reason many commanders in the Canon War did what they could to keep Drejorans from enemy houses apart.
The last seven years of the War of Houses was a period of cohesion for the country. Only three contenders remained. In 4 PD, the field narrowed further when agents working for one of the other two houses murdered house matriarch Lady Vivaya Quiral. With only two contenders remaining, Drejor at last had a prayer the conflict would end.
And end it did when in 2 PD, when contenders Lord Madred Heratecin and Lady Emecia Heymelion agreed to a compromise. Both of older years, neither expected to win the throne for themselves. Instead the Lord and Lady agreed to marry their respective granddaughter and grandson. Any resulting child would then be the ruler a reunified Drejor. The fighting stopped for the first time in over a century, and the celebration like no other was planned.
The ceremony and the celebration covered all of Drejor and even some of the neighboring countries who were sometimes affected by the nearby fighting. The wedding of Roric Heymelion and Pharaceilia Heratecin spanned the entire day, and it also lasted into the later hours when the greatest tragedy of Drejor befell them.
The great wave of the Drowning struck Adlatum.
Most of those at the outside celebration were swept away in the currents. Several noble houses that had spent 110 years trying to survive the war were wiped out. Roric himself was killed, and Pharaceilia was lost. Even the great arrow of legend Faithfinder could not be found although the palace suffered less damage than most. After the water receded, the land was in ruin. It is said that not a single surviving Drejoran capable of speech refuse to curse all gods of the heavens. But slowly, the people tried to rebuild.
Luck came to Drejor five years later when Pharaceilia was found wandering the land. She awoke from the devastation with no memory of herself or who she was. Once returned to Sharathen, she confessed some time after she began her wanderings she had given birth to a child, but being poor with no way to care for the boy she put it up for adoption. Believing that Pharaceilia had an affair with Roric prior to the wedding, a search was conducted to relocate the nation’s rightful king. In the meantime Pharaceilia was declared Regent, much to the young girl’s dismay for her memory never healed. It would be fifteen more years before the boy was tracked down to a family who had traveled into the mountains to the southeast in order to escape the possibility of more waters. The young man, named Solios by his adoptive parents, was already wed and father of twins. Soon he was returned to Drejor and crowned king.
The nation continued to rebuild, and relations with neighbors were restarted. The old alliance with Trejor was rekindled when in 53 AD, a blood tie between the lost Trejoran royal family of Durandae and the Drejoran noble house of Durde was found. Count Kalis Durde departed his beloved homeland for its neighbor and changed his name to Kalis Durandae prior to becoming Trejor’s new king.
When word of the Tashrama faith grew in later times, the Heymelion line chose to give the faithful the benefit of the doubt unless trouble began to brew. It was soon learned that a powerful spirit connected to the faith resided in the forest, and it appeared to hold the forest completely in its control. It would be decades before they learned the spirit was bound in the form of a statue. It was decided that people have the right to worship as they will, and they let the followers of the Tashrama free pass into the wood to live as they wished so long as the people in the nearby towns were allowed to live their own lives. And although occasional stories of odd happenings stirred about from time to time, not much heed was ever given to the forest. In truth, the spirit was the Green Elder Dragon whose soul was bound inside of a stone statue in the forest. Although unable to move, he could project his will throughout the trees. Only those who were the most faithful came to learn the truth.
During the Days of Darkness, everything was put into a state of panic and high tension. It is known that the king himself had apparently launched an assault against the invading forces of Chaos during the conflict. Unfortunately all memory of this ruler of Drejor was destroyed. Even the entire army launched against the evil was wiped out. All that remained outside of the capital was a far-reaching field of armor, horse equipment, and the royal crown. By some cruel act of Chaos, even all written records of the king who ruled from 374 to 383 AD were wiped clean. Three months later, after swiftly descending into madness, Queen Lenyan took her own life. A regent would be appointed to run matters for the next decade as the young Luminecei Heymelion grew from a newborn into a beautiful young woman. On her nineteenth birthday, she was crowned queen.
During the period of unrest and rebuilding from the attacks by the Chaos creatures, new problems arose. Several towns and a small city were swallowed up by Glastious Forest. During the Days of Darkness the forest exploded in size and took over much land previously settled. In the towns newly bordering the forest, people began to cut the trees down in order to build new homes for the homeless refugees trying to begin their lives again. The followers of Glastious responded by openly attacking the settlements. Regent Moresi, Luminecei’s second cousin, tried to stop the conflict by sending representatives into the forest to negotiate with the cult. The lead negotiator returned with his fingers cut off and a message. “Whatever the circumstance is for your kind, it matters not to me. Trim back the forest, and this is what I feel. This forest is not of Drejor. Remain distant and live.” These words did not sit well with either the representative of Lord Montegron, who was in the process of unifying the Midlands and was present to advise the regent on matters. Still, both in the end recognized the lack of strength Drejor had in its current state and chose to heed the green’s words.
The situation changed when new trees began to grow near the border, expanding the forest. The nearby towns took this as a slow incursion by the dragon and hacked the forest line back. Every so often during the night other beings would raid the towns, and so the fighting continued, albeit sporadically.
As Montegron’s power in the region grew, the Lord Sovereign suggested Drejor post a strong line of sentries within and near the towns, and also along the roads running abreast of the forest leading east to their trading partners in Guiteger. Over time incidents occurred: men venturing only a short way into the wood and disappearing, animal raids, etc. But also there were responses: tree clearing, forest fires, and also massive hunts just within the woods.
Queen Luminecei is keeping a very close watch on the forest, and she sends periodic updates to the Great Lord Sovereign Montegron in Karsuhon on the situation. She had heard the spirit of Glastious was insane and recognized that trying to predict the being’s actions would be an effort in futility. She has set up a horse mounted segment of the military known as the Road Watch to keep the major road route between the capital Sharathen and the east clear of the expanding forest. After Montegron exposed the power of Tashrama to be the Elder Dragons, she is also wary of the Black Elder Dragon residing across the border in Drejor. The Black Elder Xyvren was now known to have been helping the people of her sister nation, especially in economic affairs, but she has grown to distrust the Elder Dragons. With King Tojra of Trejor seeming to be taking a more pro-Tashrama stance in the recent years, she has begun to worry. She herself has long since cast her nation’s lot in with the Sovereignties, and she is well aware of the mounting friction between the two powers.
- A group of nobles worry that Luminecei has not yet married or had an heir yet, even though she is nearing forty-years old. Their Queen seems more concerned with political affairs rather than that of bloodlines and families. Unless they find a way to convince her to beget a child, the line of Heymelion will end with her, and the potential for another noble war will dramatically increase.
- Two men from Gray Drethen visiting Sharathen were all too happy to oblige a woman they did not know who told to them to “go jump off of a cliff.” Their bodies were found in the rocks near the Trejor border.
- Several horses used by the Road Watch had spontaneously thrown their riders and fled into the woods. Three caravans have since claimed wild horses of monstrous size had attacked them on Stonewatch Road.
Glastious Forest (Population Unknown): The massive forest is made up of wild and enormous trees that take up almost a fifth of the nation’s land. Effectively outside of Queen Luminecei’s jurisdiction, the forest is ruled by the green Elder Dragon Glastious. The dragon is frozen in the form of a green tinted statue in the center of the woods, but he also has the ability to control the land, the trees, and maybe even the inhabitants himself. It is known a wide variety of creatures worship the dragon and attack the nearby populace on his orders. Many believe the dragon to also be insane.
Gray Drethen (or Grey Drethen) (Small City 10,034): South of the main trade route cutting across the middle of Drejor, Gray Drethen is a small city nestled in the rolling misty hills of the heartland. Ever since the Days of Darkness, a soft light fog has covered the meadows and the hills in the region. The sun has been partially obscured, but the diffuse light and the moist air continues the land to prosper as it had when the sun was able to shine strong. Since then Drethen has been called Gray Drethen, although the mood of the people does not seem to match its new name. In fact over time, the city’s people have been proving themselves to be more and more generous to both each other and to those from other places.
Mainly arcing through a winding valley, the small city is home to many businesses and even a school of research. Two businesses stand out with the most renowned. One is that of Behsatin Markoinyo, master leathersmith. The half-dwarf master is known for his skills, especially in armor and horse accessories. Queen Luminecei herself has been a client of his. The other business is the Ifama Olive Oil Co. owned by Evereyen Rogosh. Rogosh is also owner of many of the olive groves scattered across the country. His business is extensive enough that he even ships to Etlarn on rare occasions.
Sharathen (Metropolis 46,642): The capital of the nation, Sharathen rests on a hillside that sweeps down and away towards the distant shoreline. When the city was destroyed in the Drowning, the only building to survive with minimal damage was the dwarven made structure that was the royal palace. The large edifice of a building was made of strong stone similar in appearance to marble, but with the exception of having a light violet sheen to it. After King Solios came to power, he hired the dwarves once again, but this time to rebuild the entire city. Honored by the offer, and the promised funds, the Hartdar set to work joining human masons already in progress. By 98 AD, Sharathen was a city of strong stone and skilled artistic craftsmanship. A common jest among people says “If the Drowning comes again, Sharathen will either stand or be washed into the sea as one whole solid piece.”