TalMeta writes "Fourth in a series of LGG-style writeups to accompany my map of the Sunelan Coast.
The Kingdom of Zobolfon
By: TalMeta (email@example.com)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
Proper Name: The Shining Kingdom of the West
Ruler: King Benrae III, Magister of Xanasin, High Magister of the Silver Star
Government: Meritocracy (caste based)
Capitol: Xanasin (of the Seven Obelisks)
Major Towns: Bloodine, Caanop, Crystizir, Herrenvolk, Hilin'iru, Jruziti, Nabuul, Naziijir, Naziir, Osir'iru, Pilodiu, Vladiih'ir
Provinces: Seven baronies, ruled by the current baronial family - Norolve (Osir'iru), Lovoron (Crystizir), Valolve (Hilin'iru), Pasyjo Fields (Pilodiu), Surolve (Caanop), Zelfinri (Xanasin), Wesdarr (Bloodine)
Resources: Lumber, livestock, ores (iron, mithral, silver, tin), spices
Coinage: Whale (pp), Sea Lion (gp), Orca (ep), Marlin (sp), Bass (cp)
Population: 3,345,000 (79% human SNm, 9% olve, 8% dwurin, 4% other)
Languages: Suloise, Gray Olven, Niphosian
Alignments: LN, LG, LE, (CG)
Religions: Bralm, Jascar, Lendor, Lydia, Osprem, (Seldarine), Wee Jas
Allies: Sunela, Zofon, Mriduin
Enemies: Osbyle, Niphos
Overview: Zobolfon was originally settled by the Suloise more than 1000 years before the Twin Cataclysms, primarily by lesser nobility looking to get into the sea trade, or to escape the intrigues of the urbanized central Empire.
Zobolfon was declared a Principality in 3980 SD, awarded to the Zumiir family. Contact with the olves of the region was initially peaceful, though they were notoriously close lipped about their southern neighbors. Ebony skinned, copper haired humans (who called themselves Nelaka) already existed in the region, and they fought against the Suloise for a time, before being finally subjugated in 4068.
Rather than enslaving the Nelaka as their ancestors had done farther north, the Zumiir Prince of the time, Ruvis III, granted them the status of freedmen as a gesture of goodwill and noblesse oblige (slavery being out of fashion at the time anyway).
Westreach was established in 4104, a gift from the reigning Prince to his daughter and her husband, a wilderness scout and Ranger of Phyton. Though initially a peaceful and prosperous realm, farmsteads and other settlements along it's southernmost border were often discovered burned or simply empty. Some blamed Nelaka malcontents, but their settlements were as often the target as those of Suloise descent.
Diviners appointed by the Crown indicated that the southern jungles were claimed by a vast nation of olves 'with skin the color of blood', who were sending hochebi mercenaries against the settlements; patrols in the region were strengthened, forts constructed, and in time several such groups were caught in the act and slain.
The first direct contact with the southern olves came in 4190, when one arrived aboard a ship that made landfall in Bloodine. Crewed primarily by Nelaka wearing strange attire, the olve who presented himself before the Baron of Wesdarr was as different from the familiar olves of the region as were the men who served him.
Dressed in bright silks, the tall olve's hands and face were nearly covered in intricate carmine-red tattoos so thick that the true color of his skin was hard to detect.
Through translation magic, the emissary declared himself in the service of Moish, the Lord of this region, and demanded that the Suloise desist from their invasion of his ancestral lands, and furthermore that they begin removing themselves from the region entirely. Having delivered his ultimatum, he turned on his heel and walked out of the baron's presence, returning to his ship, which set sail again southwards immediately.
In the spring of the following year, hochebi attacks on settlements in Westreach nearly tripled, followed by a full on invasion in the beginning of Patchwall. By the end of 4192, Westreach and most of Zobolfon were overrun, and Niphosian ships were prowling the sea lanes attacking Suloise craft at every opportunity.
The Suloise Imperium formally declared war on the Empire of Niphos in 4193. Forty seven years later, after devastating losses on both sides, the Niphosians finally sued for peace, agreeing to cede the lands of Zobolfon and Westreach back to the Suloise, and pay hefty reparations for their 'aggression'. For the next thousand years, the peace held, though piracy and small skirmishes still took place occasionally.
During those times of relative peace, Zobolfon underwent a number of changes. Workers cleared away most of the jungle growth, leaving only the tall roanwood forests that were the domains of the familiar gray olves. The Principality changed hands twice, first to the Nudensi family, then to the Vorle, as each line died out without heirs.
When the Colorless Rain fell in 5094, Zobolfon was the least inundated by refugees of all the Sunelan lands. As a result, when the hochebi resumed their raids in earnest around 5102, she was the hardest hit by the loss of resources and manpower. Niphos declared war on the Sunelans soon afterwards, further complicating matters.
Called upon by Empress Vionne to help defend the Empire, Zobolfon found it very difficult to commit men to the armies aboard when they were so desperately needed at home. It came as little surprise when the war ended in 5128 that the Vorle were stripped of their land and titles and the kingdom granted to Princess Nialle and her husband-consort Admiral Garret Essk.
The peace was again shattered in 5290 when a large army of hochebi, nelakans, and olves crossed the border of Westreach, seizing it in a fortnight. For the next four decades, Zobolfon would struggle along with minimal support from the Empire, finally agreeing to return the lands to Lord Moish in return for peace.
For the next several decades, the Essk princes ruled Zobolfon with an increasingly iron fisted style. Baron Tanthe of Lovoron, locked in a trade war with the Duke of Talos, used his daughter's influence over Prince Drazus II to precipitate a war with Zofon in 5308; when the war went badly, the daughter (who was Prince Drazus' consort) was the only member of her family to survive the Prince's wrath.
Drazus IV married his daughter Emiree to Prince Noen XII of Zofon in 5390, marking the beginning of the close alliance the two lands would share for the next decade. Conspiring together to assassinate their rightful Emperor, they made their move on his coronation day.
While the assassin's blade struck down both the Emperor and his young bride, loyalists to the Exiled Throne managed to smuggle their infant son away into the countryside. Imperial garrisons in both countries quickly revolted, sowing discord in what was now enemy territory, while the two princes moved their own forces against those of their former allies, precipitating the War of Three Crowns.
In the winter of 5444, the war would end in a draw, as each of the local rulers agreed to a Regency Council to raise the child of the child who'd escaped their knives three decades before. Over the next forty years, as each child neared the age of his majority, he would marry, sire a child by a noble daughter (typically one closely related to one of the regents) and then die of some ailment or another; kept drugged their whole lives, it surprised none that such sickly princes seldom lived to mount the Exiled Throne.
In 5480, Osbyle would appoint a new Regent to the Court, one not as corrupt as his supporters had thought. In 5884 his idealism would tear apart the Court of Regency and plunge all the nations back into civil war; Zobolfon made an early attempt at reclaiming the islands of Osbyle for themselves, but conflicts with Zofon and the Niphosian warlords to the south would prevent them from doing much more than crushing Osbyle's ruling class.
By the time Zobolfon would be ready for another try at Osbyle, it would be firmly in the hands of pirates, hochebi, and worse. The Second War of Crowns would officially end in 5531, when Ulin I would assume the Exiled Throne with the support of both Zofon & Zobolfon (Nochet declining to attend and Osbyle in the hands of pirates).
The Essk Princes would maintain their rule for another century or so before falling to an unusual coup. A group previously known only as the Silver Star Cabal would declare themselves the new rulers of the nation after their public assassination of Hemin II and the spectacular demolition of his summer palace outside Xanasin on the 1st of Coldeven, 5661.
The Silver Star Cabal would later reveal themselves as powerful mages and clerics of Wee Jas, Bralm, and Lendor. Under their direction, Zobolfon would be remade into the land it is today, with it's Four Castes and structured society.
Basing their new society around the philosophies of the Mriduin (the lands to the west of the Niphospine Mts.), the populace was divided into four separate castes, namely Penoth, Urbanoth, Milinoth, and Arcanoth. While children tended to remain in the caste of their birth, those of lesser stature were always permitted to test for reassignment, while those of higher caste could typically be lowered only upon conviction of a crime.
Penoth are the peasants, those who toil the land by plow, pick, or ax. Urbanoths are city dwellers and craftsmen, as well as artists. Milinoths are warriors, and Arcanoths are philosophers, mages, and priests. Though it would take another fifty years for their rule to be officially acknowledged by Sunela, the reformation of their society would already be long complete by then.
When war once again erupted with Niphos in 5766, Zobolfon would be put to the first test of their new society under fire. To the amazement of many, Zobolfon emerged from the conflict even stronger than before. The Milinoth caste, especially, trained in the fighting arts of the Mriduin, would prove the equal of the dreaded Sam'uri warriors of Niphos. Moish himself would perish in the final battle of the war, slain by a combination of Zobolfon's fighters and their Arcanoth support.
Intermittent skirmishes along the southern border would dominate the next century, as new warlords vied for Moish's lands and tested the resolve of Zobolfon's forces. Trade with the west would continue, redirecting Zobolfon's focus from maritime to overland trade, and establishing her position as 'Gateway to the West' by means of the Tenari Pass.
When the first ship from the East floundered on Xerbo's Teeth, the two rescued sailors received little attention from the Zobolfon ambassadors, as they were merely sailors. The second delegation, however, was watched most carefully, as they recognized the ascetic nature of their guests immediately.
That the Zobolfon ambassador was among the first targets of the group of Scarlet-clad assassins to make their way over the Hellfurnaces came as no surprise either; should any official alliance between the Kingdom of Shar and the Sunelan Empire ever come to pass, the leaders of Zobolfon already recognize that there will be conflicts between their people and those of the Scarlet Sign.
Conflicts & Intrigues: Niphosian warlords continue to struggle for dominance in the southern jungles, and their conflict frequently spills over the border into Zobolfon. Rouge bands of hochebi and nekala warriors prowl the jungles as well, often seeking service with Zobolfon against their former masters.
Zobolfon's trade with Mriduin has made them numerous enemies, but none so great as Osbyle. The Pirate Kings resent a trade route that they have no power to blockade, and so they stage raids on the cities, towns, and forts that line the coast.
Osprem's Chosen is a group of navigators and ships captains based in Gaqofon, dedicated to expanding trade with Xamaclan and the other nations of the East. Many crewmen aboard these vessels are from Zobolfon, and their mission is to watch for signs of the Scarlet Brotherhood and it's real goals and objectives.
Note: Ancient History, Suel Imperium,