The Heartland

This is the land Valdor and his immediate successors conquered, where the great hero and his followers fought their inhuman masters. Monuments and memorials still stand at some of these places to commemorate Valdor’s victories – often a statue of Valdor made from gold melted down from Drindrian finery and coinage – and the nearby residents, proud to live in proximity to such reminders of the past, make sure these monuments and memorials are well tended.

The Heartland is a land of long winters and dense pine forests. It’s less populous than the Middlemarch; nearly every family living here can trace its lineage back to the time of Valdor’s uprising against the Drindrish. The Heartland contains five duchies, each named after one of Valdor’s lieutenants, although only three of the families can trace their lineage to those famous men – the other two lines ended during the time of the usurpers, the False Emperor and False Heir, early in Valdoria’s history. The capital city of Revanna is independent of these duchies.

The Duchy of Athael: The southernmost province in Valdoria, the Duchy of Athael is famous for its woodwork and leather goods, especially its finely-worked armor. It’s one of the few provinces in Valdoria where fighting still happens on a regular basis, since every winter barbarians from the Crumble cross the ice and raid the towns and villages located near the Colossus of the South.

The Duchy of Jotoun: Located on the coast of the Western Ocean, the Duchy of Jotoun is famous for the triremes made in the port of Frysia, which is the northernmost port of call for sea captain sailing out of Elweir. It’s also the location of Valdor’s final battle with the Drindrish, which took place on the coast at place now called the Bloody Shore because the pebbles there glimmer dark red.

The Duchy of Ortella: Located across the Strait of Tears from Drindria, Ortella is still infamous, even after centuries, as being the place where the False Emperor, Friedrick, ruled before he usurped the rightful Emperor. Sometimes stories come from the far southern reaches of this duchy about strange creatures that wash up on the shore. Most people assume these creatures come from Drindria.

The Duchy of Sigmark: The Duchy of Sigmark, on the coast of the Smoldering Sea, is famous for its many small port towns, and infamous for supporting Friedrick Ortella when he usurped the throne. It’s said Sigmars still hold themselves superior to other Valdorians, for their namesake was Valdor’s strong right hand. Whatever the truth of this, Sigmars are indeed arrogant.

The Duchy of Vaeland: The only landbound duchy in the Heartland, Vaeland stands along the overland trade route for caravans traveling to Revanna from the Middlemarch and Frontier. It’s famous for its temple of the Seven, the largest temple outside of Revanna, which supposedly was the starting point for many of Erebos’s travels in the world of men.

In the period of calamity that followed Valdor’s murder, one of its priests claimed he received a visitation from Erebos in which the Far-Traveler promised to return to the world… and when he did he would once again begin his travels from that temple. Since then the priests have maintained a small lodge, where a fire always burns in the hearth, solely for Erebos’s use.

The Heartland

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