Government: Absolute Monarchy
Ruler: King Matteo II Orodini
Population: 35 000
The Most Serene Republic of Callindria is an island-nation approximately 350 km southwest of Tierra. Callindria is a relatively small island with a population of 45 000. Up until recently Callindria was ruled by the royal house of Kauronna. However, in OIE 570, the ruling house was deposed by the Takaran-backed house of Orodini, who currently rule the island nation. Callindria is famed for its steelwork, especially its swords. The Callindrian Style of fencing originated there.
The island of Callindria proper is a roughly triangular shape approximately 60 km along its longest axis. It is blessed with a mild, warm climate and an overabundance of high quality iron ore. Much of the island is covered in deciduous forest, though a large portion of it has been cut down to feed Callindria's forges. A series of high hills, known commonly as The Shield Wall, stretch from the northern point of the island along the eastern coast, splitting the island roughly in two. Two large rivers, the River Callin and the River Spada, further divide the island. Callindria is also blessed with two natural protected harbours, one at the mouth of the river Callin and another on the eastern side of the Shield Wall, Falcata Bay.
The stereotypical image of a Callindrian is of someone who is hot-blooded, tradition-bound, and above all: mercenary. Callindria is a kingdom which relies heavily on trade, as a result, wealth means power, and because Callindria relies so heavily on the mostly baneless members of its trades guilds, that applies even of those born to the lowest orders of society.
One of the easiest ways to gain or lose a fortune, is as a sellsword. The myriad factions on the island are always plotting against one-another, and the easiest way to become wealthy is to attach yourself to one of those factions, and find any excuse to enrich yourself at the expense of that faction's enemies. Callindrian society has heavily ritualized the processes of dueling, power-plays, and every-day business. Callindrians cling to these traditions, with the belief that should such strictures be ignored, the result would be anarchy.
Callindria is named after Caille Linne (Callin), First Duke of Zi'enne and father of the founder of the Zi'enne Dynasty, the current rulers of the Kian'Zi. 450 years ago, during the last war between Kian and Takara, the Duke of Zi'ene won a major naval battle off the coast of the island, securing the island as a Kian naval base for the duration of the war. The capital city, Callin's Gllory, was named in his honour. Civil War followed the outbreak of peace and the Kian withdrew from the island, leaving their excellent naval facilities in the hands of their hired Calligian and M'hidiyossi migrant workers. These workers would become the foundation of modern Callindria.
For much of its history, Callindria has been ruled by House Orodini. With the support of the Order of Saint Ludovico, the Orodini kings kept a firm grip on power. A seperate office, that of the Archon, was created as a safeguard. In the case of an inept or insane heir apparent, the Archon could invalidate the succession and pick a new heir. Naturally, keeping the Archon loyal to the Royal House was a major priority. In the late 5th century OIE, the last of the Orodini kings failed to keep his Archon's loyalty. A rival family, House Kauronna, bribed the Archon to deliver them the throne.
After three generations, House Orodini secured a major diplomatic coup when they were able to win the support of the Takaran government, and its vast intelligence service. With the resources of Imperial Intelligence, House Orodini was able to take advantage of yet another disputed succession in what was known as the "Callindrian Incident. House Orodini has controlled the throne ever since, though some say that Royal policy is set not in the halls of the Sword Keep, but in the offices of Takaran Imperial Intelligence.
THE TRADES GUILD Callindria is famed for its swords. Fine duelling blades are its main export and Callindrian steel is second only to the blade masters of Takara. The sword makers and the trading houses which export Callindrian blades world wide hold immense power, as do the mining guilds which bring out the iron from which the steel is made. Under the umbrella of the Trades Guild, these groups all-but run the Callindrian economy.
THE TWELVE COMPANIES Callindria's military is known officially as the Most Honourable Sworn Companies of Callindria, they are more commonly referred to as The Twelve Companies. These are divided into two elite Guards companies, five line companies and five reserve companies. Each appoints its own captain, but must answer to the Lord Colonel, appointed by the King. During peacetime, the Twelve Companies have a paper strength of about 800, however, rampant corruption has led to massive embezzlement. The Twelve Companies actual strength is more like 450, with the pay and outfitting costs of the remainder going directly to the pockets of their commanding officers.
THE ORDER The Order of Saint Ludovico is the only Order-Militant active on Callindria. The protectors of the Royal House, the Order stayed loyal to House Orodini as they lost the throne, only to be reinstated with the reassumption of the Orodini to the throne. Composed of about a dozen Knights and about fifty seekers, acolytes and servants, the Knights of Saint Ludovico are a relatively small order. However, the noble birth of their members, along with their baneworked armour and weapons make them a powerful force in Callindrian politics.
THE BLACK BRAVOS Lastly, there are the Black Bravos, an informal club of hotheads, mercenaries, rakehells and adventurers. Unofficially sanctioned by the crown, the Black Bravos each carry a "black blade", a dulled sword made of blackened steel. Black Bravos reserve the right to duel each other using these swords - never to the death - as proof of their skills with a blade. Bravos are expected to keep to a strict code of honour and can only rise through the ranks through continuous good conduct and victory in duels against their superiors. Membership in the Bravos is proof to possible employers and associates of a person's physical capability, integrity and trustworthiness. Higher ranking members of the Black Bravos are often contracted for jobs by noble houses or the King himself.
Settlements and Regions Edit
CALLIN'S GLORY Pop. 7500 The capital of Callindria is relatively small in comparison to the great cities of Takara or Kian. However, Callin's Glory, sitting at the mouth of the River Callin, is the largest settlement on Callindria. It is the largest port on the island and is usually the main terminus for the sword trade. The city is surrounded by high and strong stone walls and a series of small Kian-era redoubts. Quays dominate the city's waterfront and the headquarters of the Trades Guild. The harbour is dredged to over ten metres deep, even at the edge of the coast, a legacy of the city's days as a major Kian naval base. Callin's Glory is overlooked by the towering granite bulk of the Sword Keep, the seat of the Kings of Callindria. Made up of three semi-cylindrical towers with a courthouse in between, the Keep is drafty, uncomfortable and dark, but an undeniably formidable fortress. Callin's Glory also marks the intersection of Callindria's main highways; the Salt Road and the Sabre Road, which lead north to Port Ironwall and south to Castellio respectively.
PORT IRONWALL Pop. 4750 The great naval victory that gave Callin's Glory its name did not entirely leave the area without souvenirs. During the battle, two massive Takaran troopships collided into each other and drove themselves ashore. Although the survivors were captured and executed by the victorious Kian, the mostly-intact hulls of their ships remained, the heavy timbers enchanted to iron-hardness and resistant to the elements and time. Over the past three centuries years, settlers would build houses in the shadow of the wrecked ships, converting them to town walls and a breakwater. Today, the hollowed-out hulls of the two ancient ships now house thousands of Callindrians and a small protected harbour within the protection of its "walls".
CASTELLIO Pop. 3000 Unlike the other two major settlements on Callindria, Castellio is not a working port. Instead, this sprawling, pleasant, unwalled town at the mouth of the River Spada serves as a retreat and a resort town. It is shielded from the Easterlies by the bulk of the Shield Wall and very close to the noble estates which make up most of the southern half of the island. Castellio is dominated by nearly four dozen large manor houses, which serve as the headquarters and residences of noble houses, guildmasters and other such distinguished persons. As a result, Castellio relies almost entirely on the patronage of the rich and powerful.
FURNACECAMP Pop. 450 + 250 (in outlying mining camps) In the shadow of the iron-rich Ferriano Hills (the northern portion of the Shield Wall) lies the ramshackle stone huts of Furnacecamp. Here, loggers feed trees from the nearby forest to feed the insatiable blast furnaces which give the camp its name. Miners bring ore from their camps in the hills to be smelted into iron ingots, to be transported to Callin's Glory to be turned into steel for Callindria's famed swords. While Furnacecamp itself is permanent, the mining camps that give it reason for existence are ramshackle tent-villages, constantly on the move.
THE HOSTELS Despite Callindria's small size, it still takes three days to travel from Port Ironwall at the very northernmost tip to the southern fortress of Sabrepoint. As a result, the Kings of Callindria have long funded and maintained three hostels along the main roads (Spraywater and Ironroad on the Salt Road and Stonecross on the Sabre Road), all three are fortified stone buildings with a small garrison of guards and a handful of cooks, stableboys and servants on hand to allow travellers and merchants a respite from their travels.
SABREPOINT Solid and imposing, Sabrepoint Fortress rivals the Sword Keep in size and defensibility. The headquarters of the Order of Saint Ludovico, this powerful fortress was built with the aid of Takaran advisors, as it is situated on the southernmost point of the island (and thus, the point closest to Kian). Made of three overlapping layers of defences, Sabrepoint Fortress also houses a "The Sabre", a massive Takaran-made Runecannon capable of reliably hurling a 45kg iron ball into a ship-sized target over three kilometres away. The fortress is usually only inhabited by the Order of Saint Ludovico, leaving its walls severely undermanned.
STEELPOINT A much smaller fortress on the Eastern side of the Shield Wall, Steelpoint has no road access to the rest of the island on the other side of the mountains. Thus, it must rely on the half a dozen fishing settlements along nearby Falcata Bay for provisions. It exists mostly as a fortified warning post, to protect from invasion from the East, and hold off invaders long enough for help to arrive from Callin's Glory. This fortress is manned by the Steelpoint Yeomanry, one of the Twelve Companies, and the ones which is closest to its paper strength. Despite this, Steelpoint is still undermanned and a lack of funding in recent years have meant that its defences have begun to fall into disrepair.
FALCATA BAY Southwest of Steelpoint lies the broad curve of Falcata Bay. A well-protected body of water, the bay is nonetheless impossible to run shipping through, as the bay itself rarely exceeds three or four metres in depth. However, a series of fishing villages have sprung up along the coast. These villages rarely exceed a dozen or so wooden shacks housing one or two hundred inhabitants, and trade mostly either with the garrison at Steelpoint or make a short boat journey to Castellio to the south. The villages themselves are extremely poor and have more interest in feeding themselves than in the politics of the realm at large.
THE SHIELD WALL It would be exceedingly generous to refer to the Shield Wall as a "mountain range". The 80 km long chain of steep foothills which cuts Callindria in half barely reaches 200 metres above sea level. Nonetheless, these mountains are the heart of Callindria's economy. They are full of the iron that goes into Callindria's famed blades. The Shield Wall actually continues on past the coast itself, extending north into a rock reef known as "the Basket Hilt", a formation which has wrecked dozens of ships over the centuries.
THE ESTATES The majority of Callindria's noble estates are to the South of Callin's Glory, along the Sabre Road. These lands and noble holdings, overlooked by elegant mansions and ancient keeps, provide the majority of Callindria's food supply. Although still partially reliant on foreign imports, the island can still feed itself relatively well thanks to this patchwork of plantations and ranches. This also means that the people of the island are beholden to the nobility, who literally control their stomachs through their food supply.