Introduction

The land of the River, second in population. Its ekename came from the fact that not only did the two great rivers Sureste and Mihtea flow through it, but also many tributaries from the Weolcan Mountains in northern Ealond. Ealond was generally fertile; a clever irrigation system supplied the rest of Ealond with water. It was the only realm that had extensive vineyards, giving them a near monopoly on wine. They also produced many other fine goods, in particular dye. Lastly, the many cities of Ealond had strong traditions for craftsmanship, and the guilds were a great source of skilled labour that populated the industries of Ealond. Their banner was a red-golden fox on blue background with a tail igniting a fire; the many intricate details usually found on banners of Ealond were typical of the realm.

 

The capital of Ealond was Fontaine, named after a spring of water that was believed to possess mystical properties. The major temple of Idisea was built around this spring, and the priestesses guarded it; to be allowed to drink from it was a privilege, and its waters were said to bestow longevity and good fortune. Fontaine in general was a large city, third in population after Middanhal and Herbergja. Situated on the river Mihtea, much of the trade in Adalmearc flowed through the city, aided by its many craftsmen belonging to the guilds. The river was also an important part of its defences; situated on a flat plain and due to its great size requiring extensive fortifications, Fontaine was vulnerable from several sides and were often conquered during its many civil wars.

 

The three powers

Much like in Thusund, power in Ealond could be divided in three ways. The aforementioned guilds were the economic power of the realm. Their production of many manufactured goods and their merchants kept the kingdom wealthy, and it gave them tremendous influence on many matters. More or less every kind of craft was organised in the guilds. They possessed a monopoly, meaning that newcomers could not practise their trade unless granted permission and a seat in the relevant guild, which rarely happened.

 

With this complete control, the guild masters could dictate the flow of wealth in Ealond; if someone angered them, they will forbid so much as a shoe being sold to that person. They could prevent taxes from being levied, since such had to be paid based on owned property; but they could shut down trade and thus keep toll from being paid. They did at times change the trading routes temporarily, choosing to move goods from Herbergja through Vidrevi to reach Adalrik rather than through Ealond, simply to deny the current king any income from toll. The hold of the guilds upon the wealth of Ealond meant their influence could not be discounted, and their alderman was one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.

 

Political power was shared among many. The king naturally stood first and foremost, but the various dukes and even some of the counts were to some extent sovereigns within their own provinces; private wars being waged between the lords of Ealond was not uncommon. In periods with a weak monarch, they might reach some degree of autonomy or even usurp the throne. Succession was far less certain in Ealond than the other realms; compared to Adalrik where the line of Sigvard ruled for over a thousand years, Ealond saw more upheaval.

 

Religious power in Ealond belonged to the Order of the Raven. The priestesses of Idisea managed to gain influence to a much greater degree than the other priesthoods in other realms, perhaps except for Thusund. They were everywhere as advisors or observers, giving them vast knowledge of everything happening in the kingdom. Furthermore, they had a small branch of dedicated warriors known as inquisitors. Due to the reputed prophetic powers of these priestesses, called sibyls in the local dialect, there were many who portended to be able to foresee the future in exchange for coin. It was the task of the inquisitors to root out such blasphemous swindlers, but at times they extended their investigations towards others that might be considered harmful to the order.

 

The inquisitors were fanatically loyal and known to carry out their duties to the letter; they were not allowed free reigns, however. They could not pass judgement or carry out sentences on their own; they collected evidence and ensured culprits were brought to trial before the sibyls. It happened though that inquisitors became too zealous in the pursuit of their duties, and it was unwise to cross them.

Ealond

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