• Member Since 3rd May, 2021
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RangerOfRhudaur


Nai hiruvalye Valimar, nai elye hiruva; namarie!

More Blog Posts6

  • 8 weeks
    On the Crownlands

    The crownlands, officially the state of Castellot, are the heart of Homestria, both politically through their association with the ruling House Majesty and geographically through their location in the central Dream Basin. Covering roughly 180 kilometers north-south from the Crystal Mountains to the southern Canter and 190 kilometers east-west from the Cloudsdale Range to the Neighagra, the

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    6 comments · 47 views
  • 11 weeks
    On the High North

    The High North is simultaneously one of the most significant and ill-defined areas in Homestria. Geographically, it stretches from the River Frost to the eastern edge of the Yaket Range, filling the land between the Crystal, Yaltay, and Yaket Mountains. Politically speaking, however, the High North is much smaller, the official state of Crystallot only occupying the Vale of the Heart, between the

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    4 comments · 86 views
  • 12 weeks
    A Quick Question

    As the title says, I was wondering; there's a long story I have planned in addition to The Song of the Spheres, one in a different continuity. Should I finish the Song before starting another big project, or should it be fine to have two ongoing series at the same time?

    3 comments · 59 views
  • 14 weeks
    Regarding the "Gifts of Gaea" Continuity

    While talking with Pete100 on Dripfeed, they brought up a question I've been wondering for a while; what is the continuity I started with The Gifts of Gaea called? And now, thanks to my discussion with them, I have an answer.

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    5 comments · 43 views
  • 20 weeks
    On Cloudsdale

    Cloudsdale is one of the main component states of Homestria, guarding much of its western border. Stretching approximately 130 kilometers north-south from the northern Cloudsdale Range to the White-tail Woods and approximately 210 kilometers east-west from the Spear Gate to Storm's Deep, this state is a study in contrasts, between north and south, east and west, mountain and valley, clear and

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    4 comments · 152 views
Jun
2nd
2021

On Cloudsdale · 9:57pm June 2nd

Cloudsdale is one of the main component states of Homestria, guarding much of its western border. Stretching approximately 130 kilometers north-south from the northern Cloudsdale Range to the White-tail Woods and approximately 210 kilometers east-west from the Spear Gate to Storm's Deep, this state is a study in contrasts, between north and south, east and west, mountain and valley, clear and storm, Hurricane and Pansy, war and peace.

I. Territory & Population

Cloudsdale is almost entirely surrounded by its eponymous mountains, save for a few gaps in the Range and some stretches of territory in the south. Inside the mountain-fence, the land is fairly evenly divided between grassy valleys and hills and stony slopes. Although many of the state's inhabitants dwell in the famous mountain cities of the great houses, the majority of them actually live in the four great vales of the Range; the Rainbow Vale (a depression in the area between the South Ridge rising up from Shedstone and the Spear Gate), the Spear Vale (the wold between the Spear Gate and Skyspear), Flatmarch, and especially Hurricane Vale (the area bounded by Mountainboss, Storm's Deep, and Whisperpeak). There is also a relatively large population center in Storm Valley, outside of the mountain-ring to the south. Aside from the mountain cities and the area around Boulderhead, few of the stony regions in the state are inhabited due to the difficulty of surviving there.

Cloudsdale supports a population of roughly 546,000, the vast majority of which (~90%) report their ethnicity as Vingol, with the remaining 10% being divided among Groverian (5%), Arbor (3%), Nocturne (1%), and various other ethnic groups (totaling 1%). The majority of the population works either for the state and nobility (27%) or in agriculture (53%), with manufacturing and services employment abnormally low (totaling 20%) due to the lower per-capita income and wealth of the state.

II. History

In prehistoric times, a people commonly referred to as the Rune-Men dwelt in the eastern part of Cloudsdale, which they named for the famous mists that water the valleys within the Range. Few details of these early inhabitants survive, however, namely the Runestone of Northend, Ironbarrow to the far south, and some artifacts that appear to be made of the region's distinctive storm-iron (iron that is produced by ore struck by lightning), which the smiths of Boulderhead appear to have discovered how to produce before the Cold Age.

As in the rest of the world, records of the Cold Age are fragmented, those few that have been found and translated commenting on the extreme cold of the period. Strangely, there are also references to 'Toad-Men' in these records, led by someone named Gorrangar, the Iron Ram. However, Gorrangar was eventually slain, and the 'Toad-Men' disappeared, shortly before the end of the Cold Age. All agree that this is simply a myth, a wonder-story for children, but none agree on what the inspiration for the myth was.

During the Pre-Classical Age, Cloudsdale grew in strength, numbers, and culture. Their architecture and poetry approached the styles we know today, and they expanded to fill the whole Range. These times were not free from conflict, however, especially with the highlanders of Boulderhead and the Wolf-Men who moved into the White-tail and Deer Woods. Also, during the waning years of the age, the Oath of Firefly was sworn with the newly-established Crystal Empire, allowing each of the participants to call on the other when they were at need, an action that would have a great impact on the Chivalric Age.

Cloudsdale was a major participant in the Chivalric Age, taking advantage of the development of the stirrup to transform their horses from pack and farm animals to some of the most fearsome weapons on the battlefield. Countless armies rode out of the Spear Gate and Flatmarch throughout the Age, such as when Hurricane led Brave Hollow north to fulfill the Oath of Firefly. This time was Cloudsdale's zenith, with their armies all-but dominant, their culture reaching dizzying heights, and their impact across Homestria amplified by the age's relative competitiveness.

Of course, this is also because the age was home to those generally considered the greatest of Cloudsdalers, Lion Heart, Commander Hurricane, and Private Pansy. Lion Heart was the Commander's strong right hand, a squire from a humble background who quickly demonstrated a strong understanding of warfare. The Commander himself is a bit of a mystery, at least in personal terms; his last name has been forgotten by history, as have his parents. Politically speaking, however, he is just the opposite; his actions are still echoing down to this day. His skill on the field, his fierce loyalty, his unification of Cloudsdale once and for all, all of these deeds and more are remembered in song, and for good reason. However, a lot of these deeds would not have had the same impact, or even worked at all, without the aid of the last member of the Three Parents of Cloudsdale, Private Petunia Pansy. Sadly, just as she was the opposite of Commander Hurricane in temperament, so does she appear to be in memorability; she seems to be almost forgotten in the histories of Cloudsdale. A shame; many of the records say that her unique blend of mercy, willingness to negotiate, and determination proved just as effective as Hurricane and Lion Heart's brute force, and if Lion Heart was the Commander's right hand then Pansy was his conscience.

Quite possibly Hurricane's greatest deed was agreeing to unify with Homestria, a course that Pansy enthusiastically supported while Lion Heart somewhat tepidly opposed. Eventually, however, she won him over, and Hurricane drank the cup of friendship with Princess Majesty, First of her Name. After doing so, he raised it in toast to the private, and said in the Vingol tongue, "But for my good friend Pansy, none of this would have happened. She is a greater warrior even than I; with but a word, she could have slain countless, by withholding her support from your peace."

Sadly, this proved to be the high point for Cloudsdale; during the Age of Unification, they've seemed to be on a relentless downward course. Peace has dulled the appeal of their spears, the rise of manufacturing and technological firms have dulled the relative power of landholding and agriculture, and the changing political situation, including the dissolution of the Crystal Empire in 400 A.U., has dulled their political power. Few, even in Cloudsdale, will dispute the benefits Unification has brought, but neither does Cloudsdale simply wave away the costs it has incurred.

III. Government

Cloudsdale is a highly decentralized state, reflecting the profound influence chivalrism had on it. All Cloudsdale residents vote for the state's governor in biannual elections, as well as a body of 49 legislators, but the power of this central government is heavily limited, with representatives of the twelve great houses possessing review and veto powers over potential legislation. Confidence in this government is so low that, the majority of the time, the legislature fails to attract enough candidates to fill all 49 seats. Instead, citizens of the state try to influence the local politics of their town and especially their nearest great houses.

The twelve great houses: Rider, Storm, Thunder, Hail, Gale, Swift, Mist, Shower, Prism, Skies, Blaze, and Zap, are effectively mini-governors of the state, each possessing relatively expansive powers within their territories, namely military, police, and taxing. Contrary to popular belief, however, this system does not commonly lead to tyranny or oppression; the people under the houses have proven willing to revolt many times, and the relatively large family size in Cloudsdale means that a would-be tyrant has many replacements available should they move forward with their plans. Cloudsdale is effectively a crude democracy, where the leaders make decisions which the (almost certainly well-armed) citizens under them are free to contest or defy, while simultaneously defending themselves against undue pressure from the populace through their personal guards. While this sounds like it could easily devolve into rule by force, the high social cohesion in Cloudsdale and the often-unacknowledged influence of Private Pansy's philosophy helps prevent this.

One of the main factors contributing to high social cohesion in Cloudsdale is the prevalence of kinship with at least one of the Three Parents. Hurricane founded five of the great houses, Pansy four, and Lion three, and many descendants of those houses found mates outside of them, spreading the Parents' blood far and wide. Combined with general affection for at least Lion Heart and Hurricane, as well as taboos against kinslaying, these few drops of blood have managed to help save many more from being spilled. While there is still violence and conflict in the state, such as the Zap-Storm feud, it is nowhere near as nightmarish as one might first fear.

IV. Weather

Another factor affecting Cloudsdale's social cohesion is its relative isolation from the rest of Homestria. The Range restricts entrance to a few easily-guarded locations, the terrain inside the Range makes travel difficult on foot and horseback and all-but impossible via auto, and the weather makes entrance from the air much more risky.

The weather in Cloudsdale is highly peculiar, baffling countless scientists; rainclouds seem to move around the mountains of the Range instead of over them, making the land inside much wetter than it should logically be, and winds from atop Boulderhead regular sweep over the other mountains, making climbing a great challenge and flying a tremendous risk. Some scientists describe it as almost a wall of wind extending up from the mountaintops, barring Cloudsdale from any who attempt to go over the mountains. Storms frequently occur in Storm Valley and atop Boulderhead, and the rest of the state is also slightly wetter than most others.

To be expanded later as events warrant.

Comments ( 4 )

Cloudsdale supports a population of roughly 50,000

... Really? Assuming a roughly rectangular area, that puts the population density at about 1.8 people per km2, which puts it below every European country, and almost every US state and Canadian province south of the Arctic Circle.

Don't get me wrong, this is fascinating stuff, especially the magic that's frustrated modern transportation—I can only imagine what happened when they tried to blow tunnels through the mountains—but that population feels agoraphobically low.

5529047

I based it on Montana's population density, but you're right, it is abnormally low. Thanks for the notification, I'll get on revising! And glad you liked the rest of the blog!

Quite possibly Hurricane's greatest deed was agreeing to unify with Equestria

As intriguing as the idea is, I'm pretty sure you meant "Homestria" instead. Unless you plan on incorporating naturally-occurring portals like the one in Spring Breakdown?

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