• 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
  • 12 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 · 88 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
Jul
31st
2021

On the High North · 12:47am July 31st

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 Crystal Mountains and Mount Everstep, and the fields of the Hispaf, between the Yaltay and the Crystal Mountains. If culture is taken into consideration, then the map of the High North shifts again, spreading south beyond the Crystal Mountains to the upper edge of the Neighagra. Depending on how you define it, the High North is either 80 kilometers by 630, a main area of 60 kilometers by 60 and a non-contiguous subregion of 30 kilometers by 40, or 100 kilometers by 630! How can such a state exist? The answer is that there are multiple High Norths, changing in size depending on which dimension is focused on. Like a prism, each side has its own story to tell. Today, we'll be hearing the story of the political High North, though be prepared to catch glimpses of the others as we do so; the stories of the different High Norths may be different, but that doesn't mean they tell them all alone. They're different sides, but all of the same prism.

I. Territory & Population

Geographically speaking, most of the High North is arctic waste, unsuitable for habitation. There are three main exceptions to this rule; Rainbow Falls along the eastern edge, the Hispaf, protected from the worst of the wind and snow by a projection of the Yaltay, and the Vale of the Heart, protected by the "Crystal Heart", an area where the Crystal Mountains split and begin snaking northwest, eventually joining up with Mount Everstep.

The significance of these three areas cannot be overstated; without them, the High North would be almost, if not completely, unsuitable for human habitation. Aside from whatever resources are in isolationist Yakyakistan, Rainbow Falls, the Hispaf, and the Vale of the Heart are the only known food resources beyond the Crystal Mountains, east of the River Frost.

Even with these boons, the High North is thinly peopled for its apparent size. Crystallot supports a population of roughly 720,000, with about 3/5 of that number living in the Vale of the Heart. Ethnically speaking, a majority (~86%) of the population is Crystalline, with a sizable (~7%) minority reporting their ethnicity as Vingol. The remainder is divided between Lucorn (~3%), Arbor (~1%), and those who did not declare their ethnicity (~3%). In terms of employment, governmental work forms a relatively low percentage (~22%) of jobs, while agricultural employment has declined (~5%) since Unification due to the availability of goods from other regions of the kingdom. Manufacturing (~12% of employment) and services (~61%) are the backbone of the economy, with tourism alone accounting for about as many jobs as the entire manufacturing sector.

II. History

In prehistoric times, the High North was almost abandoned, inhospitable even before the Cold Age. Occasionally an exile or eager explorer from Yakyakistan would attempt to settle in the area, but the lack of food and inclement weather drove many away. Those few who managed to survive eked out a life from the snow and stones, always one misstep away from death. When the Cold Age struck, many of them were forced to make that misstep.

Some of those who didn't managed to stumble on the Hispaf, an oasis in the middle of a desert. Even during the Cold Age, when the world seemed doomed to freeze, the Hispaf provided a refuge, allowing the survivors to catch their breath. Slowly, painfully slowly, they began to recover, and when the Cold Age ended they began to grow. Replenished by arrivals from the south, lured by dreams of a land of plenty, they became a people, if a modest one.

This modest people was rocketed to prominence with the arrival of the Meghanites. Refugees from across the Sea, forced out of their ancestral land by a disaster, they'd spent years in wandering, eventually finding their way across the Gap of Griffonstone and into the High North. There, like everyone else outside the Hispaf, they struggled to survive, and many failed that struggle. They pleaded with their king, Danni, to abandon their expedition, to accept the loss of their kingdom and settle somewhere safe, somewhere where they could trade for the food they sorely missed. But Danni refused, supposedly saying, "The Children of Meghan shall not survive if they beg as you suggest; either they shall find no mercy and die, or find mercy and forget Meghan with it." Sating their hunger with hope (for the moment), the Meghanites followed Danni deeper into the High North, and found their faith rewarded at the rice-fields of Rainbow Falls. They fell upon the rice, and then a band of Rune-Men living in the area fell upon them, launching a devastating ambush against a starving people.

But the Meghanites were no sheepskin-clad Rune-Men or leaf-cloaked Wood-Men; they were the heirs to a proud kingdom, an empire, one that it took a cataclysm to destroy. Against the crude wood and stone of their foes, the Meghanites wielded iron, and cut the ambush to shreds. The Meghanites rejoiced at their victory, and asked their king if this was to be their new home. But Danni shook his head; "The kingdom that has been revealed to me," he said according to legend, "is untouched by Man. This place shall be our granary, and our celebration, but it shall not be our kingdom."

Understandably distressed, some of the Meghanites refused to leave, not wanting to leave the sanctuary they'd just found for a dreamt-of kingdom in the wilderness. According to legend, King Danni prophesied that "my dream shall prove truer than your sanctuary," and left Rainbow Falls with those still loyal to him by the North Shelf. That night, again according to legend, those Rune-Men who'd escaped the failed ambush crept into the camp of the Meghanites' who'd stayed, supposedly killing them all. Whatever the authenticity of the specific details of the story, history confirms the broad strokes; there was a Meghanite settlement at Rainbow Falls, perhaps as early as 7 P.C.A., that was later killed, almost certainly violently.

Danni and his followers continued west, braving the Northern winter in search of a new home. Eventually, they reached the Crystal Heart, but from the outside; lacking proper climbing equipment, it must've looked to them like their journey had met a dead end. But they were wrong; either by chance or, as the legends suggest, advice from a dream, Danni discovered the Gap of Danni, the only way through the Crystal Heart for dozens of barren, hostile kilometers. He led them through it, and they emerged into a stunning calm, the eye of the storm of winter; the Vale of the Heart. At last, they'd found their home.

They swiftly settled in, Danni choosing as his capitol the hot spring of Hearthome, and rapidly began to make use of the abundant gifts of the soil. Right on top of the Northern Shield of minerals, the Vale of the Heart quickly brought forth a bounty, enough for the Meghanites and plenty for trade. Satisfied that their possession of their new home would preserve the Meghanites, Danni sent out scouts to search for trading partners, as well as to check up on those left behind at Rainbow Falls. Word of the destruction of the settlers there was brought back, along with news of the Crystal Cleft to the south, the main passageway between the High North and the Crownlands. The scouts to the west, however, brought back not word but people, the leaders of the inhabitants of the Hispaf. Said leaders, awed by the iron weapons of the Meghanites, offered Danni leadership of the Hispaf, an offer he refused; according to legend, he said, "We have escaped from tyranny but recently ourselves, why would we impose it upon you? We would have you as friends, not servants." Then, again according to legend, one of the Hispafican leaders, Petra, replied, "But even friends are willing to submit to those who they recognize as greater than themselves. Whether as friends or servants, I will serve you, for I perceive a greatness within you."

Then came the legendary founding words of the High North, of what was to become the Crystal Empire; "You have spoken wisely, Petra, and rightly. We will be friends with you, and accept your service even as we serve you in turn. And your words shall be long remembered; for you are Petra, the Rock, and upon this rock will I build our friendship."

An alliance between the two regions was formalized, and the Meghanites and the newly titled Petrans began a long and bountiful friendship. Marriage between the two groups was attested by 13 P.C.A., while trade between them flourished. With the help of Hispaf coal, the Meghanites began to teach the Petrans ironworking, replacing their crude stone tools with ones of a quality unknown to the rest of the world.

This quality was soon proved in the Battle of Meghamilia, where the Lucorn kingdom of Castellot was expanding towards the Crystal Mountains. Wary of allowing such a powerful enemy to establish themselves so close to their homes, Danni and Petra took the field, and the Meghanites' iron arms and discipline smashed the Castellotians, giving the battlefield its name, Meghamilia, Great Victory. To this day, the portion of the Crownlands north of the Neighagra still takes its name from Danni's great victory, and the tower his successors built there still stands.

In 33 P.C.A., Danni died, leaving the crown of the Meghanites to his daughter, Amore I. Under her, the new kingdom of the Meghanites was reorganized and became more outward-focused, sending out scouts and envoys across the continent. The Lucorn refused them, but the city-states along the Eastern Seaboard welcomed them, and their trade. The Vingols' reaction was more mixed, their typical dislike of outsiders warring with their respect for the Meghanites' weaponry and military might. As the Pre-Classical Age waned, their respect won out, and after the Battle of the Gorge they swore the Oath of Firefly, promising the Crystal Empire, the union of the Meghanites, Petrans, and inhabitants of the recently-acquired Rainbow Falls, their aid if they should ever be in need, a promise the Empire mirrored.

In the Chivalric Age, the Crystal Empire played a key role, chiefly through their development of gemsteel. This alloy, whose exact "recipe" is zealously guarded to the modern day, made the warriors of the North a force far more significant than their low numbers would indicate. Mixed with crushed (or, as some legends say, molten) crystals to give them a higher carbon content and carefully forged to minimize unwanted elements, gemsteel must have seemed magical to the people of the day (as certain legends reputed it to be), and turned the knights of the Crystal Empire from simple warriors into fighting machines, clad in iridescent, invincible metal. A single bar of gemsteel was worth more than its weight in gold, and as word of the wonder-metal spread, wealth flooded into the Empire. Cloudsdale alone, according to recently-discovered records, spent millions of bits on gemsteel every year, and even the still-seething Castellotians bought the metal in order to avoid having to face the shame of another Meghamilia.

And yet, they seldom did; the Crystal Emperors and Empresses were content to remain within the borders Amore I had won them, and primarily fought either to defend them or to fulfill the Oath of Firefly. Great fortresses were built, including Torrestelle in the Meghamilia, the Gate of the Crystal Cleft, and the distant southern keep that would one day be converted into Crystal Preparatory Academy. Great cultural achievements were made as well; Danni de Friend set off on his expedition to find the Meghanites' ancestral land, the Oratory reached its peak, the singers and harpists of the north became the model of Homestria. Just as their close allies in Cloudsdale flourished during this time, so did the Crystal Empire.

Unlike their traditional allies, however, the shift from chivalrism to Unification has been relatively painless for the High North; the Crystal Empire became Crystallot, only losing the now-redundant Rainbow Falls, while the line of Danni, more commonly known as the House of Amore, adjusted to the fall of the Empire gracefully, accepting its new status as merely one among equals with humility. Again, unlike Cloudsdale, they also gained much from Unification; new markets for food and the luxury goods they specialize in, more wanderers hoping to make their home in the Vale of the Heart, more wide-eyed envoys hoping to see the wonders of the Meghanites' realm. The Heart of Winter, an old title of the Crystal Emperors and Empresses that Crystallot has made its own, still beats amidst the snow.

III. Government

Crystallot is governed by a unicameral legislature, the Senate, composed of 100 senators elected biennially. However, due to the history of the state, it primarily serves as an advisory body to the executive branch of the government, headed by the governor. The governor possesses wider-ranging powers than most of their counterparts, once again due to the history of the High North, though the elective (quadrenilaly) nature of their office prevents them from simply devolving into tyrants, both by providing a simple and easy mechanism of replacement and by denying them the blood claim the Emperors/Empresses had to power.

Unlike Cloudsdale, the Crownlands, or even the Eastern Seaboard, there are virtually no surviving noble houses in Crystallot; those few chivalrities that developed in the Crystal Empire lacked the resource base of Houses Rider, Canter, or even Pommel, causing them to fade away rapidly as chivalrism began its decline. An inscription on an ancient Imperial coin explains why: "Il redeire è il Cuore, e senza il Cuore è la morte," "The Empress/Emperor is the Heart, and without the Heart is death." In other regions, great houses could arise by filling a need the ruling house didn't, or by taking territory outside the ruling house's control. But in the Crystal Empire, where House Amore filled a need that no other house could (protection from winter) and the only territory outside of its control was in the hands of winter, this wasn't an option; the chivalric social contract, obedience in exchange for aid and protection, precluded it. Either one bent the knee to the Empresses/Emperors and accepted their protection or refused and were cast into darkness. House Canter could choose to stand against House Majesty but not alongside anyone else; any house that tried to stand against House Amore would find itself standing alongside cold, darkness, and death. Either one stood with the Heart or with the winter that raged against it.

To be expanded later as events warrant.

Comments ( 4 )

Is this going to be something important in the story?

Fascinating stuff. I do love the G1 tie-in, and the ambiguous balance of fact and folklore in the mythohistory. Looking forward to more.

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