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  • 7 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 · 45 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 · 83 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 · 58 views
  • 13 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 · 42 views
  • 19 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 · 150 views

On the Crownlands · 6:03pm August 26th

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 crownlands occupy some of the richest, most fertile agricultural territory in Homestria, though the Northern Shield no longer lies within its bounds. Home to Homestria's capitol of Castellot, first city of Crystal City, and the best agricultural land north of Grandwood, the crownlands are the kingdom's beating heart.

I. Territory & Population

The majority of the crownlands lie in the Dream Basin, a depression in the land into which many of the great rivers of the north flow. To the north of the basin lies the ancient Meghamilia, the Great Victory won by the young High North, from which comes much of the water that nourishes the crownlands' soil, while to the east the Midnight Mountains arise and pour down the Neighagra.

Generally speaking, there are three divisions of settlements in the crownlands; Tier I cities, like Crystal City and Castellot, Basin towns, like Horseburgh, and border towns, like Brightbridge. Border towns are built on the borders of the Basin, either on the foothills of one of the various surrounding mountain ranges or on the small spaces between them and the Basin, Basin towns dwell within the Basin itself, and Tier I cities possess enough individual importance that their location is irrelevant. Such is the bounty of the area that even the border towns are almost if not self-sufficient in terms of food resources, while the Basin towns overflow with agricultural wealth.

In terms of population, the crownlands support roughly 3.76 million people, with roughly half of them (~1.8 million) residing in Crystal City alone. Castellot's official population is surprisingly low (~33,450), though this is partially due to the security hazards a larger population would pose to the government installed there, the relatively small size of the capitol, and the availability of Crystal City as a more affordable nearby area from which to commute. The remainder of the population is scattered across the area, with the greatest non-Tier I City concentration occurring in Horseburgh with a population of about 400,000. Of the state's 3.76 million people, roughly 61% report their ethnicity as Lucorn, though Arbor (~20%), Vingol (~14%), and Crystalline (~5%) are still sizable minorities. Governmental work (~24%) and services (~52%) provide the majority of employment, especially in the Castellot area, though manufacturing (~16%) and agricultural (~8%) still employ a sizable number, especially when compared to the High North.

II. History

In prehistoric times, the crownlands were settled sparsely by various Rune-Men, Wood-Men, and Starwatcher families. Several hundred years before the Cold Age, however, a wave of migration shook Homestria; the arrival of the Eldarin from the west. Legend says that they crossed the North Luna Sea to reach Homestria from their old island home, but research has failed to prove that the island exists, let alone that it could provide the materials for the supposedly weeks-long journey across the sea.

Their arrival, however, and the impact it had on Homestria, is far from myth. The Eldarin managed to easily establish a foothold along the North Luna shore, centered on the site of what is now Vanhoover, and rapidly expanded inland. While the Rune-Men in Cloudsdale prevented them from expanding south, the Wood-Men in the Mistwoods to the east allowed them passage and even provided guidance through the area, allowing them to bring vast tracts of productive land under their sway and opening the way to the Dream Basin proper.

The Eldarin followed this path eagerly, soon coming into contact with the Starwatchers under House Canter. Heavily outnumbered, the Starwatchers ceded the Basin to the Eldarin, retreating to the lands around Canter's Lake. One of the Eldarin, however, Solaris, was alarmed at the growing power of his sister Selene thanks to her friendship with the Wood-Men, and decided that a counterbalance to her ambitions was needed. He proposed an alliance with the Starwatchers, allowing them to keep Canter's Lake and the surrounding area as well as providing them with estates in the areas under his sway in exchange for pledging their allegiance to him. The alliance was accepted, and so began the development of the two great houses of the Eldarin, House Solaris and House Selene, that would, in the last days of the Chivalric Age, unite to form House Majesty.

However, while Solaris' alliance established exterior peace with the majority of the Eldarin's neighbors, it sowed the seeds for the devastating dynastic wars which would ravage the Eldarin for centuries to come. At Canter's Keep (the citadel-city that would one day become Castellot, the Castle City), Ceresa was crowned High Princess of the Eldarin, Defender of Albion-Across-the-Sea, Crown of All Men (allikorn), and, at least to those who supported Selene against her brother, second-in-command of Solaris. Shortly afterwards, her and her allies' pride stung by the refusal to hold the coronation in Misthaven, the Wood-Men's capitol in the Mistwoods, Selene led a rebellion, shattering a long precedent of peace and plunging the region into almost interminable civil war and intrigue.

The sad story continues during the Cold Age, the two great houses and their allies fighting each other in courts and in the field even as the world froze around them. High Prince Tristan tried to unite his realm, and succeeded in integrating the Starwatchers with the Eldarin to make a new ethnic identity, that of the Lucorn (the Light-bearers), but in the end he failed, dying while putting down a rebellion in the north.

Ironically, High Prince Tristan's failure to unite his realm brought an end to the typical pattern of turmoil, as the Lucorn divided shortly after the end of the Cold Age, House Selene and its supporters taking the lands around Vanhoover and the Mistwoods, House Solaris and its supporters taking the lands around Castellot. Princess Philomena of House Solaris tried to establish her rule as the continuation of the allikorn, turning House Selene and its allies into rebels, but the disaster that her attempt at expansion north met on the Meghamilia ended that dream. House Selene attempted to do the same, claiming the title of allikorn for Prince Telve, but Princess Philomena defeated him at Brightbridge, ending the line of allikorns until Unification.

Selentria and Solartria, as the two realms came to be called, turned the Dream Basin into a land of tension, always threatening to explode into war. During the Pre-Classical Age, no fewer than five major wars and twelve minor ones broke out, though thankfully even the participants in this bitter feud observed Homestrian military norms (protecting the lives of noncombatants, capturing the enemy instead of killing them) which limited casualties somewhat. Instead, the two main combatants focused on attacking the enemy's land and wealth, leading to an almost endless series of cross-border raids and occupations, the border supposedly shifting so frequently that many towns on or near it began to keep two sets of banners available, one to fly for when House Solaris held the area, the other for when House Selene did.

However, some towns began to develop other banners, ones showing heraldry for other houses. The Eldarin concept of felaren, a direct reward for great services rendered, endured among the Lucorn, and with the sheer amount of opportunities to render service either by fighting or raiding that the situation provided, several families began to amass large amounts of wealth through felaren, wealth which often took the form of recently-occupied land. This land could both support those loyal to the landholder and generate wealth that could be used either to buy more land or pay for warriors and equipment in order to fight and win more land. Here, chivalrism began to take shape, and it would be here that the greatest of chivalrities would arise.

The Chivalric Age saw many of the trends of the Pre-Classical Age continue and intensify, especially the eponymous chivalrism. With its emphasis on service in exchange for security, chivalrism quickly became dominant in the Dream Basin, especially once the area's neighbors began to be sucked into the conflict. Heroes of every realm: Selentria, Solartria, Cloudsdale, Grandwood, the Mist- and Midnightwoods, the city-states of the Eastern Seaboard, even Griffonstone from beyond the Celestial Sea fought in the Basin, trying to help one or another of the Lucorn houses win dominance, or simply trying to bring a lasting peace, to stop the fighting.

In Ch.A. 230, someone managed to establish peace, at least temporarily; Thessalis I, Queen of Changelings, led a raid on Castellot, a raid which was narrowly defeated. With clear evidence of the Changelings' hostility and capabilities, the Lucorn agreed to a truce and mustered their allies to retaliate, beginning the Changeling Wars (230-335). They won some early victories, destroying Thessalis' army at the Battle of the Mark while the Eastern Seaboard, led by Baltimare, raided and sacked the Changeling port of Abden, but Oddo refused to surrender, and with the help of their allies Heat and Thirst managed to survive. The Siege of Queensgrave dragged on for ten years before the besiegers finally gave up and returned home, while any attempts to expand the nascent Homestrian kingdom of Marklot either saw the expanding forces defeated or baked in the fierce southern Sun. As Prince Thorax told the Selentrian envoys sent to negotiate with him, "You are winning, but you cannot win." Oddo didn't want the northerners, and at the Fourth Battle of the Mark, Ventra kicked them out for good.

However, the Changeling Wars bore fruit off the field; tensions in the Dream Basin lessened, and the Lucorn began to reknit themselves into the fabric of Homestria. They began to look at things other than their enemies, and began to think of things other than conquest. Returning warriors from the south brought tales of their service with people of other kingdoms, and began to think of them as not so alien from themselves. Trade flourished, and the beginnings of a true pan-Homestrian culture began to emerge. There was still war and conflict, still border raids and skirmishes, but they weren't viewed as inevitable or necessary anymore.

Princess Jane of Solartria, Jane the Peacemaker, tried to further this process of peace, drawing up plans for institutions to bind the various kingdoms together; a shared army for defense against foreign enemies like the Changelings, a series of Oratory-like scientific facilities to spread knowledge, a system of courts to allow kingdoms to resolve their differences without war. She dreamt of a league, like the League of Celestial City-States headed by Manehattan, a league of kingdoms working together for the good of their people, an empire of peace.

Sadly, her dreams of peace would mean an end to the wealth opportunities provided by felaren, something many of the great chivalrities would not accept. Chivalrism, as it was expressed in Homestria, required war; war fed its successes and gave it its reason for existence. Houses Brightwater, Twinkle, and Glimmer realized the existential threat that Jane's plans posed to them, and rose up in revolt, turning one half of the kingdom against the other half. Solartria was threatened with destruction-for all her skills as a peacemaker and policymaker, Jane was not a warrior-until her allies came to her aid, the Crystal Empire leading an attack from the north and calling in Cloudsdale to attack from the west while the League of City-States reinforced Castellot. House Brightwater turned on the rebels, either out of buried loyalty or political expediency, and Houses Twinkle and Glimmer were defeated, their holdings forfeited.

Some viewed the lesson of the Twinkle Revolt as the futility of seeking peace; if Jane the Peacemaker couldn't maintain peace in her own realm, who could maintain it across multiple realms? But House Selene's ruler, Princess Diana, took a different lesson from the revolt; the importance of allies. The rebels had been able to bring a great Lucorn house to its knees by allying against it; that house had brought them to their knees in turn by bringing their allies into the fight. Jane's allies had cost her some land and treasure, yes, but they'd helped her defeat those who'd threatened her kingdom. And while Jane gave up on her dream, too politically expensive for her to pursue now, Diana took it up, and made it her house's.

The years went by, House Solaris trying to reorganize and reestablish supremacy over its vassals, while House Selene forged alliances, especially with the crucial Crystal Empire and Cloudsdale. While the process was not without setbacks, especially the disastrous reign of Maria the Mad, eventually Selentria managed to establish itself at the head of a new order, the League of Peace. While House Solaris saw this development as a disaster, it was unable to do anything, especially after Chrysalis' raid into the Basin in 455; Selentria's alliance with Cloudsdale allowed them to respond quickly, bringing an army of no less than 10,000 to bear against the invaders. Faced with a fierce enemy and already weakened due to an outbreak of illness in Castellot, Solartria was forced to accept the League's existence, preferring the enemy it knew to the enemy from the south.

After Chrysalis was beaten back, Solartria tried to form its own League, though it found few takers; links with the Nocturnes of the Midnightwood allowed Selentria to send envoys to the city-states of the Eastern Seaboard, and even the slumbering southern giant of Grandwood was beginning to murmur of support for the League. When Trottingham agreed to join the League, the picture became crystal clear; Solartria stood alone against a continent.

Desperately, House Solaris struck at the heart of the League, the seat of House Selene, but was quickly repulsed; an army of Crystal Knights came down from the north, while a host of Cloudsdale Riders rose up from the south and pinned them. In the Battle of Vanhoover, Solartria was almost destroyed, half its vassals fallen, half turning their cloaks to join the League. Barely 2,000 managed to escape back to Castellot, all that was left of their once-great realm.

Several days later, the princess of House Selene arrived, along with the other heads of the League. But the banner of House Selene was nowhere to be seen; instead, Princess Majesty flew the banner of the League, a silver cloud floating over a star-crowned tree. She called on the head of House Solaris, not to surrender or to die, but to accept her hand in friendship, to join the League and end the bitter feud of the Lucorns at long last. 'I propose not conquest or plunder,' she reportedly said, 'but unity.'

Still, Princess Platinum Solaris was divided in mind. She knew she could not win against Homestria, but at the same time her pride encouraged her to hold out, to defy her enemy until the bitter end. And she might have, but for one of her advisors, Clover, called the Clever, the Private Pansy to her Hurricane. He advised her not to sacrifice more lives to blind pride, to see even more blood spilt when the land had already had more than its share. "Never give in to the enemy," he said, words that resound to the present day. "but the true enemy isn't the host outside our gates. Hate is the true enemy, and we cannot fight it alone. Those aren't enemies outside our walls, but friends and allies, waiting to be made."

And, in a decision that has changed the course of history, Princess Platinum took his counsel. She accepted Princess Majesty's terms, bringing Castellot and those few areas that still recognized Solartria's authority into the League of Peace.

To be expanded later as events warrant.

Comments ( 6 )

Castellot's official population is surprisingly low (~4,250), though this is partially due to the security hazards a larger population would pose to the government installed there, the relatively small size of the capitol, and the availability of Crystal City as a more affordable nearby area from which to commute.

... Okay, no. Around four thousand people puts it around the population of the capital of San Marino. Which is San Marino. San Marino is a 61 square-kilometer microstate bordered entirely by nothern Italy, and has a total population of around 33,000. Washington, DC, as a counterpoint, has a population of around 700,000. If this is because of security risks, financial pressure, and size of the city, I can only assume that Castellot is actually a theme park disguised as a national capital.

... Or a suburb of Crystal City, which I suppose works.

This is why you shouldn't let me near numbers in fiction. :twilightblush: Thanks for the input, will make the adjustments soon.

Hey, you’re just upholding the proud tradition of writers having no sense of scale. :raritywink:

Aside from that, looking good. That History section is a wonderfully terrible tease.

How much of this do we to know? Do we have to study it?

Not much. It's just backstory for those interested in it, though there might be some references to it in the main stories.

Good to know.

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