A Record of the Provinces
(click Province name to be taken to description)
A Brief History of the Provinces
Despite its name, Draygonea was historically not a region dominated by the now-mammoth capital of the Rokhish Empire. To the contrary, Dray’gon Rokh was for centuries hardly distinguishable from other small Rokhish settlements in the northeastern Uplands until Cassyus of Kyles selected it as the spot where the Rokhs would make their final stand against the seemingly invincible Clans. Years of armed, tactical retreat in the Uplands came to a head in that rapidly fortified village, where both armies had resolved to end it all. The end came indeed, but not in the manner expected – the strategy of Cassyus and desperate resolve of the cornered Rokhs overcame the practically perfect Clannic war machine. From that point on, the village turned town turned city began a growth spurt that has yet to abate.
Contributing to that growth are the two massive Imperial thoroughfares which link the Capital to the Empire’s western and southern extremes – the Great Western Tradeway that runs a thousand miles west to Cros’syng Way, and the far older Tersian Som which connects to the Tersic Pass and Marvelon before splintering into countless smaller roads in the Lowlands.
The Province that’s arisen around the Capital is not in fact governed by it. Provincial administration is delegated to Marcogon, what’s colloquially known as the Empire’s “Second City”. A rival to Dray’gon Rokh prior to the Clannic Wars, it thereafter became its closest ally. The Second City has traditionally been the dominant one of the Province, producing dozens of Lorrions, Proventors, and even two of the Empire’s twenty-four Khorokhs, including its second - Marcellius I the Liberator. The spiritual capital of the country and Cassyan birthplace, Kyles, also falls within the borders of Draygonea, though its thorough Clannic destruction meant that it lagged behind Marcogon in terms of influence. Dipillion and Istogon are other cities of note, both having produced a Khorokh.
Draygonea is bordered to the north by the Karanak Mountains; the Astoren Mountains in the east; the Kylic Lake in the west, enclosing former Karrokh territories; and Astorea Province in the South. Geographically, the Province is hilly but replete with abundant rivers and lakes. Its eastern and northern fringes, of course, are quite rocky, but its southern border is also marked by the Lapen Hills, sporadic small mountains extending out from the Astorens. The climate shifts the nearer one moves towards the mountain ranges, though generally, the Province suffers cold, snowy winters, moderate to cold autumns and springs, and warm but rarely oppressive summers.
As its name suggests, the heart of Kylea Province falls largely within the territory of the former Kylic Early Kingdoms. Prior to the Clannic Wars, there were a dozen Early Kingdoms that dominated Upland landscape. The Kylics in particular claimed dominion over much of the area around the River Kylic. The Early Kings were famed for waging constant wars against each other, all but ignoring the “barbarian” Rokhs that had descended from the Karanak and Astoren mountains to settle in their foothills.
The Clans changed everything. They swept away all but the Loccycs, Clyvics, Grynics, and Kylics, each of whom submitted to vassalage in lieu of destruction. When the Clans were defeated by those “barbarian” Rokhs, the Kylics aggressively expanded their territory into regions formerly held by their rivals. When Cassyus conquered the Kylics in 25 P.C., the Imperial Province of Kylea eventually took the shape of the Kylics’ P.C. realm.
Provincial Capital Alemyles has been the traditional powerhouse of the province, due to its excellent trading position as the last port city of the River Kylic and its ready-made infrastructure as an ancient Kylic settlement spared destruction by the Clans. Antillion, seat of the powerful Antinid line, and Menniogon, seat of the Menacrids, are arguably the strongest pure Rokhish settlements in the province, though as the river has coursed away from their positions over the years, their wealth doesn’t compare. Ambelfeld, a Vyric stronghold absorbed by Kylic nobles Post-Cataclysm (then declaring independence and forming the “Unholy Alliance” with Clannic and some Rokhish nobles), remains a city of note, as does Vynes.
The Kylean Proventor is responsible for the Dead Plains administration, so Kylea Province technically runs west to Raizea Province (making it the Empire’s largest province by area); it runs north to the Karanak Mountains; to the south along a chain of hills that mark Clyvea Province’s northern border; and to the east to Draygonea and Astorea Provinces. Its heartland is dominated by the fertile valley of the River Kylic, which spawns numerous creeks and offshoots that produce verdant farmlands. Like Draygonea, the portions of the Province that are nearest to the mountains are colder and harsher, while the further south and west one travels, the more mild and moderate the region becomes.
The Dead Plains, of course, are flat and lined with its famous golden grains, its weather marked by extreme cold in the winters and stifling heat in the summers. Despite its name, the soil across the Plains is inexplicably poor for farming more complex crops, a condition locals attribute to the lingering curse of the Clans. The Early Kings that resided on the Plains were of lesser importance.
Like Kylea, Clyvea mirrors much of the dimensions of the Post-Cataclysm realm of an Early Kingdom, in this case the Clyvics, historic rivals of the Kylics. Their realm ran along the fertile stretch of the southwestern banks of the River Clyves, anchored at Ullenhal. A critical difference, of course, is that Clyvea Province – but not the old Clyvic Kingdom – includes the mighty river city of Tersiton, controller of the Tersic Pass. Inclusion of Tersiton, a city south of the River Clyves, was a thinly-veiled attempt to limit the power of the Marvelon-dominated Grynea Province. As a result of its straddling the Upland and Lowland halves off the Empire, it routinely produces powerful politicians.
Tersiton is the logical capital of the Province, given its extensive wealth and fortifications. The city originated around the Tersic Pass, the masterful and still heavily used bridge built by the Clans to better facilitate transporting its armies from the Lowlands into the Uplands. Most historians consider the bridge construction to be the high-water mark of the Clans’ success in the Rokhlands and corresponding low-water mark in the Rokhish resistance. Today, more than half the Empire’s commerce passes through the tolls of the Tersic Pass, though that number steadily declines as the Converge’s growth continues.
Another city of note includes Ullenhal, the former Clyvic capital which was sacked by furious Cassyan troops in 27 P.C. after it was discovered the Clyvics were bartering to ferry Lowland Clannic warriors into the castle as added protection. The looting stripped the opulent capital bare, and today stands as an ironically spartan abode, both visually and culturally, but an influential power nonetheless. Ryvollium, Pilliotyles, and Onerium have also been influential through the years, having produced a Khorokh, an Inquisitor, and a Lorrion respectively.
Clyvea Province runs in a relatively narrow swathe along the River Clyves, from the western border of Astorea Province in the east to the eastern boundary of Kregea Province, where the Stygan Mesas begin; it is bordered in the northwest by Kylea Province; and in the south – with the exception of Tersiton – by the River Clyves. Its geography, then, is very much the characteristic river valley until it becomes rockier near the Mesas. The weather tends to be colder and wetter on its eastern fringes – though not to the extent of Draygonea or Astorea – and warmer and dryer in the west.
Named after the Astoren Mountains which form its eastern border, it is home to some of the most ancient Rokhish settlements, including its chief city Fyrogon, and is renowned (as is Fyrogon) for the best iron ore quality in the Empire – it comes by the nickname “Armory of the Empire” honestly. As a result of this heritage and strong position, Fyrogon was determined to become the Upland version of Marvelon at the time that the Clans arrived. After refusing to surrender to the Clans – or join their cousins for the Last Stand in Dray’gon Rokh like most other Upland Rokhs – Fyrogon opted to withstand a long siege while the remainder of the Clannic army headed north to Dray’gon Rokh. When Cassyus triumphed at the Last Stand, Fyrogon was one of the first cities he sought to recruit as an ally, subsequently helping to break the siege. The Fyrids thereafter campaigned alongside the Cassyan armies, finally joining the union outright after the Clannic Lowland massacres in the 30s. Despite harboring a still proud independent streak, Fyrogon remains specially bonded to the Capital.
Most towns of Astorea revolve around servicing Fyrogon’s expansive ironworks, though some of note include Brium and Cloton.
Astorea Province is bounded in the north by the Lapen Hills, a line of small mountains along the southern boundary of Draygonea Province; in the east by the Astoren Mountains; in the south by Clyvea Province; and in the west by Kylea Province. It is the smallest Imperial province by area, and most of that area is rocky and hilly; thus, perfectly suited for its ore focus. Its weather is slightly harsher than that of Draygonea to the north, given its higher elevation.
Grynea is named after the Grynic Early Kings. The Grynics based their power along the southern banks of the Clyves, and were for the most part lesser powers than their northern cousins. They were one of the first Early Kingdoms to clash with the Rokhs, primarily due to Marvelon’s rise and expanding borders. Their chief Early rival was the Wyric kingdom, a small realm whose borders ran westward to the fringe of the modern-day Kregea Province.
Provincial Capital Marvelon dominates the province’s landscape, both literally and figuratively. The colloquial “First Capital” of the Rokhs is fiercely proud of its glory prior to its Clannic destruction. The city even threatened secession following the death of Khorokh Nertos, who the city alleged chose the Grynean Lorrion (a Marvelonian) as successor Khorokh, instead of Dossumux of Dollogon. Grynea’s Lorrion thereafter boycotted the Lorrio until 108 P.C., when Khorokh Cassyus II dethroned the last of the fraternal Mad Khorokhs (see entry for Loccea below) and personally pledged massive building projects for still-ruined Marvelon. Nevertheless, Grynea province was cautiously shaped so as to give a portion of its southern half to Morremea Province, while command of the Tersic Pass remains with Tersiton in Clyvea Province.
Other cities of note in Grynea Province include Tryces, a former Grynic city commandeered by the Clans before being conquered by Khorokh Marcellius, Cestillion, Mercium, and Lithologon, the latter three home to former Khorokhs.
Grynea Province runs east-northeast along the Clyves, notwithstanding Tersiton’s sphere, to the Astoren Mountains; it runs west-southwest along the Clyves to the River Mord, eastern borders of Kregea and Starrea Provinces; and it runs south to the northern border of Morremea Province. Its northern terrain is a typical river valley while the southern terrain flattens out the further one treads towards the Ratikan coastal plain in Morremea. Weather is generally milder, as the Lowlands tend to be, although the mountainous eastern border tends to be colder and dryer.
During the Clannic occupation, the territory making up Starrea Province was actually split between two rival Clannic chieftains, one from Clan White Thorn and one from Clan Red Thorn. Even with the threat of Khorokh Pistoniux marching against them to liberate the Lowlands, the pair’s sparring ran unabated, vastly simplifying the Rokhish campaign. Post-liberation, Pistoniux prescribed a series of outposts throughout the Lowlands to ward against further Clannic intrusions from the southwest. It wasn’t until 180 P.C., however, that the Province’s – and in some ways, the Empire’s – dominant fortress-city came to be: Avergon.
Founded by Cassyus III to be the “perfect fortress” as well as the finest training ground the Empire had ever constructed, Avergon consolidated the power that had been hitherto dispersed among the Pistonian outposts. The city also became the caretaker of the bridge that spans the River Brafford, a Clannic remnant like the Tersic Pass from when the Clans planned (but never executed) an invasion of Colvery.
The now-legendary Academy of Avergon ropes in the brightest, bravest, and strongest of the Empire’s citizens, making its revamped Sixth Dyron the only unit to make no distinctions among Uplanders, Lowlanders, or Westlanders in its ranks. Soldiers’ families are strictly forbidden from living within its walls, instead forced to live in the nearby feeder city of Attikon. The Tenth Dyron comprises the men accepted into the Academy but not ultimately deemed elite enough for the Sixth.
Due to the amalgamated nature of its inhabitants and massive power as home to the Academy, the Sixth, and first line of defense against numerous enemies, Avergon and the Province it dominates are almost a country unto themselves. As a result, they largely distance themselves from Draygonean politics; indeed, only one Khorokh has ever come from Starrea Province, that of Khorokh Thostius from 300-314 P.C.
Other towns of note in Starrea are Holliton and Thogon, the latter being the Thostid seat.
Starrea runs west to the border of the lower Skulls Desert; south to the River Brafford, border with Colvery; east to the Isthmus and the River Mord; and north to Kregea Province. Geographically, Starrea is relatively flat, green, and lush, strong trees dotting the landscape in copses. Climatically, it is fairly mild through the winters, hot in the summers.
Colloquially known as the “Lakes”, Loccea has been a turbulent region even prior to the Clannic Wars, a restiveness it owes to its peculiar geography. A series of lush oases and crystal-clear lakes isolated from each other by arid stretches of desert, it was for centuries before Cataclysm a roiling pot of Early King fiefdoms, each “king” claiming a lake but rarely powerful enough to dethrone his Loccean rivals, and certainly not a challenge to the powerful Kylic and Clyvic kingdoms. It is not without irony, then, that the network of Loccean princes had finally been hewn into union under Prince Breacs – alarming the Kylics and Clyvics in the process – when the Clannic tidal wave swept through the region. A foolish mistake in hindsight, the Clans burned Breacs alive, which only served to return the province to turbulence.
When the Rokhs expelled the Clans from Loccea, they found the Locceans just as hostile towards their “liberators” as they’d been towards their “oppressors”. After failing to acknowledge their status as conquered, the Rokhs embarked on an intensive campaign to settle the region with fortified towns, and the Lorrion to the new Province, Nertos of Neconium, was even made the Khorokh in an attempt to give the region’s natives a figure to rally behind. Nertos, unfortunately, was hopelessly ill and his short reign gave way to the sad tribulation of the Mad Khorokhs. On his deathbed, Nertos allegedly changed his heir to Lorrion Dossumux of Dollogon, his Lorrio successor after taking the Throne to continue the theory of appeasing the Loccean natives through power in Dray’gon Rokh. Though born a Rokh, Dossumux and his brothers Dosdius and Dolmius, previously had fallen deeply in love and in league with rival Loccean princesses that each encouraged their respective brother to push for setting Loccea free with the princess as successor to Breacs. Legend has it that the brothers’ minds were poisoned or cursed by a witch, but whichever the case, Loccean money helped them go on a murderous rampage in Dray’gon Rokh as they sought to satisfy their princesses. Eventually, Dosdius murdered Dossumux, but was murdered in kind by his remaining brother, Dolmius. It wasn’t until Cassyus I’s distant descendant, Cassyus II, rose to overthrow Dolmius and institute the Great Lorrian Reforms that the Capital was returned to peace and prosperity. The time of the Mad Khorokhs continues to leave a scar on Rokhish psyche to this day.
Notwithstanding, the restless princes of Loccea – though only acknowledged as “lords” by the Rokhs – continue to be problematic. They’ve launched five unsuccessful rebellions since Dolmius’s dethroning, most recently in 360 P.C. Dyrator Glannox of Glostium’s brutal campaigns through the Lakes, however, have supposedly quelled the unrest there to levels unseen in some time.
The cities of Dollogon and Neconium are just two of the Rokhish settlements installed to keep order in the Province, although the former’s shameful role in the Mad Khorokh affair has kept it largely a backwater. Volinium stands as the most influential purely Rokhish settlement, while the nearby capital of Leeshyn, former Early King stronghold, hosts the busy Seventh Dyron. Larallium is another town of note.
Loccea is positioned north of the Skulls Desert; west of Kylea Province and the Converge; south of the Dead Plains; northeast of the Mangossyan Sea, and east of the Raizea Province and the River Anonga. As previously described, Loccea is a series of lakes, waterfalls, and oases surrounded by groves dotting otherwise arid stretches of desert and plateaus. In the height of summer, the lakes drastically contract, only to be refilled by the rains of autumn and winter. Weather is generally dry and hot from the Third Month through the Eleventh.
The history of the region covered by Kregean province tells the tale of two starkly different peoples – the Mesans and the Rokhs. For a millennium before the Rokhs arrived, the Mesans kept peacefully to themselves, so secure in their cliffside homes that they had almost no military to speak of. Industrious and artistic, their precise origins aren’t known; some say they are a distant offshoot from the Skulls Desert tribes that took refuge in the only place they could. The centuries of peace, however, allowed startlingly complex architecture to be carved into the rockfaces of what is now known as the Stygan Mesas, to the extent that stairwells and pathways connect all the way from the banks of the River Clyves to the mesan tops.
Some say that the Clans revered the Mesans so much that they made no attempt to annex their realm; others say the Mesans simply managed to disguise their unusual abodes so well that the Clans simply overlooked them. Whichever the case, they’d been largely untouched by the other peoples of Andervold until the Rokhs’ arrival in 175 P.C. Putting up virtually no opposition, the Mesans agreed to fall under the governance of Dray’gon Rokh. The foundation of the Rokhish Converge and the engineering masterpiece of the Vargorus Bridge which spanned the gap carved by the River Clyves, transformed the region into one of critical Imperial importance. It provided Cassyus III with the impetus to see the fortress of Avergon founded only five years later; without the Converge, there can be no Avergon, as they say.
While the Converge is the unquestioned leading city of Kregea Province, other cities of note include Pontafium, seat of Khorokhs Ponnepius I and II; Tetrogon and Duillium. Regardless, almost all of the Province’s towns and cities revolve around the economic powerhouse in the Converge.
Kregea Province largely mirrors the Mesas straddling the River Clyves. It borders Clyvea Province in the Northeast; Grynea Province in the southeast; due south is Starrea Province; due north is Kylea; to the northwest is Loccea and to the southwest is the Skulls Desert. A circle of rocky plains surrounds the cliffs. Rain is quite scarce, the climate similar to the nearby Skulls Desert, but the River Clyves keeps the region well-hydrated.
Morremea Province is largely still defined by the two major influencing powers of the region. The Rokhs of the northern half of the Province – that portion that borders Grynea Province – identify themselves more so with Marvelon, as Marvelon’s power easily reached that far south Ante Cataclysm. The southern half, by contrast, is very much dominated by the Ratikan Sea on the southern coast; in A.C. times, the Valogarian Empire was still in place, having dotted the now Lowland coast with colonies. These Valogarian settlements were for the most part quite tolerant of and friendly with the Rokhs, but regardless, they were all swept aside by the Clans. Even during the Clannic occupation, however, Valogarian nobles maintained good relations with the oppressed coastal Rokhs, offering them food but no arms.
After Valogar was conquered in 203 P.C., Rokhish policy was to colonize the Peninsula immediately, which lead to settlement of its northern and western reaches. An unintended side effect of this was to create more Rokhs friendly to the Valogarians and opposed to harsh treatment as a result. Thus, the coastal region of Morremea gained significant political power as the leader of the sizable and vocal enclave of Rokhish Valogarians and Valogarian Rokhs. Drogian of Drostolion rode this wave of influence to the Throne in 257 P.C., still the only Morremean Khorokh, though the plague cut his term short.
Since the Chibin Uprisings of the 330s, the Lowlands – and especially Morremea – have been bitterly divided with the Uplands over the proper course of action for dealing with the threat. Most Rokhs of the southern Lowlands regarded the uprising as a sign of Rokhish overreaching and muddled policy when they conquered Valogar, and favor its liberation as opposed to a war which destroys the largest purchaser of their goods. Lowland provinces still align themselves with Morremea Province, though it’s unknown whether this is attributable to their opposition of a Valogarian conflict or towards underlying resentment towards Dray’gon Rokh.
The Province is devoid of a truly dominant city, though again, the northern half finds itself swayed by Marvelon in Grynea Province more than any in Morremea. Important and influential coastal towns, however, include Drostolion, Port Hovium – seat of the Rokhish navy on the Ratikan and controlled by Capital Ferlium – Cassitigon… and some Uplanders acidly say Nar-Biluk in Valogar.
Morremea Province borders Grynea Province in the north; Starrea Province in the west; the Ratikan Sea in the south; the lower Astoren Mountains in the east-northeast, and the Flonon Marshes in the southeast. Weather typically tracks its terrain: along the flat, coastal portion of the Province, it is quite moderate if windy, while the northern half has a grasslands-style climate.
Raizea Province is the youngest of the Imperial territories, though its lands have been settled by the Raizana Beastmen for a millennium. At one time, Raizan territory and its attendant jungle straddled both sides of the River Anonga, with its central settlement of Sereniton (as translated from Beastmen lexicon) on the western side near Stolxia. The Stolxians – at that time still a kingdom united under one ruler, not the eight fiefdoms of present day – were rebuilding and resurgent following their nightmare against the Clans, and had launched an aggressive campaign south towards the Clannic homeland in the first century P.C. while simultaneously pushing their eastern borders towards the River Anonga out of fear of the victorious Rokhish dyrons. The fearsome war in the Jungle raged off and on for more than a century, the cumbersome, heavy weaponry of the Stolxians ill-suited to jungle warfare. The Stolxians triumphed, albeit at great sacrifice, expelling every last Raizana to the eastern side of the Anonga.
Ironically, the Rokhs never showed an interest in expanding further west than Kylea or Loccea, and had enough internal problems further south keeping it from becoming a priority. Moreover, for centuries after Cataclysm, Rokhish policy had been to leave the Dead Plains unsettled and devastated so as to have a barren buffer zone against an invading army from the west. As the Empire’s growth continued, however, Rokhish settlers eventually moved into the Plains, which served as a segue for their approach into the Raiz Jungle and its Beastmen. In 321 P.C., the Rokhs finally pushed into the Jungle, much to the dismay of the Beastmen. However, Rokhish diplomats skillfully played off the Raizan fear of and hatred towards the Stolxians, offering to essentially act as their ward. Initially receptive, the Raizana soon learned that their precious jungle was being settled and absorbed en masse as a Rokhish territory and even worse, some wood prospectors took to chopping the trees down altogether. Thus, the Beastmen are generally hostile towards their occupiers, launching sporadic revolts since the early 350s. Imperial attempts to placate and further protect the Raizan homeland have proven marginally successful.
Absorption into the Empire was also a mixed blessing from another perspective: Rokhish relations with the Stolxis. On the one hand, the two realms now shared a river crossing which allowed for vastly expanded trade; on the other hand, the hitherto separate powers now had to co-exist uncomfortably close, and Stolxian policy asserted that the entire Raiz Jungle was their territory, even if they had not yet turned to conquering its eastern half. Predatory Rokhish bandits – often targeting Stolxian trade convoys on the Dead Plains – have also caused severe strains in their relationship.
The primary Rokhish city of Raizea is Cros’syng Way, colloquially named the “Gateway”, and is a fabulously wealthy trading city. More Rokhish settlements are desired, but Beastmen tensions are currently too inflamed to pursue them. Beastmen towns are set amongst the tree tops, and as a result, it is difficult to keep an accurate census on their size and population – or their actions, be they peaceful or belligerent. This difficulty is compounded by the lack of a written language, thereby leaving Rokh-Raizana communication largely a series of hand gestures and simple words.
Raizea Province is currently represented on the Lorrio by the Loccean Lorrion. Talks continue about whether and when to grant the Province its own Lorrion, similar to the discussion of whether the Dead Plains should be split off from Kylea into its own Province with its own Lorrion.
Raizea Province is bordered by the River Anonga in the west; it runs north to the western Karanak Mountains and the Toliford Creek, where a river race of the Raizana live; to the east, the Province is bordered by the Dead Plains of western Kylea Province; and to the south-southeast are the Loccean lakes and the Skulls Desert. The Jungle is generally steamy year-round but especially brutal in the summer months, when even the slightest bit of sun raises humidity to almost unbearable levels beneath the canopy. The Jungle itself is extremely dense, though Rokhs have carved one primary (and fortified) thoroughfare through the growth which connects to a similar trail across the Dead Plains.