Central Stradyn - Crestholme “The Capital”
“It’s a little bit funny right? I mean, the coincidence. Can’t say I was ready for this, but honestly, can’t say it caught me by surprise.”
“This is the first thing you have to say to me? You think this is funny?”
“Yeah, I mean, us both being here today. As in, the number of times our paths have crossed is seemingly uncountable. You always had a penchant for getting into trouble, and coming back to our family injured and in need, but now here we are, standing in front of a gate to oblivion, and you aren’t in need anymore are you boy?”
“No, there is nothing funny about this, were our positions reversed, I would say no differently.”
“For all the times you were patched up and sent on your way. For all the time I had to spend cleaning up after your wounds, your broken bones, it is not enough. I looked after you in town, we were friends. I thought I taught you better. Saying nothing is not enough for what you have done. After everything we did to teach you properly, I still cannot get over that it is you of all people here in front of me now.”
“ It changes nothing. When we were younger I didn’t have the benefit of having parents. I had the forest, I had the caves, and I had a town nearby to drag myself back to when I was injured. That town had a healer, a fairly competent one in your mother, and it wasn’t like she could turn me away, so sure our paths crossed, and while your father taught me, he taught me how to cheat and steal good Ser, let us not act like it was teaching out of kindness.”
“Maybe, but the cost is high when you come back mangled time and time again, over and over throughout the years.”
“It was the only way I could pay. Your father used my youth, and he used your mother to do it. I recognized the family name the second I saw you were assigned to the executioners post. Know this is personal, and I will never forgive you for it, but I apologize to you for us being here, in front of this gate. Were I you, I would do the same.”
“Apologize to what, to you? To your unfortunate circumstance? To the fact that you got caught pilfering, and had the benefit of being committed to Service in the capital? I spit on the floor and curse your name.”
“Very well then, understand that due to our history I asked to personally take care of this. Ser Edwin Knotly, By the hand of Ser Ocero, by the will of his Majesty King Malik, and by the sanctity of the lands of Stradyn, I subject you to the Rite of Banishment for committing treason against the lands. For the crimes of assisting the known traitor Edgar Knotly to escape his execution, for all of the deaths caused by the fires he set in watchpost Eastwick, and for his murder of my Liege Lord Knight Iria, your spirit has been sentenced to oblivion via the path of the void gate. May your memory be stricken from the books of honor, and may your living family be free of your influence. May your oblivion come swiftly and without suffering. May those who remember you, recall the good you did. Now please step through the gate”
Crestholme is the land of councils in the center of Stradyn. The Royal Courts, the Royal Guild halls, the Hall of Fallen Heroes, and the King’s council chambers all reside within Adafax Keep in the middle of Scarleton.
While within the borders of Scarleton, the capital of Stradyn, you are able to find your standard fare of seat of the kingdom activity, and structures that reach to the skies. It is the most developed of any settlement within the lands of Stradyn. The land outside of the town’s borders on the other hand is one of stark contrast and beauty, full of sweeping hills and deciduous rain forests. While within the surrounding counties you will find open crags and mountainous regions all around.
Within Crestholme more than any other duchy It is held in an almost surreal belief by the common folk who live on the outskirts of civilization that due to the lack of magical healing the average person doesn’t leave as large a mark on the land as someone whom is kept alive long past when fate pulls upon their strings. Due to this it is common for the people of Crestholme to truly live in the moment. They are far more likely to do something engaging and entertaining than dull and arduous if given the opportunity. It is not to say they are a lazy or unaccomplished lot, but more that when the mandatory work for the day is done, they are off to find adventure and engagement through living life to it’s fullest. This is quite the opposite of those who reside within the capital or any of the major centers of the duchy’s industry. For those who work within the established lands, safety is of utmost concern due to the focus on how every member of the community is important in the advancement of the lands, and this is often repeated through the nobility to every member of their societies.
Annual court is a major event in Crestholme as all of those of Baron or Lord Knight rank and above are requested for a feast to be hosted by the King. Unlike most feasts, these are not for the benefit of the nobility, but for the nobility to come together and prepare everything for the common folk whom are able to make it to the feast. From butchering the animals, to collecting the crops from the market, the nobility takes great pride in conducting every facet of the feast for the benefit of those they ultimately serve, the people of Stradyn. This practice is seen sometimes also on the baronial level, but conducted by Lords, Knights, Squires, and their attending staff. It is not uncommon for a Paragon to attend these events and roll up their sleeves to help out.
King Malik - King Malik is a Dwarven Archmage of the Celestial arts who spent a good portion of their life as a court Lord, and instructor at the Hall of Fallen Heroes before being granted Baronial lands within Gallinholme just before being chosen by the land as King. While it is not uncommon in the history of Stradyn for a King to arise from within the nobility, many of the people of Gallinholme lamented that they were only allowed such a short time being served by King Malik as their Baron as he made quite the positive impression. Always known to have a kind smile, thoughtful words, and a care for the land and people that is unmatched, King Malik has the open support of everyone in the lands.
Lord Knight Prime Devero - The people’s champion, Ser Devero, is a Biata warrior of great renown. Ser Devero has been a knight in service to the lands for the better part of two centuries, and has spent nearly thirty years on the front engaging with Hargroth. When the previous Lord Knight Prime was called to another purpose, Ser Devero was chosen to take the mantle, and began directing a change in tactics that would exchange unimportant land for losing fewer people in the engagements. While Ser Devero’s tactics are widely appreciated from within the peerage, military, and noble courts, the popular opinion of the commoners seems to be waning with each movement of the lines of engagement reported.
Master Ellena - Master Ellena is a timeless Human, an extremely rare condition in which the person ages at a fraction of the speed of others of similar race. Due to the nature of being devoid of magical utility Master Ellena quickly became a prominent Alchemist and Trapsmith, and served under the previous King Iden as one of his personal advisors. Now the Royal Guildmaster of the Engineering Guild, Master Ellena has truly found an area where her expertise can be broadly shared with others.
Master Biggins Orcslayer - Master Biggins Orcslayer is a tribal Archmage of the Earthen arts, as well as the Royal Guildmaster of the Earth Guild. Her family, though having been from Ultus, did not seem to be affected as many others are with the loss of Earthen memory when they migrated into Gallinholme at the turn of the fifth century. Having spent a good amount of her time teaching within the Hall of Fallen Heroes with King Malik, she was an obvious choice for the Royal appointment upon the passing of Ser Merik due to illness in his old age. Since she has become the Royal Guild Mistress she has greatly changed the guilds fee structures, focusing on getting healing to the front lines as cheaply as possible, while not causing detriment to the rest of the lands in the process.
Ser Evan Willsly - Ser Willsly is an ancient, venerable, and cantankerous elf who can often be heard telling embarrassing stories of other court nobles from when they were youths. Royal Guildmaster of the Celestial Guild for the last 300 years, he focusses primarily on keeping the land “extra, sub, and partial planarly free”. While not known to be an Archmage, Ser Willsly is an accomplished formalist, and semi competent battle mage. Though with his fading sight, and penchant for falling asleep during rituals, he is no longer well trusted with either. Even amidst all of his faults, he is well loved by the people, and often puts on grand firework displays at his own personal cost for the children of the land when he travels. It is known that he is nearing the age of passing, but even though he asked to retire he has chosen to stay on through his twilight at the behest of King Malik, for his organizational talents and seemingly perfect memory are unmatched within the kingdom.
Views of other Cultures
Western Stradyn - “ I applaud any who willingly put their lives at risk so that we may enjoy the fruits of the land. You must understand that it is very good to be a landowner, and have many horses, and a veritable stable full of silver, but also we deeply understand that none of that is possible without the sacrifices made by our soldiers out there keeping our lands safe. I personally try to visit the front when I am able to bring cheer and wealth to share with those heroes who would share in my many fancy wines, ales, or meads, as that is how I show my appreciation. Pip pip.” Lord Willshire
Northern Stradyn - “Those farmers sure can put on a good fight! It’s mostly show stuff, not like real fighting, but I tell you, I do I wish I could use a sword like that! Must be all that work they do in their fields that makes them have such strength and control. Sure could use a couple of them farmers when I go exploring the local taverns!” - Sheriff Veraj of Asterdale
Southern Stradyn - “Must be nice to live so close to Ultus. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the land I live in, it’s just, you know, when one of my kids get’s into something funny it costs an arm an a leg to get ‘em sorted out again. It’s not like they don’t have their own problems what with all that space down there, and I definitely don’t want these little troublemakers anywhere near that voidgate, but truth be told, I would sure give my fair share to be out there in the wild, free as a bird without a care in the world.” Goodman Mordeves Journeyman Blacksmith of Crescent Rock
Ultus - “Could you imagine the things we could do to fight the enemy if they would just mobilize their earth guild?! I cannot believe that we even do business with them on account that they are basically leaving us hanging out here. But who am I to push back. I mean sure, they sell at a fair price, but I mean come on! What are they waiting for, us to fall?” Squire Tibbault
Garalta - “We had a Garaltan delegate come through here one time. Seems like they got a bit of a law problem up there, everything seemed so harsh. I mean, spit the wrong way and it’s a capital punishment. I don’t know how they all get along up there, but it sounds like a way worse fate than having to fight, but retaining your liberties. To each in their capacity I guess.” Baron Nigel Longshadow, Royal Court Justice
Miloa - “Those Miloans seem just so out of place. It’s as if they have resigned themselves to accepting the role of guardian over a puppy they don’t want, but goodness me, don’t accidentally threaten that puppy, hands all start flaring up with energy and whatnot. Nice enough folk I am sure, but wouldn’t want to be drunk around one” Goodman Eldrin Cloudsbane, Local Farmer
Hargroth - “The problem with Hargroth is that we are sure there are still people there. We know there are secret communities that are just waiting for the day we are able to push in and rescue them from their life of fear and subjugation. There are vampires who don’t want to be Vampires. Werewolves who would give anything to live a normal life. All of the things that could be helped if only there was a way for us to take the fight to them, unfortunately we have never been able to get more than a couple ships on their coastline at a time. While that may work great for stealthy solutions, you can’t win a war from across the sea. Not to mention they have a Dragon. While I don’t know if the former King, Iden, was a Dragon or not I do know that as long as he was on the throne we never saw an army on our shores.” Count Lizzabella of Ridgedale