Orithia- Skull & Shackles
Far to the south of Salamonis, across the seas lies the continent of Rosaia, making up this large landmass are a number of nations both large and small. Rosaia is widely believed to be the cradle of Human civilisation and the vast majority of people living here are Human. One of the oldest of these nations is Alhan.
Alhan is a frontier country to the south of Eáldîm and Valonia. It’s culture is very combat-orientated and it’s people enjoy violence and warfare, but lament death. They see war as a way of proving their bravery and prowess and so frequently practice their martial abilities. Death on the battlefield is seen as the highest honour a warrior can attain.
Alhan’s most famous and well-loved sport though is Pit Fighting. All kinds of violent and/or bloody sports are engaged in amongst the larger cities of the realm. Bets are placed by eager citizens and visitors alike. The blood sports have, in recent years proven to be Alhan’s most profitable income source also. This is reason Alhan refuses to stop its sports, despite requests from other countries to cease hosting such events because of their inhumane and violent nature. This refusal is not simply the stubbornness of the Alhane government, but the will of the people as well. Over the years as Alhan has discovered more and more different cultures and different forces in the world, it has developed many different pit fights. Now, they have Eáldîm style ‘Jousting’ competitions, martial arts sparring, magical duels and the popular team based ‘hunter-slayer’ games where teams of skilled hunters and stealthers track each other through the wilderness. Anybody with any amount of skill can participate in the Pit Fights.
Alhan’s geography is very mountainous and the winters can be icy bitter, but during the summer months the climate is fairly temperate. The mountains of Alhan yield a large amount of precious minerals. These are often exported to other countries and sold for a high price.
Because of its proximity to the Southern Ice Plains, Alhan is heavily influenced by the Orc and Barbarian tribes who reside there. Many barbarian raiding parties cross the mountain paths and attack settlements, but the Alhane army sees this as a great way to pit their skills against like-minded warriors. In Alhan, Orcs and other Tribal races are held in a certain ‘respect’ for their love for, and ability to fight. Though this ‘respect’ is more like the begrudged respect that a King might hold for his bitter enemy. Half-orcs are accepted much more in this area than most other places in the world. They are human enough to be allowed certain rights and Orc enough to be given respect for their strength. As long as they behave themselves they are welcome to stay in the cities, especially if they participate in the Pit Fights. Other monstrous races such as Ogres, Hobgoblins and Bugbears are also found in much higher numbers in Alhane settlements than might be expected.
The capital city of Alhan is Fang. Akin to a Dwarven fortress, it is built into a small mountain which stands aside from the rest of the range like a protruding tooth. The mountain itself is shaved flat on the top with a huge angular hollow almost like a volcano. The city of Fang is built into the sheer inner surfaces of the mountain. Watch towers and smoke chimneys from the forges below rise out of the flat top of the mountain where there is a crenelated stone wall running around the edge. On the central valley floor, there is a small village area with many merchant shops. This is where the Pit Fights take place and also where visitors are led deeper into the stronghold.
In actual fact, a lot of the inner tunnels and caverns of Fang were crafted by Dwarves a long time ago for the King of Alhan. At the time, Fang was but a village at the base of the mountain. But the people of the village discovered a path leading into the hollow inside. As a reward for saving his son, an ancient Dwarf king gifted the leader of the village with a team of Dwarven miners and craftsmen, who carved small caverns into the base of the mountain, where the people could shelter in times of need. The leader of the village then decided to enlarge the caverns, and so down the generations of leaders, father would request of son to finish the job of carving out the entire of the mountain for use as a Fortress. And so the current ruler of Alhan, a certain Lord Bjørnstenn has come closer than ever to realising his dynasty’s dream. He has built great weapons along the side of the mountain for use in a defensive action and with the encroaching Capitavirate armies threatening the Alhane border he might just get a chance to use them.
At war, Alhan is a terrifying foe. Able to employ large numbers of skilled warriors all in heavy armour with high quality weapons it out-equips its enemies and usually out-numbers them as well. Their favoured tactic is to lure the enemy into a narrow space between hills, forests or similar terrain. The lines of infantry hold their ground while large numbers of mounted Knights circle the enemy and surprise them from the flank or rear.
Being a highly mercantile and quite rich country, Alhan can often afford to hire quite specialised mercenary to supplement its own army. Regiments of Dwarfs riding rhinoceroses, cadres of spellcasters or exotic artillery from Tsagara or Namang can make devastating weapons in a large scale war. Clerics (particularly of Kord or St. Cuthbert) usually accompany large armies to distribute healing to the Alhane soldiers and holy retribution to their enemies. A covenant of clerics once famously followed a large Alhane army to war. The army was laying to siege to a mighty fortress to the west (believed to be owned by Kepik). Along the way, the enemy had laid countless ambushes and small skirmishes to slow down and harry the Alhane army. The clerics followed a distance behind the main army and as they passed the places where Alhane soldiers had fought, they resurrected or healed the fallen warriors. By the time the army had reached the fortress, it was at half its original size, and looked certain to lose the battle. Then, the Clerics turned up with a huge regiment of resurrected warriors. They led the charge and turned the tide of the battle.
Spellcasting in Alhan follows a similar system to Eáldîm, where ordained Priests of recognised faiths can freely cast divine magic. Arcane spellcasters are not trusted, the people of Alhan being very superstitious and hateful of ‘witches’ and ‘mindreaders’. Arcane magic is not illegal however, but practitioners tend to not last long when defending themselves in a legal dispute.