Recent Events in the Kingdom of Mithria
What follows is a speech given by the Elf Edirion, Lord of Ithalliel, at the Great Conclave:
“All is not well in the Kingdom of Mithria, and our people are today faced with many threats.
The King, who was well respected if not well loved, has been dead a dozen years, and rule of the Kingdom has been in the hands of the Queen Regent until the young son and heir of the King reaches the age of majority. But the Queen Regent’s concerns have been primarily concerned with court intrigue and consolidating her own position, not with ruling the Kingdom. She has largely abandoned the capital, favoring her country estates, where she has carefully juggled many suitors over the years, mostly ambitious nobles. Only lately has she seemed to settle on the worst one possible to be her Royal Consort. These days, there is little hope that the King’s heir will be allowed to rule except as a puppet, if he is allowed to rule, or live, at all.
Amidst all these happenings, the Queen’s eldest child, the older sister of the heir apparent, has been left to her own devices in the capital. Tales of her excesses and cruelty grow wilder with each passing month, and the once proud city lies under a pall of fear and uncertainty. If the stories being told are true, it is just as dangerous to be a friend of the Princess as it is to be her enemy.
Meanwhile, the day to day operations of the Kingdom have been left to those who are deemed safe to wield such power. Sadly, such decisions have been based solely on loyalty and favor, not ability. With the rule of the country unwisely left in the hands of those more concerned about their own wealth and position than peace and justice, arbitrary rule and corruption have become widespread. Brutality, oppression, and thievery are more and more becoming the order of the day. Many local Lords have taken on Kingly airs, and care little for what goes on beyond their lands, much less for the state of affairs in the rest of the Kingdom. Meanwhile, piracy and banditry have also been on the rise, and rumors of strange creatures lurking in the dark corners of the Kingdom are more widespread than ever…
The Humans who reside in Marda and in the Laakso river valley live in uncertainty and discontent. Their numbers are vast, and their feelings are turning against the Elder Races who are their neighbors.
If the Queen Regent cannot restore order on her own, I fear that she may whip these ill feelings up against our peoples. We will become the focal point for their hatred and frustration – and thus may Mithrian unity be achieved by our destruction. Already Elves and Dwarves are harassed, hunted, and subject to imprisonment and torture in the lands controlled by New Men.
And even if the Queen Regent cannot or does not inspire a campaign against us, the status quo cannot be permitted to stand. If the authority of the crown fails and Mithria devolves into a land of countless squabbling and battling baronies, we may still be eliminated in the resultant chaos. Or otherwise, if the Queen Regent’s weakness is recognized by an opportunistic foreign foe, Mithria may very well fall under the sword of a conquering invader, and again our lives and livelihoods will be at risk, and the possibility that the last safe place in all of Adara will be lost.
Several options lie open to us. First of all, we must reach out to others of our kind, and to the Dwarves and the High Men, and yea, even to those New Men who would count themselves as among those called ‘Elf-Friend’. We must reach out to all those people and make our fears and our plight known to them, for in remaining silent, we cannot hope to gain their aid. We must establish discourse with them wherever they may be in this land and secure their understanding and cooperation.
Secondly, we must plead our case to those noble houses of Mithrian Lords who do not hate the old races of Adara and who would stand against the tyranny of the Queen Regent in the name of peace and justice.
Already threats from without pit themselves against us as well. Reports of increasing Skaldic activity continue to reach my ears. Their raids are evermore bold, and they reach further and further inland, threatening Elvish settlements as never before.
If this were not bad enough, the threats from within also include the reemergence of Goblin kind, who have always made it a special point to target our folk. They have not been seen or heard from in centuries, and yet now, of all times, they are amongst us once more.
We must act. We must put aside our complacency and commit ourselves to saving Mithria. By saving the Kingdom that has sheltered us for so long, so shall we save ourselves.
I ask for your help.
So rise up! Rise up and join me, and my kin in our effort to save our Kingdom, our home, our people.
You must decide. Each must do this or not of his or her own free will. For those who wish to join us, come to me here again on the morrow and we will begin work. Meanwhile, I leave you this night to discuss and decide. You have my thanks.”
More of Mithria…
Mithria is a somewhat smallish kingdom, lying on the fringes of the stronger, more central kingdoms of Adara. Nonetheless, it is not some bleak borderland as one might expect. Mithria has a long and distinguished history, and a strong cultural tradition as well. Literature, song, folklore, and fables are part of the common consciousness of its people, and which are all proudly reflected in Mithria’s strong tradition of civic theater.
Being made up primarily of those of Skaldic lineage (and speaking old Soric), Mithria maintains a proud warrior tradition. Though never conquerers of others, Mithrians have famously resisted many invasions, and are renowned as dogged defenders of their lands and their freedom. And even when the inevitable absorption into the Vindolian Empire occurred, Mithria’s legions rose to be known as some of the Empire’s most exalted fighters (Mithria even supplied the Later Vindolian Empire with two of its more illustrious dynasties).
Even today, martial tradition in Mithria is strong. Those trained in warfare combine a broad appreciation for tactics with the wide reading of classical treatises on war by Mithrian and foreign authorities alike. In addition to its fine army, Mithria also maintains a shipshape navy. Strict martial discipline and cohesion is observed in both branches of the military, and Mithria is well known for its execution of long developed rules of plunder during punitive incursions, thus making invaders pay heavily for daring to violate Mithrian territory.
Mithrians as a group are proud of their culture, their history, and their military tradition. Indeed, one could describe them as patriotic. Though to outsiders they have been known to be arrogant, they are also known to be inquisitive, and while Mithrians do not easily accept the ways of the foreigner, they do not shy away from befriending those from other lands.
Sadly, were it not situated at a natural nautical crossroads, Mithria might well today be considered a backwater. Indeed, Mithria is a waning state; its influence lies mainly in the information it comes across due to its geographical position as a natural trading-post. These days, when the folk of Adara speak of great affairs of state, or of coups in diplomacy and commerce, or of invention and scholarship, or of the mighty and glorious deeds of powerful kings or queens, or of the grandeur of palaces and courts of glorious rulers, it is not the land of Mithria of which they speak. And the recent political deterioration has not helped the situation. All know that the kingdom is fraught with rebellious elements, and that the law of the Queen Regent is upheld scarcely beyond the limits of the capital city, Marda.
The Geography of Mithria
Mithria is a peninsula which sprouts northwards from the Widowmaker Mountains, which form the kingdom’s southern border. From these mountains flows the nation’s only major river, the mighty Lakso, which winds northwards, and then east to the sea, where lies the capital city of Marda. This long and fertile river valley is where most of the population of Mithria can be found. In the Lakso Valley, which is the bread-basket of the nation, wheat and grains are grown in abundance; indeed, these crops are the kingdom’s only export of any significance.
While the mountain ranges technically belong to Mithria’s southern neighbor, the kingdom possesses the fertile foothills that reach down from those peaks, and which form a spine of low-lying hills that wind northward up the peninsula. But Mithria is primarily known for two things: one – its magnificent coast, and secondly, its vast tracts of timber. Woods fairly blanket the small kingdom, from the pleasant copses in the east, to the deep and extensive woods that range up and down the kingdom along either side of the Hills of Thorns. On the one hand, the woods provide the kingdom’s great shipbuilding center on west coast, Nulth, with more than enough material to suit its needs, and they also provide a home for the kingdom’s rather impressive population of Elves. On the other hand, the vast forests provide plenty of hiding places for rebels, bandit gangs, highwaymen, and other strange creatures of a less than savory nature. It is also rumored by many that if one seeks long enough in the deep woods, the legendary Oracle of Mithria can be found.
Mithria is a kingdom of primarily of New Men. While High Men can still be found here and there (particularly in the northern town of Dorring, where dwells a large enclave of them), New Men make up the vast majority of the populace. Indeed, ever since the last vassal-lords of the Vindolians were overthrown, the sovereigns of Mithria have ever been from dynasties comprised of New Men. Most New Men can be found in settlements along the Lakso River, and of course the great city of Marda is teeming with them. Marda is a vast, sprawling city, the royal seat, and home to many bored, jaded sybarites of noble houses who spread their gossip and plot their intrigues.
Some Dwarves there are in the Hills of Thorn and in the foothills of the Widowmaker Mountains, and many small enclaves of Elves live in the deep forests. These folk, by tradition, all recognize the sovereign of Mithria as their Lord, but do so without paying him homage or tribute. And for their own part, the kings of Mithria have gratefully accepted this status quo, and have never tried to impose their will or law on the Elves or Dwarves, and nor require that they pay taxes or provide soldiers for the levy. So far it has been a happy arrangement where each side largely ignores the other.