Aldora is a province of the Turamzzyrian Empire.
- A gold ram's head facing left within a crown on a field of two horizontal black and white lines
"The importance of wool to Aldora's existence is one that cannot be underestimated, and the fine weaving of the region has made Aldora a household name across the empire. Thus, the Aldorans adopted a great level of appreciation for their woolly charges. The crest was modified not long after the Chandrennin family fell from power in Tamzyrr to reflect the family's history as rulers of the empire and their goal to regain that prestige. The most recent modification was made by the father of Duke Bannon Chandrennin to change the field to the colors of the Order of Voln, reflecting the important position the order holds in the southern province due to its assistance against the Horned Cabal."— Culoney of Hendor, The Crests of the Turamzzyrian Empire
Aldora is dominated by the Gattrof mountains, a wide, low range which occupies the eastern half of the Duchy. The west of the Duchy is inhospitable hills, broken by an occasional oasis-like valley, the largest of which is the Valley of Hourouth. Aldora is land-locked.
Aldora has very little farm land, but the hilly terrain provides exceptional grazing for the mountain goats and sheep that are abundant there. The storms that sweep up from the southwest have made the hills rocky and barren, while the protected valleys flourish and produce some rare plant life. The climate is hot and harsh.
Elstreth is situated in the Valley of Hourouth between the Gattrof mountains to the east, and a range of hills to the west. It is the garden spot of Aldora, and is rich compared to the rest of the Duchy. Elstreth has high walls and strong fortifications. Miles of shanties have sprung up outside the walls, full of people making their living on the vast amount of trade coming through the Duchy's hub. Elstreth also hosts a satellite college of the Hall of Mages in Tamzyrr.
The House of the Paladin, a temple built in honor of Voln, was founded in Elstreth as Voln's faithful surged in the face of numerous conflicts with the Horned Cabal. Unlike many of the more influential families within the Empire, the Chandrennins, led by the aging Duke Bannon Chandrennin, are devout followers of Voln. Here, more than any other of the southern territories, ordlyn and hathlyn are considered equals, or nearly so, to the human majority, as Voln's brotherhood finds worth in any who would take their endless cause against the undead.
Weaving houses are found throughout Aldora, and the Duchy is well known for its skilled crafters of brocade cloth. Dyes for the cloth are imported from the Duchy's coastal neighbors, and the cloths are traded throughout the Empire, bringing much needed iron in return.
Aldora is famed for its magnificent wineries, as the Duchy is perfect for grape-growing. The region has become most renown for its riesling and champagne.
As well as the traditional methods of empathy and herbal remedy, some of the healers of Aldora practice an art called stone-tending to care for the sick. This complex belief holds that illnesses are caused by a division between the waters and the airs in a person's body, and that proper application of aspects of the earth can reunite these two forces. A stone-tender will give instructions as to how certain gems must be placed on a person's body and for what periods of time to relieve the illness. The most expensive stone-tenders use emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds, while less skilled (and affluent) stone-tenders treat illnesses with quartz, peridot, and spinels and tourmalines of various hues.
"While devoutness varies from individual to individual, those lands that still recall the Kannalan tongue are considered more sincere than most. Much of the old language is steeped in the words and phrases of worship. Of particular note are the people of Aldora and Trauntor, those provinces that directly border the Southron Wastes. In these lands, much prayer has been offered for protection from the unknown and the known that inhabit those terrible neighboring lands. Commonly worn are prayer bands woven of the abundant wool in the region and worn on the arm. Prayer bands may be unique to the wearer or generic and sold by merchants at festivals or before temples and shrines. Upon them are woven prayers to the wearer's chosen god or goddess, and these bands are touched when making a prayer, be it a quick or lengthy one.
As suppressed as worship of the dark gods is in the capital of the empire, for particular gods of Lornon, it has been driven underground if not quenched completely in Aldora. The decades long assault by the Horned Cabal has resulted in any Lornon god associated with the undead as unwelcome in the land overseen by the Chandrennin dukes. Vocal supporters of Luukos are expelled, if not executed. For those followers of the gods of the Lornon moon who are not associated with the undead, they are relegated to the alleyways and dark places of Elstreth. The same is true for most of the great cities of the empire. Beyond that city’s massive walls, Lornon worship is virtually unknown and remains underground.
The presence of the Imperial garrisons along the southern mountain lands has resulted in a boost to Kai worship alongside the more native faiths of the provinces. Many a garrison will have a shrine to the Liabo god adjacent to the dedicated Koar shrine. Not present are those shrines to V'tull. Among the soldiers of the Empire, that Lornon god is not welcomed and any compatriot found to prayer or worship him are immediately cast out of their respective company. There is no place for a soldier who might be overcome by that god's bloodlust, and thus, becomes an unpredictable and dangerous. Some veterans have confided that in those rare instances where troops are at the point of defeat, there have been plenty of battlefield pleas to the dark god regardless of feelings elsewhere."
Southern Order of Voln
"The Southern Order of Voln is in fact a handful of monasteries in the south region of the Turamzzyrian Empire that have united under an agreement known as the Righteous Indenture, which came into effect in the year 5024 shortly after the conflict and tragedy surrounding the Battle of Skyreach. These monasteries in the south have all been aligned with the Grand Master of the House of the Paladin in Elstreth, and both respect and adhere to his orders and requests. This unification was created to allow for better cooperation and a more efficient response to the dangers posed by the Horned Cabal. Much of its premise and focus is centered more on military action, both offensive and defensive, against the darkness of the Horned Cabal, and spend less time focused on theological matters.
The Southern Order of Voln, more of a conglomerate of monasteries bound with one unified goal and voice, have found great success in recent times in their efforts against the Horned Cabal and have been heavily praised and funded by the Chandrennin family in Aldora. It is said that more imperial youths are signing up for service among the Southern Order of Voln, at three times the rate of those enlisting in the imperial armies. Because of this, many think the Chandrennins have a heavy sway with the direction of the Southern Order of Voln, but many will argue it is in fact the reverse, that the Grand Master of the House of the Paladin is one of the most powerful and influential men in all of Aldora."— Lord Brieson Cassle of Highmount, Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire
"The House of the Paladin is the largest Voln monastery in the southern empire and is housed within the Duchy of Aldora in the capital city of Elstreth. Its prime benefactor is the Chandrennin family, where the Duke himself has placed heavy focus and contributions to the order. There is no greater enemy to Aldora than the Horned Cabal, and no greater ally than the Order of Voln. While the House of the Paladin operates as both a center for research and training, it too has facets created to help physically combat against the undead and darkness of the Horned Cabal's armies. One specific, more well-known branch, is that of the White Fists, a group of zealous Voln monks mostly comprised of Halluckites and a few Dandrellians.
Because of the scale being tipped towards the philosophical position of the Halluckites, the monks of the White Fists face not only combat against the undead minions of the Horned Cabal, but their goal is also to target the living supporters of the Lornon Arkati such as Luukos and Sheru. Their belief is that to release the undead merely peels bark from the tree, while vanquishing those who do the service of the dark gods strikes at the roots. While some of the House of Paladin do not necessarily subscribe to that concept as the White Fists, they still tolerate the existence of their more militant brothers, for Lord Voln blesses all of their endeavors equally.
It is said that Duke Chandrennin is heavily influenced by the Grand Master of the House of the Paladin, which has allowed Chaston's Edict to become almost non-existent throughout Aldora, and tolerance for non-humans has spread due to the Order of Voln's work in the region. It is because of this acceptance and righteous mission that orders such as the White Fists have grown in number over recently years, as non-humans have found a new home in service to the fight against evil.
Their symbol is of a white fist on a field of black."— Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire
Order of the Night's Blade
"In the year 4993, a time of change and conflict swept across Elstreth in the Duchy of Aldora. For too long, the citizens of Elstreth knew too well the struggle against the undead minions of the Horned Cabal. It was because of this constant danger that the Order of Voln swelled in numbers throughout the city and region, proving to be a powerful and critical defense against the unholy scourge. As a direct result of the valiant efforts of the Order of Voln, racial tensions slowly faded in the area, and while pockets of it still exist today, it is no where near the levels of the past. The Order of Voln was blind to race, and so many ordlyn and elves joined its ranks, fighting and dying for the safety of Aldora and its people. In time, the entire slave market of Elstreth collapsed, and only criminals remained in chains and service.
But in the endless battles against the Horned Cabal, it was not those loyal to Voln alone who rose to fight, defend, and die. In the winter of 5022, in the aftermath of the conflicts of the Battle of Tyllan and the Battle of Skyreach, a new order of Ronan was formed from many of the survivors of both events. They took upon the name of the Order of the Night's Blade, reconfirming their commitment to Ronan and their dedication to fight against the undead, terrors, and nightmares of the world. The Night's Blades have worked frequently with the Order of Voln near Immuron, as they both fight to combat the horrors creeping from the depths of the Wizardwaste.
In recent history, due to the ever spreading darkness of evil, the Order of the Night's Blade turned their eyes also to the north, slowly building up awareness and forces in those regions as they maintained their defense, in alliance with the Order of Voln, against the minions of the Horned Cabal.
Their symbol is of a black sword on a field of silver and white."— Orders of the Turamzzyrian Empire
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