The following is taken from a college school textbook published in Endromis, a copy of which sits on a coffee table in the Ghotba's Arn Hotel in Packesh, and is entitled, Nations of Clarus, first edition published in 2403 AE.
To understand the origins of modern Weiland, its laws, and its relationship to the princedoms they call the Dukedoms, we must understand the plight of the people of that land during the Dark Ages. In 1487, when Gelden brought his army into the heart of the Encircling Mountains, the Weilandic Empire under Her Royal Magesty Queen Anne was at the height of its power and extent. Queen Anne ruled from the seat of her government in Chichester on the west coast of Idonius. In the reign of her mother, Queen Greta, the great nation of Mareo had fallen to Weiland. The final battle was fought in Varay, under the leadership of her husband, General Arnold. In the time of Queen Anne, the empire stretched north across the Kubla Steppes to the Arctic, east across the Tamaran desert to Anon, and south to Siam and the coast of Nubia. With the exception of a few mountainous islands of independence at the center of Idonius, and the pestilent jungle and mountains of south-western Idonius, the Peace of Weiland governed the life of every living person upon Idonius. Even the island of Goss was under Weilandic rule.
The monarchs of Weiland were always women, as they are today. But in those days the monarch held real power. Their husbands were often commanders in chief of the army, but only a woman could hold the scepter. The queen was the executive branch of government, while the Chamber of Dukes and the Chamber of Burghers were the legislative branches. No queen could have the name of another previous queen, so their names were various, as were those of the queen's younger sisters and cousins. In the end, girls in line for the throne would have two unusual middle names, one of which could be picked if she came to the throne. At the time of the queen's death, the chamber of dukes would choose the next queen from among the first sixteen women over the age of thirty in line for the throne by a sequence of votes following presentations from pairs of candidates. The process was like an elimination tournament. The assigning of the pairs was done at random with a deck of cards.
According to legend, Gelden opened a door in space and brought his army of ten thousand orcs onto Clarus in the desert north of what are now called the Encircling Mountains to the east of Mareo. His power was that he could transport armies from one place to another as through a door in space, and supplies for those armies even more easily than the armies themselves. Some historians, however, claim that Gelden had no such power himself, but rather was favored by more powerful beings with a magical device that could create such doorways. The device might have come from a Daemon of Nightmare, or a Dragon. Regardless of where Gelden acquired his power, there is no doubt of its effect: his armies could move across deserts and mountains at will, and this made his orcs invincible.
When it arrived, Gelden's army encountered outposts of the Weilandic army, and swept these aside. They entered the mountains, which hide a fertile and easily-defended plateau. Here they captured and enslaved the sapien population. These poor souls died of the plague before they could live out more than a few miserable months under the yoke of their hellish masters. It was from the death of these slaves that Gelden learned of the power of the diseases that his army had brough with them from the pits of Hell. The land within the mountains is what we now call Gelden. It is a land poisoned by its dark history.
Queen Anne ordered six divisions to invade and destroy Gelden's orcs. Even though they were outnumbered three to one, the orcs prevailed. The retreating Weilandic divisions brought with them a disease. They were forced into quaranteen in the desert to the south of the Encircling Mountains, and here many of them died, but by this quaranteen, the Queen stopped the plague from spreading through the empire, at least for a time. Instead of attempting another invation, she built a ring of forts around the mountains, and a well ten meters high out of stone and bricks. During Queen Anne's rule, this wall was manned at all times by six divisions of infantry, and they stood ready to repel the orcs should they attempt to leave.
In the reign of Queen Anne's neice, Queen Delila, the Encircling Wall continued to be manned, but towards the end of his rule, he reduced the number of division from six to three. The same trend continued in the decades that followed, because the orcs showed no sign of forming armies or leaving their mountains. In Mareo, orphaned orcs were being raised by good families, and they did not seem evil, nor were they diseased. As a result of some unions between orcs and sapiens, some full-blooded orc children were born to couples in Mareo, and this provoded much discussion in the Empire. After the death of Queen Delila, the wall began to fall into disrepair, and it was manned by only one division.
Over a century passed from the time of Gelden's arrival to the time he struck. Humanity's generous picture of the orcish character was shattered at one stroke in 1593, when the orc army emerged at night from Gelden and invaded Mareo. The Weilandic army stood its ground in Mareo for a year, which allowed it time to bring reinforcements from other parts of the empire. But at the end of that year, the Weilanders were defeated in the Battle of the Long Hills and driven back at great loss. What was left of them retreated to the west, beyond Callissa, persued by Gelden, suffering further losses and capture, until the remnants were picked up by ships on the coast. Gelden turned his armies around and led them across Idonius to Weiland, conquering all parts of the empire in his path, spreading disease, and decimating the sapien population. He left behind him two islands of resistance: Varay and Callissa. These quaranteened themselves behind mountains and swamps, and withstood the efforts of the orcs left stationed in Mareo to displace them. The dwarves of the Star Mountains, Gelden enslaved to be his armorers. But the dwarves of the Iron Mountains defended themselves and supplied Varay with arms.
It was the seat of the Weilandic Empire that drew Gelden east, for it was his ambition to sit upon that throne and to call the Weilandic Empire his own, and so to demonstrate the power and majesty of his race, and that of the common orcs. But he did not go quickly. He consolidated his gains and allowed his people to multiply. It may be that he could have reached Weiland in a single year if he had wished to, but such was not his choice. Perhaps he relished the war, and wished it to continue for as long as possible, knowing that his vitory was assured by his army that fought at night, which he could move by his sorcery from one place to another at will, and supply with food anywhere they might be. As he went east the Empire gathered its strength for the defence of its homeland, and its armies fought with grim determination knowing that their families depended upon them. Gelden crossed the Stehyd desert in 1599 and defeated the Weilandic Army in the foothills of the Trukulent mountains. In 1602 his forces appeared on the other western shore of the Satian Sea and drove the Weilanders northwards. In 1607 he captured the valley of the River Thebes, and so enslaved the people of Sax.
There now passed forty years during which Gelden extended his empire south into Isikoss, and north to the Arctic. He gave his empire a name: The Rule of Iron, and he drew up laws for its governance. He starved Weiland of trade, but he declared a truce with them at the same time. He often parlayed with Queen Edith of Weiland, suggesting that she take him as her husband. On one notable occasion in 1623, he demonstrated his power by appearing within the Queen's court with a thousand orc infantry, presented the Queen with a flower, and then vanished as he had arrived.
The Queen was tall and beautiful and dark-skinned from the union of her father with a Nubian princess. It may be that Gelden fostered genuine affection for her. The Queen was unmarried and fifty-six years old at the time, but was still regarded as a beauty by her people. Rumor had it that Gelden would appear in her bedchamber at night, and that she allowed him to do so by means of an amulet she wore about her neck. This rumor was the death of her in the end, for in 1646 she was assassinated, and her first cousin, Queen Lobelia, took the throne amid a hurried selection by a government desperate for a ruler who would lead Weiland's armies to vanquish the orcs and restore the empire. But such hopes were in vain. Only Edith had stood between Gelden and the throne of Weiland. Lobelia sat upon it for six months. When Gelden learned of the death of Edith, he declared war upon Weiland, and his forces invaded from a mountain pass west of Chichester in the spring of 1647. On July 13th 1647, he slew Lobelia with his bare hands, declaring her the agent of Edith's death, and threw her corps aside to sit upon the throne himself. By good fortune, it had been made outsized, so it could accommodate his great frame, and here he remained for the rest of his life, as Emporer of Idonius, the first and only man to sit upon the throne in its long and illustrious history.
Weiland was enslaved, as were sapiens all over Idonius. There were a few islands of resistance, where rebels and escaped slaves might find safety. These were Varay and Callissa in the west of Gelden's Empire. Why it is that they should have been allowed to survive is a mystery to many historians. Without doubt, the might of Gelden's armies could have taken Varay, had they wished to. It may be that Gelden thought it best to have some remaining sapien enemies upon which to exercise his troops. The elf sorcerers of Callissa he appears to have respected, because he dealt fairly with them, and their defencse were formidable, if not impregnable. It was within the mountains of Callissa that wizards emerged among escaped slaves. Archmage Ferdinand Anhel founded the first school of wizardry in 1784, shortly before his death in 1786. There were other islands too: Faerian in the north was an elf kingdom, and Gelden could not approach it because of the power of elf sorcerers such as Frloatud Srea, who could conjure storms violent enough to wipe out an army. In the center of Idonius there was a nation called Beanon where heroes of the sapien resistance chose to live, and were able to defend themselves against attack with the help of the Gods and their own prowess.
But the nations around the Satian Sea, within the Kratanak Mountains, and the homeland of the Weilandic Empire itself on the eastern coast of Idonius were enslaved. As in the west, the dwarves were driven out of their mountain cities by goblins. There were a few, small, islands of resistance, such as the underground city of Samothraki in what is now the southern border of the Dukedom of Plantinak. But apart from these few, small bands of rebels, the people of these sapien nations were slaves, and without exception the institutions of their government were destroyed, to be replaced by Rule of Iron. And so these people remained for sixteen generations: slaves of the orcs. At first, half of them died of disease. Of those that remained, any who had the spirit to defy their new masters were worked to death in mines. The sick and the weak were executed. Sapiens lived in terror of their masters, and only through abject obedience did they survive. By the twentieth century, they had no memory of their past, no thought of any life other than as slaves to the orcs. There was one notable and important exception to this complete loss of culture. The nation of Belgorash, for example, was always a nation of scholars, and at the approach of Gelden's armies, it hid its most valuable books, and the people succumbed without fighting, and clung to their traditions rather than their freedom, and never forgot their past. Indeed, when they were finally free of the orcs, they were able to revive the history of humanity in that region, and give the new sapien nations some basis upon which to build anew their courts and governments.
Gelden died in 1705. He was succeeded by his son. In 1865, Olympia allowed the summoning of goods, medicine, and even soldiers to Clarus. With summoning to help them, sapien rebels began to cause the empire more difficulty, especially in the west. The emporer in the east was seen by the west to be corrupt, cruel, and degenerate. In 1903, Endan forces invaded the mainland for the first time. They were repelled in 1905. In 1907, the eastern half of the Rule of Iron declared itself separate from the western, and named itself the True Empire of Gelden. A civil war followed, in which the True Empire of Gelden was victorious, but weakened. In 1913, Endromis invaded again, and they continued to invade, free slaves, withdraw, and invade again, for the rest of the twentieth century, gathering strength as they did so. In 1932, the Endans won the Battle of Anuxis in a valley of the Long Hills, near where the army of Weiland had been defeated centuries before. Tens of thousands of orcs were slaughtered. Although the Endans withdrew from the Long Hills, and the battle between the True Empire of Gelden continued for another fifty years, this battle marked the turning point in the struggle between sapiens and orcs in the west. From then on, the orcs were moving, raiding, and defending in an effort to stay alive. By 1983, the Endan armies, with freed slaves, Varayans, and wizards to help them, had forced what was left of the True Empire of Gelden into the region now known as the Western Outlands, but formerly known as Mareo. Here the Endans and their allies kept the orcs constrained. They allowed them to live in peace, so that they would not break out and disrupt the re-building of nations that was going all over the western continent.
Meanwhile, The Rule of Iron in the east was invaded by two armies sent by the gods. One sailed from Nubia and the another from Calipan. Within a year, the Rule of Iron had collapsed. Its orcs withdrew into the Kratanak Mountains and here they defended themselves and could not be moved. Thus it was the black-skinned people of Nubia and the half-animal monsters of Calipan who freed the people of western Idonius from the rule of orcs, and in gratitude for this deed, the liberators were given land to live in. The Nubians live in the Varmillian and Roden mountains. The Calipanti live in the desert between Sax and the ocean, and between Weiland and Issikoss. And so it was that Weiland was at last freed from the yoke of slavery, and emerged to be reborn as the nation we see today.
The Reconciliation Treaty, ratified on January 1st, 2000 in Claran years, brought peace between orcs and sapiens. The Endans had done their best to wipe out the orcs, but had failed. In the final years of the nineteenth century, they had settled upon a policy of containment. The same had come to pass in the east, where the orcs were protected by the Kratanak Mountains. With this treaty, the Princes of Hell took responsibility for the orcs, so that they would not threaten sapiens again.
Weiland is the nation between the Kratanak Mountains and the ocean. The territory between the mountains and the Satian Sea was part of the Weilandic Empire, but not of Weiland itself. When the orcs withdrew, the people of Belgorash dug up their buried libraries and set up their government and culture much as it had been before the Dark Ages. In this they had the help of their Goddesss Polyamen. Freed sapiens travelled hundreds of kilometers to come to Belgorash and learn about the history of their lost nations. The Gods and Godesses, and the Pantheons of Olympia were active in their encouragement of such study, and active in their assistance in re-building sapien society. At this time, the Clerics of the Pantheon of Weiland began to appear, dispensing medicine and advice from the Gods.
In the year 2047, the Constitution of Weiland was drafted and adopted by the Nation of Weiland. The government of Weiland would not be a democracy of all adults, but a democracy of land-owners. And so it has remained ever since. These land-owners elect representatives called Lords, who sit in the House of Lords, and are presided over by a monarch, the Queen of Weiland, and by cleric, the Archbishop of the Pantheon of Weiland. The Queen and Archbishop both have the power to veto legistlation for four weeks, and by agreeing with one another they can dissolve the House of Lords and force a new election. But neither Queen nor Archbishop has the power of a true monarch. The power resides in the hands of the land-owners, even the owner of a shack in the forest counts as such and may vote. Taxes are levied only upon land. There are no taxes upon income.
The Dukedoms of Weiland were a people in confusion at the end of the Dark Ages. They still battled with orcs emerging from the Kratanak Mountains. They had no strong cultural history to guide them in the creation of a new nation. Principalities sprung up all across the region. Chiefs of slaves assumed control over their comrades. They warred with one another almost from the day of their liberation. Eventually, local rulers took to hiring orc mercenaries to gain mastery over their neighbors. The orcs pillaged the conquored territories, often taking slaves back with them to the Kratanak Mountains. The sapien population fo the region was in distress from war, famine, and even pestilence, as the confusion of ruling parties disrupted the functioning of the churches.
In 2117, the Dependency of the Dukedoms of Weiland was ratified by Weiland and a majority of the rulers of the principalities to the west of the Kratanak Mountains. By this treaty, all princes would have the title Duke, and their principalities would be Dukedoms. Hence the land west of the Kratanak Mountains is now called The Dukedoms of Weiland. By this treaty, the Dukedoms would supply troops in time of war for the army of Weiland. In return, Weiland would enforce certain rules within the Dukedoms if petitioned to do so. Here is a list of some of the rules Weiland enforces in the Dukedoms.
In recent times, for example, Duke Clodine of Anabrasius was made regent upon the death of his brother, because his nepher Horatio was only twelve years old. His job was to hold the reigns of power until Horatio reached the age of twenty-one. The regent had many problems to contend with, and he chose to hire a company of orc exiles from Kratanak to fight certain engagements for him. They lived in his court with their families. Some of Clodine's enemies filed a petition against him, claiming the hiring of orcs was against the Rule of Borders. But Clodine won the case on the grounds that he had hired the orc company away from another Dukedom, and that they were not nationals of Kratanak at all, but exiles. When Horiatio came of age, Clodine refused to yield power, calling himself Duke. This was done at the request of most of the people of the Dukedom, because Horatio and his father had been widely despised. But Horatio petitioned the Weilandic court. Clodine sent a lawyer to defend his position, on the grounds that Horatio was not fit to rule. But he lost this time, and Weiland sent an army of two thousand to force him from the seat, and deal with his orcs should they remain loyal. The orcs and Clodine fled Anabrasius to hide upon Tankum Island in the Satian Sea, where he was later assassinated.
In the past few centuries, there have been many such disputes among the Dukedoms, with several invasions by the Weiland army to put down the largest of them. And Weiland has had war with its neighbors also. Between 2150 and 2350, Gastranoi and Weiland were constantly warring with one another on the seas, and raiding one anothers ports. With the help of soldiers from the Dukedoms, Weiland's land armies were able in 2365 to invade Gastranoi and occupy it. They held Gastranoi for twenty years, during which time the people of that nation enjoyed propserity that they had not known under their previous corrupt monarchy. In 2387, Weiland withdrew its forces from Gastranoi, leaving a democracy in its place, and this democracy has persisted in Gastranoi ever since. Weiland remains the great naval power on the east coast of Idonius, and in the ocean between Idonius and Chiin. Gastranoi is a nation of merchants and horse-riders, at peace with its ally Weiland.
Today, Weiland is a prosperous and peaceful nation, proud of its history and tolerant of its neighbors. It trades with the Dwarves of the Kratanak Mountains. Its ships ply the seas about the continent, and even venture afar to Chiin and Laeana. Its people are mostly fair-skinned and dark-haired, but in the cities you will find exotic Calipanti merchants and tall, black-skinned descendents of the Nubians. Prominent among the nations exports are wool, grain, and herring, as well as the iron goods they transport for the dwarves.
The fact that there are no taxes upon income or sales, and only upon the mere act of ownership of a property in proportion to its assessed value, means that business can be done in Weiland without interference from the state, and money can change hands without its knowledge. It turns out that this is precisely the sort of legal system that favors people, or beings, who wish to disguise the source of their income. The Daemons of Nightmare are such beings, for they obtain their wealth by travelling in time, and their wealth is great. Their agents are reputed to own large tracts of land in Weiland, and to pay their taxes willingly. And so Weiland is haunted by the doings of these daemons, and their agents, who are insane time-travellers, and their soldiers, the crazed demons know as Shabboth.
In the early twenty-fifth century, the activity of these Nightmare Daemons, and the extent of their influence upon corrupt elements of society, were so great as to threaten the security of the nation's people. In 2427, the government of Weiland sponsered the foundation of the Vatzit School of Wizardry. Its mission, aside from training wizards among Weilanders, was to gather together people who could track down, fight, and remove the agents of the Nightmare Daemons. Since the foundation of the school, the activity of Nightmare Daemons have been far less visible, and the damage they do has been far less extensive.