Verdict – The Realm of Arlandria (World & Background)

The Realm of Arlandria Overview

Introduction

The capital of the Arlandrian Realm, established in ~700AC, is buried impossibly deep in the furthest corner of a forest like no other. Hidden as it may seem, however, the influence of Arlandria stretches far, touching the minds of many just as its founder would have desired. Where Arlandria falters in technological prowess, Arlandria inversely excels in magical connection. No other city is as deeply and intricately woven into the heart of Rhyst, and should anyone go under tree canopy, they would be correct to assume that those of the realm are carefully watching from above.

The People

Arlandrians are derived chiefly from Vaien and Hysen of centuries past. While the racial features of either have whittled down over the years, they have nonetheless persisted as one of the most present forces on Rhyst. Initially, this was merely a noble goal of Felsen Skarn; a desire to see the weak protected and the strong maintained. Since then, though, the motive has expanded, and Skarn’s death heralded in a higher degree of cautiousness never before seen in Arlandrian citizens. Over the past century, the number of conflict interferences by Arlandria’s guard has increased vastly.

It’s the theory of outsiders that Arlandria has grown to an extent that requires more territory, but that they similarly do not wish to resort to conquest. As such, an odd mood has buried itself in the mind of thousands of their citizens. Many believe it is Arlandria’s responsibility to look after the world, while others believe their nation oversteps its bounds with every aforementioned interference. In either case, one fact always remains: every passing year brings with it a new level of protection, and Arlandria bears no evidence of slowing down.

Seers

Among the many druids and Hedera born to Arlandrian soil, none are as profoundly connected to the world as the Seers. While they only infrequently meet and converse with their peers, they nonetheless serve as some of the most powerfully nature-aspected mages created as-of-yet. Seers bear the unique responsibility of cultivating Hederan Groves into towns or even cities, and to connect them to the World Tree, Yggdrasil, in Arlandria’s capital. In this endeavor, they are known to fend off crowds of bandits, rogue elementals, and even foes from within their own faction.

Hedera are, as one might assume, quite well-adapted for the job of Seer. They must prove themselves even still, as the position is one above the head of just any Hedera- but their skills align with those required to grow nature, groves, and Yggdrasil nonetheless. Hederan Seers are sometimes misaligned with Seers of other origins, as the Hedera tend to prioritize the spread of Yggdrasil above all else… whereas the rest of their peers fixate on the spread of Arlandria’s influence. It’s a point of mild contention.

The Magic

The Arlandrian Realm is renown for its use of druidic magic for almost every purpose imaginable. While it’s been many years since a true Archdruid has risen, the number of druids per capita has nonetheless skyrocketed since the days of its founding. Together, their natural magic has seen Arlandria grow, literally so, to double or triple its initial size. Roots extend even further beyond what the public understands as their boundaries, with mile-high treetops clouding all but the most obvious of structures from outside viewing. This dedication to druidry has forged Arlandria a supreme fortress of wood and leaf.

Unfortunately, their extreme prowess with elemental and druidic magic has left some prejudice against the other forms of magic in its wake. This prejudice is doubly as prominent for those who would wield arcane or sorcerous powers with no respect for nature. It has led to turmoil among their citizens, some of which believe tradition and global health shouldn’t outweigh the personal freedoms of an individual. Still, this is merely a political issue, and while it is an important one, it has yet to halt or even slow Arlandria’s long history of prioritizing nature above all else.

The Hedera

Born in Felsen Skarn’s early years, the Hedera are a race of dryadic creatures that live and die by nature’s hand. They are born from groves formed from a dying Hedera. As such, it is very rare for their race to bear a surplus of numbers- more often than not, they’re constantly battling extinction, though recent years have thankfully shown them good fortune. Their latest population boom even caused continent-wide strife, as the spreading Hedera made groves in unowned lands, leading to Arlandria’s involuntary claiming of thousands of square miles of new territory.

Regardless, those issues impact only a minority of Hedera. They must make the active choice to die and turn into a grove, as most are functionally immortal and cannot die of old age or anything similar. While they are heavily drained by hostile climates, fatigue rarely afflicts a healthy Hedera, and years pass for them as seconds would for a human. Some even still exist from Skarn’s era, though few of those elders are willing to do much more than tend to their gardens. Of the Arlandrians, many wish to worship Hedera, especially ancient ones, but refrain on orders from their founder from oh so long ago.

The Ugly

It’s easy to compare the nature-loving, world-appreciating, spirit-worshipping Arlandrians to Isegrád and claim one is morally superior to the other. In truth, however, Arlandria has caught considerably more flack over its existence than its twin empire, and for good reason. While Isegrád has taken from the world only a desolate desert (then a desolate tundra, when it froze over), Arlandria is constantly expanding and constantly claiming new stretches of fertile forest and plains for its own use. It does so whether or not it desires to, as dying Hedera plant groves in areas without them… leading to incessant pressure in all directions.

Seeing as how Arlandrians view Hedera and Hederan groves as something adjacent to divine or holy, one can imagine the pressure to then maintain said groves. The Hedera must die and spread, but to do so is to steal land from other factions. Then, to destroy a grove to reclaim your land is sacrilege or heresy- almost a declaration of war. Do you give up your land to this growing power, or reclaim it despite the atrocity it’d take to do so? This question has been pushed on many factions, many of which no longer exist. Arlandria has noble goals, but reaches them without compromise.

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