Night's Dark Terror
Modern Times (the current perspective)Traladara, a century ago, was a well-known trading spot, particularly Marilenev, its chief city, built where the Volga River enters the sea. There, Traladarans’ traded valuable furs for weapons, wines and other spirits, a profitable enterprise.
Most of the Traldaran profits stayed on the coast and the lands immediately inland. Few traders ventured inland; those that did included the annual Gnome Caravan, a well-armed force of gnomes who descended from the northern hills, traded a year’s accumulation of craft goods in Marilenev, and made their way back to gnomish lands.
At about this time, the nations of Darokin and Thyatis began to view Traladara with increasing concern. The forest nation had never offered them any threat, so they had never erected any significant defenses against Traladara. But what if its people should be united under a powerful leader-or worse yet, conquered by an enemy foreign power?
The empire of Thyatis decided the matter by sending troops to the Traladaran capital, Marilenev, and conquering it, claiming all Traladara for Thyatis. Darokin shrugged and began steps to make sure its border was secure.
Thyatis took few real steps to secure Traladara for itself. It installed a garrison of soldiers in Marilenev. The military commander at the time renamed Marilenev ‘Specularum” (The Mirror City) after the reflective beauty of Marilenev’s bay. A tax collector took in revenues on all trade money which changed hands in the city.
Other than that, the rest of Traladara was left pretty much to itself. The more isolated communities were completely unaffected by the “conquest.” The traders suffered a Thyatian tax, but the greater Thyatian interest in Traladara meant that trade boomed and they profited more anyway.
That’s how conditions remained until thirty years ago. At that time, Duke Stefan Karameikos III, a youthful nobleman of Thyatis, struck a deal with the Emperor of Thyatis. Karameikos, in essence, traded his valuable ancestral lands for Traladara-and a guarantee of autonomy. The Empire recognized Karameikos’ claim to Traladara, now renamed the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and recalled its officials from Traladara territory.
Duke Stefan traveled to his duchy, announced his assumption of ruler ship over Traladara, and put down the armed insurrection which resulted. After things had settled down somewhat, he began luring ambitious, landless nobles from Thyatis to help him rule this land in proper Thyatian fashion.
The early years of Duke Stefan’s rule were characterized by both good and bad results.
On the bad side, many of the Thyatian settlers who poured into the country, swearing loyalty to Duke Stefan and receiving land grants, were ruthless men who literally stole lands from the Traladarans’ living upon them. Worst among them was Duke Stefan’s own cousin, Baron Ludwig “Black Eagle” von Hendriks.
On the good side, Duke Stefan himself was an exemplary leader, demanding fairness and honor in the men he directly supervised. He began using the trade tax revenues to build broad, good roads across the country, uniting the far-flung villages into a single nation. He built a substantial army, using native Traladarans, Thyatian immigrants, and even Callarii elves, to protect the Grand Duchy. In short, he began the long, slow process of building Traladara, a land of unfriendly villages and wolf-howls in the night, into a strong trade nation.
Today, the Grand Duchy is still growing into that nation-it is still young, with its two parts of the population (Traladaran and Thyatian) largely unmixed and its interior mostly uncivilized. But it is growing stronger day by day, and most of the nations of the continent have representatives in Karameikos, a sign of the nation’s growing international importance.