Adventures With Short People
Lying to the west of the Spine Mountains and the Rala Peninsula, the Kingdom of the Occident is a relative newcomer to the scene of rulers and merchants. Its roots lie in the disparate tribes and peoples whose descendants continue to dwell within its borders, and it has been shaped by the nearby Elves as much as by its human neighbours.
The Founding of the Occident
Prior to the founding of the Kingdom, the land was occupied by diverse peoples: hunters and trappers along the edge of the elven forest to the north, miners in the hills, fishermen along the southern coast, and merchants in the wealthy town of Nama Pass. Just over a hundred years ago, in 1327 by the human reckoning, the brilliant and ambitious Duke Sandorus came to power as the ruler of Nama Pass. Not satisfied with being a mere duke, he turned his eyes westwards, to the lands currently occupied only by small, independent tribes and towns. He began the long, slow work of bringing them under his aegis.
For fifty years this continued, as he brought one town or tribe after another under his rule: he began construction of an extensive road network, and bought the loyalty of some towns in return for a road connection. Others joined him when he used his wealth to threaten their well-being, or were conquered by his growing armies. When he died in 1378 as King Lastran the First, his heirs inherited a kingdom that encompassed the newly-built trading towns of Ri-Banol and White Oaks, the wealthy Nama Pass settlement, and the eastern edges of the Occidental plains.
His son, King Regall I, not content with merely inheriting his father’s work, continued it, conquering, intimidating, or buying all the land westwards to the foothills of the Chemal Mountains, and spent his later years putting down rebellions among the fractious tribes his father had subdued or bought.
The New Occident
The modern kingdom is a vibrant young state. Trade through the Pass and with the Elves to the north have made the Occident wealthy, and this wealth has been used to found the new capital of Enlatha, a city which the Kings have striven to make the equal of its older cousins to the east. They have also continued Lastran’s tradition of construction works, expanding his roads and building many great public works in the cities they control.
Owing to the existence of the trading towns of Ri-Banol and White Oaks, there is a certain amount of traffic with the elves to the north. This has also resulted in an unusual number of half-elven children, who are often never fully accepted by their elven parents and find themselves wandering the world at large.
The earliest of these children, in the youth of the trading towns, often took up the bardic tradition, learning the history and songs of the lands they travelled through, but always returning to the forests and kingdom of their birth. They have passed this tradition down, and the half-elven bards of the Occident are now renowned as the finest group of singers in the western lands, as well as being learned historians and competent sorcerers. Their art and counsel are valued by the Kings of the Occident, and musicians will often strive for official court positions at Enlatha.