Faith, Courage, Loyalty.
The great fields and farms of the Golden Lands roll as a long sliver of rich and fertile lands down from the Mountains in the North until they find a border with the Wooded Ways in the South. To their West the chill, mist filled landscape of the Bitter Vale and to the East the coastal forests of Ironstone Bay. The land falls under the jurisdiction of the Lionsgold House who rule through their vassal family; The Shadowmanes from the Golden Citadel. Faith is at a premium in the Golden Lands and until the rise of Karrid Ren in The Wooded Ways it was considered the Spiritual heartland of the Royal Basin.
The Golden Lands are named for the valuable harvests of wheat although the farms that dominate the Duchy are also heavy with such crops as Alfalfa, Barley, Corn and Cassava to name but a few. It is considered to be the most important Duchy acting as the stomach of the Basin, feeding its people and providing valuable exports across the continent. It is the home of farmers, labourers and merchants and it would be presumed that it would be a soft target for opposing forces should invasion come. This assumption could, however, not be further from the truth; not only is the land bordered on all but one side by friendlies the folk here are much hardier than many would expect; The Golden Lands are lands of soldiers.
The capital, the Golden Citadel, is a Fortress Monastery that was founded many centuries ago that has expanded to be a huge complex of industry and faith dedicated to the Deity of War – Tiberius. For many generations all of the peoples born of this Duchy were taken to the Citadel in their fourth year to begin their indoctrination into the faiths of the Basin and to start their training as soldiers. By the time they reach their Sixteenth year they are competent soldiers who fight for the Royal Basin and the Gods that protect them. The result was a Duchy that is capable of defending itself or marching out to defend the Royal Basin as a whole if it is needed. As the population grew the demands on the Citadel grew too large and defence of the Duchy stepped up to match it.
Farmland is difficult to protect which forced the Shadowmanes to restructure the land, small villages and outlying townships were linked via good infrastructure and four large market towns were constructed representing the height of evolving civilisation – Davenport, Tarth, Silverlance and Avenfale. Whilst the people of The Western Marches would laugh at these so called bastions of culture to the people here these four towns are the high life of the Duchy. Here the great churches that host the ten daily ceremonies of the Nine dominate alongside the places of religious prostration and the theatre houses that tell the stories of the Saints, Priests and Holy Warriors that make up the Legends of the Golden People.
During the sixteenth century, however, a border dispute took place between the Bitter vale and the Golden Lands and the Queen of the day favoured the latter. The borders of the two Duchies were moved and the architectural wonder that is the City of Great Strabain, considered the cultural capitol of the country was absorbed into the Golden Lands. This huge city is a thriving bastion to Naed which was seen as a frivolity by the Shadowmanes and was largely ignored by the Deity fearing folk of the Duchy. However the streets of the City teem with people who call themselves citizens of the Golden Lands although most of them would not understand a plough or resist the vices in the name of the Deities that exist within Great Strabain.
However Strabain was received it led to the founding of two more powerful bastions that mimicked the concept of the Golden Citadel; St Mundensberg protected Davenport, Vodbe protected Silverlance meaning that The Citadel stood to watch over Avenfale whilst Strabain protected Tarth. These finalised the social structure of the Duchy – The Citadels, bar Strabain, are populated by Senior Priests called Marshals and Soldiers who act as governors for the region, the townships are filled with merchants, bean counters and entertainers who are governed over by priests. Further out across the lands are the workers, the farmers and their communities with the relentless march of soldiers and Priests keeping the roads and lands safe and spreading the good word of the nine respectively.
The people here have been taught loyalty, obedience and courage in the name of the Royal Basin and the Nine and are true to their teachings. They see themselves as a Spiritually pure people who are superior to the other Duchies of the Basin as they are not subjected to the same beatification as the Golden people. From the moment of their birth, when their souls are given right to walk the land, until the moment of their death when their souls are returned to the deities. They are deeply independent of the rest of the Royal Basin through their upbringing, training and beliefs but they are Basanic, its stomach and guts in their work and the land and their soul through belief and prayer.
Key Concepts of the Golden Lands
Faith before Life – Belief and Faith influence all aspects of a Golden Folk’s life from their social to their political.
Rigidity and conformity – They are entrenched in their caste system of Priests at the top and the farming folk at the bottom, even their nobility, if not a Priest, are heavily influenced by the Church.
Loyalty to the Royal Basin – Loyalty is Honour, Honour is life. In this corner of the world the Oaths that the Basin hold dear are literally sacred.
Land is Political Power – The Basin needs the food that the Golden Lands provides, ownership of the land on which it grows is powerful and control of land is something that is jealously guarded and a means to pride.