The Kingdom of Cesia
The Kingdom of Cesia is one of many found along the eastern shores of the Great Lake. Most of the kingdom’s inhabitants know little more of its history than what they have heard in stories and legend. The same is true of their knowledge of the world beyond the kingdom – or even beyond their own village or town.
Much of Cesia is sparsely inhabited. The largest settlements lie along the coast or along the river Haern, though there are a few large towns further inland. Most of the countryside is heavily wooded and becomes increasingly hilly as one travels east. Most travel (and trade) is conducted along the Haern. The few ‘roads’ tend to be muddy tracks at best, while others are just rights of way, existing more in theory than in fact. Outlaws threaten those traveling between settlements, hindering trade and occasionally even harassing small villages.
Cesia’s capital is the fortified city of Gorrundburg, from which the descendants of Queen Cesianna conquered the Haern valley and the surrounding territories. The largest city in the kingdom is Orbath, near the mouth of the Haern. With maybe as many as 12,000 inhabitants it may be the largest city east of the Great Lake. The only other city of note is Caelchester. This city was taken from Kilvarten, the kingdom to the south, only ten years ago.
There are a number of towns scattered throughout the kingdom, but none number more than 2,000 inhabitants. Most are built on or near the ruins of a dwarven settlement, but a few have appeared more recently.
The typical Cesian village consists of a dozen or so small thatched houses (little more than huts) and a few larger buildings, including a temple made of stone. The local lord will usually live in a manor house next to the village. Such houses are little more than large halls, sometimes surrounded by a wooden stockade along with a handful of other buildings. Some few are built into the ruins of a dwarven structure, such as an old watchtower or waystation. These older buildings will often have quite a few rooms and tunnels underneath and are highly coveted, being a sign of wealth and status amongst the nobility.
Most of the peasantry are human, while the nobility are usually half-orcs. The eastern lands were overrun by orc hordes after the empire fell. Some human holdings survived and continued to fight the orcs. Eventually the orc tribes settled down and their leaders began to intermarry with the human nobility, trading brides to secure blood-alliances. Centuries later, the orcs have been driven back, but their descendants continue to rule Cesia and the neighbouring kingdoms.
The dominant religion is the church of Moradin, the dwarven father-god. Most of his clergy in Cesia are human, but dwarven priests are not uncommon, especially in the larger towns and cities. Dwarven priests are favoured and far more likely to advance in the church hierarchy, but native Cesian dwarves rarely, if ever, rise to the highest posts. Instead these positions are filled by dwarven clergy from beyond the Great Lake.