Gigantic kingdom comprising all lands
dominated by humans of the southern
The lands which are now part of Santharia and which were ancient times eight
kingdoms of their own are as follows:
Avennoria and finally
Stratania. The United
Kingdom of Santharia was founded in the Age of Changes, at the year of 1648
following the Cournanian Calendar, by the former Tharanian king,
Santhros the Wise which was acclaimed by all races inhabiting the southern
continent. The name "Santharia"
derives from this king
"Santhros", who united the kingdoms peacefully, and
"Thar", a powerful
Erpheronian regent, who prepared
the way for
Santhros by uniting the
northern tribes to the Tharian kingdom.
Location. Santharia comprises all lands of southern Sarvonian starting from the dragoninfested Tandala Mountains. Part of Santharia are also the adjacent Isles of Ram (east of the Tandala), the Isles of Churican (near the peninsula of Paragonj west of Voldar), the Isles Nommeros and Parda west of Kor Donion and finally the Island of Hope in the midst of the Aetryam Sea.
Description. Still to be added.
The Santharian Coat of Arms, designed by Koldar Mondrakken.
The design of the Santharian Coat of Arms was also the initial
design, intended by Santhros when he
ascended to the Santharian throne. In the center of the Coat of Arms the famous
sign of the so-called Sarvonian Alliance can be found: four linked hands, each
one supporting the other, forming a square or a wheel. The four hands
represent the four main civilized races of Sarvonia:
men. Brownies by the way are not
included in the design as they weren't part of the Alliance. This Alliance
comprising all the mentioned races secretly fought the dark elven Lord
Saban Blackcloak and so also the
sign of the Alliance once was a secret mark to identify members of the
organization. With Santhros it became
official and thus also a sign of transperancy between the races.
To each hand/race the Coat of Arms additionally bears runes of each race: The NW rune is named Avásh, the elven symbol of Wind/Air, the NE rune represents the letter "T" (for the famous king Thar) in an ancient Erpheronian writing style. The SW rune also stands for the letter "T", but this time its a dwarven rune and is a shortcut for the term "Thergerim", the name the dwarves use for their own race. The SE rune finally is a halfling rune and in fact one of hospitality, adorning many halfling dwellings. In its essence it represents the small folk and its part in the Santharian community quite well.
The races runes are placed on a golden cross which together with the silver cross seperating the background sections of the Coat of Arms form a gold/silver star, which was the ancient sign of the Tethiás'quarón, the Oath of the Young, sworn in 501 b.S. between the elven Avá'ránn Vilanciash and the Erpheronian sovereign Karthach of Ishmarin. The blue and the white background also represent the dominating and once rivaling races of humans (blue for the Water Element) and elves (white for the Wind Element), now joined through the sign of the Tethiás'quarón.
People. Still to be added.
Map of the 8 provinces of the United Kingdom of Santharia. Picture drawn by Artimidor.
Provinces. The United Kingdom of Santharia is divided into eight provinces which intentionally were not based on the borders of the former kingdoms, but on regions which existed aside from the political borders. The introduction of new provinces instead maintaining the kingdom scheme by the king and his advisors was a bit problematic at the beginning as people from different kingdoms suddenly were ruled by an idependent count, who was installed by the king himself. But in the course of time the decision of Santhros proved to be a wise one as the new administration finally led to better understanding among the people and also among the various different races. The eight Santharian provinces are (from north to south):
Nermeran (Capital: Nyermersys, the ancient Thevelin)
Nermeran is the northernmost province and includes the Isle of Narvos to the West, the Warnaka Mountains, the Calmarios forest, the Alsis'caey Mountains as well as the Silvermarshes, most important towns aside from the capital are Astran and Weyring.
The largest province of Santharia, covering most parts of the former Erpheronian territory. Vardýnn includes the peninsula of Paragonj, Churican, the Thaelon, the Aurora Fields and the Heath of Jernais as well as the Goltherlon and the enclave of Alvang. Most important towns are Thyslan, Cemphiria and Jernais.
Xaramon, the province of magicians, consists of the peninsula of Chá'dómm, the Steppe of Kruswik, the Vontron Forest and the Shivering Woods, the Ilean Plateau as well as the Lower Fores. Important towns: Caelum, Naios and Horth.
This northeastern province is pretty large, surrounding the Ancythrian Sea, but contains desolate land parts like the Seanian Swamps and the Plain of Truoor. You'll also find the Paelelon and the Istarin Forests on this territory and important towns like Cavthan, Doovens and Veltin.
Capitol of the kingdom)
After Vardýnn Sanguia is the largest province of Santharia, containing the Mountain Range of the Rimmerins Ring, the Zeiphyrian Forests, the Quallian, the Almatrar as well as the Heath of Cjur. Towns worth mentioning are Chylikis, brinsley, Elving, Onved, Hog and Kor Donion.
Manthria on the eastern coast of Santharia contains the Mithral Mountains, the Auturian Forests and the Tolonian Heath. Places of notice are Klinsor, Ciosa, Chrondra and the dwarven realm of Kor Donion.
Brendolan (Capital: Bardavos)
Stretching from the Sharadon Forests till deep into the Ráhaz-Dáth desert, Brendolan contains the Narfost Plain and the Occen Lake as well as important towns like Antiragon and Mehmetsh.
Governmental organization in Santharia has a long tradition. Though the
uniting of the ancient kingdoms through the ascension of
Santhros the Wise to the Santharian
throne brought a new governmental structure to the lands on the highest
levels and also led to the re-naming for ranks and titles on lower ones,
most parts of the power hierarchy lived on in the one way or the other when
the new kingdom was formed. As the system of feudalism was the foundation of
society in the ancient kingdoms, so it was continued in Santharia: In a
pyramidical manner land was given from the topmost level, the Crown, to
sub-oridinated landholders, who divided their portions to other
sub-ordinated landholders below their level, and so forth, until the
landholders on the other end of the pyramid are reached, who administrate
the smallest parcels of land.
Though rights and duties for the single levels of the hierarchy were defined in the King's Act back in the time of Santhros, the historical and regional differences and developments of course still reflect as well in specific titles and powers of regional leaders, who still may exert their independence from the King to a certain degree. The actual power constellations compared to the theoretical definitions therefore are much more intricate and complicated, but still they operate to a vast degree in the layed out confines. More details on Santharian ranks and titles can be found in an own entry dedicated to this issue.
The organisation can be described in detail as follows. Note however, that knowledge of Santharian history is essential to understand how government works in such a vast kingdom:
The Santhran (Santharian
The King, who is always human, is the figurehead of the United Kingdom of Santharia. Since the death of Santhros the King also bears the title "Santhran" honouring the famous and by now legendary deeds of the first Santharian regent. The King's spouse is also referred to not only as "Queen" but as "Santhranna".
The power of the Santhran however shouldn't be overrated. Due to the vast size of the Santharian Kingdom alone, the Santhran has only a very limited influence in the matters of the provinces themselves. Though he represents the kingdom and can prescribe decrees and laws for all of the provinces by his own decision, there have been several occurences when the Thanes refused to enforce these regulations or suspended already existing ones. Thus only very few decrees are actually passed out by the Santhran himself without the consultations of regional leaders, basically these are only slight amendments to already existing regulations. These difficulties demonstrate on how complex it is for the Santhran to govern over Santharia and also on how important it is to have a charismatic and convincing leader. It has proven to be essential for a strong Santhran to try to seek contact with the provincial rulers in order to strengthen his own position while at the same time guaranteeing cohesion within this vast realm and to nurture understanding of each other's needs.
While the King in the ancient kingdom of Tharania was used to be selected by his predecessor, thus making him a family member or an advisor for example, the Santhran is elected among the Thanes of the provinces in the so-called "Thanemoot", a gathering held usually shortly after the Santhran's death. At rare occasions, when the time of death of the regent is obviously imminent or the Council of the Linked Hands sees the necessity to elect a new Santhran, the Thanemoot will take place while the Santhran is still in office.
The Council of Linked Hands
The human Thanes meet together with the King at the Council of the Linked Hands to make national level decisions.
The Santhran is also the head of the Linked Hands, a council making national level decisions. The Council mandatorilly includes the leaders of the provinces, the Thanes. Other members of this council are the elven Avá'ránn, the leader of the High Elven Circle, who can speak for all tribes, and is usually the most respected, or perhaps the eldest elf among elven leaders.
In this Council the Santhran instructs the Thanes of the eight provinces and proposing the laws of the land, though these laws mostly must be kept open, as each race has a certain autonomy of rule. The elves of the Aellenrhim have a saying derived from watching their human neighbours: "A law is passed, and a way past it is found", implying that to some extent, even humans are ruled more by provincial law than by the Santhran.
The Santhran's Orders
The Santhran's actual power comes from a series of orders, who swear an oath of loyalty to the kingdom of Santharia to preserve its boundaries and laws. More importantly they swear alligance to the Santhran. In return, the orders receive certain privileges and status.
The Thanes (Provincial Regents)
The Thanes of Santharia are both mediators of the Santhran’s rule and the basis of provincial and regional autonomy. The title "Thane" probably derived from the former Erpheronian king Thar the Great, who already named his representatives "Thanes" in the kingdoms he annexed in 482 b.S. (Centorauria, Kyrania and Caltharia). Often Thanes also have additional titles related to the history or the geographical position of the province like Marshal in Nermeran, Tristin in Truban or Steward in the province of Sanguia. Only former Thanes can become Santhran when they gather enough votes in the Thanemoot meeting, deciding upon the succession after the death of the former Santhran.
Thanes have semi-monarchal status in their provinces and represent the links between the national and the regional administration.. These human regents are responsible for the day to day running of their own province and can be compared to the former kings of the ancient Sarvonian kingdoms as they can reign independently to a certain degree. This independence is mostly pre-determined by the strength or weakness of the current king. The position of Thane constitutes the topmost rank in the regional hierarchy of the province, standing directly above the Dukes/Duchesses, who control between 3 and 5 Duchies, in which each province is devided.
The Dukes and Duchesses
Each of the eight Santharian provinces is split into further districts of administration, the Duchies. Large elven woods, however, which form a complete unity of their own (like the Auturian Woods in Manthria or the Sharadon Forest in Brendolan) are called "Stý'cáls" ("Lands of the Elves"). Dwarven or halfling territory usually is not as large as to reach the size of an elven Stý'cál in order to form a similar administration unit as a Duchy.
Constituting the second highest rank in the province just below the Thane, the Dukes govern over all the local lieges, the Gravens. They need to report to the Thane regularly, consult him and make sure to exert the kingdom's and the province's laws in their given counties. In general it can be said that the way in which local decisions are made by the Thane, the Duke or the Gravens varies from place to place, and tribe to tribe. The influences from the provincial governors are very dominant in certain regions, while in others (e.g. scarcely populated ones) the local autonomy plays a much larger role and is tolerated by the Dukes. Similarly certain races or tribes have their own form of independence.
The Gravens (Markgravens,
Landgravens and Moundgravens)
The Gravens (male and female form is identical) are instated by the Dukes to maintain a certain fief they have been granted. The Gravens often have a close relationship to the Dukes, are relatives or personal friends and swear faith to them, just as the Dukes do to the Thane and the Thane to the Santhran. The fiefs are segmented by the Gravens, the lieges, and granted to subordinate landholders (nobles and aristocrats), their vassals. Sometimes these landholders can have a special privileged status as well (see Privileged Nobility below). Such a fief is not owned by the occupant, but is managed by the occupant for both, the superior landholder and the occupant's heir. There are different titles and functions for Gravens, the most popular are:
- Markgravens. Markgravens control 'marches', mostly border territories or passes and therefore are deemed as the most import lieges.
- Landgravens. Landgravens hold basically land and farmlands.
- Moundgravens. Moundgravens (in certain regions called Hillgravens or Mongravens in slang expression) are responsible for mountainous or heavily forested regions.
Privileged Nobility and Aristocrats
(Barons, Viscounts etc.)
Barons, Viscounts and several other mainly province specific titles represent minor nobility who have special rights and/or duties. They often possess individual holdings - usually a castle, manor, or other fortified dwelling, and of course a substantial portion of land to go with it (given by the Gravens), which commonly exceeds the amount of land regular nobility possesses. They are responsible directly to the Gravens above them just like every other landholder and for the individual people who farm, herd, fish, or otherwise toil on their holdings. However, they may exert as well their special powers and freedoms in making decisions, granted to them by their liege. In some cases privileged nobility may act nearly independent in their given land.
The Landholders (Lords and Ladies)
The Landholders are the nobles and aristocrats at the lower end of the Santharian hierarchy, living in manors. They are responsible for ensuring that the land is being cultivated by the peasants, who produce and make income. The Landholders' duties are to show loyalty, honesty and usefulness to their liege - this includes to provide financial assistance, attendance at court if necessary, and military service. Usually the position of landholder is inherited or transfered to people through marriage. In other cases clerics or nobles may be granted a fief to maintain.
Finally there exist several titles in Santharia, which are not directly integrated in the described hierarchy. These titles include Knights, Mages, Sages, Masterbards, Masterartisan etc.
Climate. The climate
of Southern Sarvonia is as different as its
landscape. Stretching from the center of Caelereth
to far into the south, the kingdom of Santharia knows the frost clanking
winters of the Tandala Highlands as well
as the heat ridden summers of the southern
Ráhaz-Dáth. And in-between all variations from mild winters and
agreeable summers to extreme seasons with a lot of snow till far in the
south or heat waves till the distant north can be experienced.
One major influence however is the shape of the Sarvonian continent, where Santharia represents the southernmost large kingdom. It is stretching very long from north to south and its extension from east to west is comparably small in relation to its length. That means, that most times the sea has a balancing effect on extreme weather conditions, especially in all coastal regions, however, it can bring death and destruction as well at times, which are not predictable.
Generally, the weather is the coldest in the northern Tandalas, which are in high summer about twice as far away from the warming rays of the Injèrá than the southernmost point, the Scattersand Shoals.
In normal years frost holds its grip on the lands till south of the Sharadon. The roofs of Dasai, lying much higher than Varcopas, can well be seen covered with a white cap at times, despite the closeness to the sea. The Narfost Plain sees regularly frost and snow in winter. Varcopas is the northernmost town which is frost free during winter, Bardavos, located away from the sea, can have frost as well at times, as does the central Ráhaz-Dáth, though only when the skies are clear for several days, snow falls there very rarely. The Nirmenith Mountains have new snow every winter, an important precipitation to maintain the equilibrium of growth and aridness in the deserts of the Ráhaz-Dáth to the east. Even the Aj‘nuvic Grounds, being a valley of high altitude, have frost and sometimes even snow. An everlasting snow-cap is greeting from a point even farther in the south than the Nirmenith Mountains: The top of the Norong‘Sorno is always white due to it being the highest elevation in Southern Sarvonia.
Most of Santharia north of the Sharadon is covered with a white blanket of snow during winter. How much snow this will be and how long it stays varies with the place and the local conditions however. So the snow in Ravenport lying at the sea will rarely cover the ground for more than a few hours each day, melting with the rising temperatures till midday, whereas on the north slopes of the Rimmerins Ring, though this mountain stock lies fairly south, can last till the month of the Changing Winds.
Though at times a lot of snow can fall, even till sea level and though it can be very frosty, most winters in Santharia are mild compared to those north of the Tandalas. Even the province of Nermeran is no exception, protected from colder northern winds by the Tandalas, the Warnaka and the Allsiscaey Mountains.
The summers are mostly very agreeable in Santharia. It is of course warmer in the more southern regions. Strata has at times a climate comparable to Shan‘Tai, lying not much more north than the Aeruillin town. It can be hot and dry in summer and the wind from the Burning Sea brings no relief.
But north of the Sharadon the summer heat may initiate a grass fire in the Elverground after a period of no rain, but mostly it is bearable. Even Nermeran has a mostly friendly and warm weather in summer, though citizens from New-Santhala would find it too cool. There are most times not more than a few summers in a row which are so hot, that the harvest is in danger of being lost, rainy summer follow for certain. And a very hot summer in Brendolan, Sanguia and Manthria mean often a good harvest in the northern provinces of Nermeran, Enthronia and Vardýnn. So in our modern times within a united and peaceful kingdom draughts in the south or crop failure in the north due to a rainy summer are not the cause of famine anymore.
Every now and then, unpredictably, extreme weather conditions can occur. What causes this weather is not known. As one example the winter in the year 1597 a.S. shall serve. It came early, already in the Month of the Dead Tree with a lot of snow, but not only this. It stayed so cold for three months, that even the Gulf of Maraya started to freeze and the more northerly located bays like the Cyan Sola Bay froze completely. Snow lay several handspans high even at the shore which we know from reports kept in Lorehaven. All traffic came to a standstill for the snow inside the country. In New-Santhala the its heights exceeded four peds, how much covered the open land can only be guessed. It is said, that the Lower Fores were not much more than soft bumps. Varcopas had frost, so that all climbers which gave this town its name died and an unprecedented event occurred - there was snow on the Shendar domes, something even very old tribe members had never experienced, but knew just from stories told around the fire. In this time even the warm core of the elven forests shrunk considerably.
However many considered this less harmful than the series of winters early in this century, where no frost hit the lower regions of the whole of Santharia. Snow fell only on the highest mountains. Many believed, that this would not be a big problem, but after the third mild winter it got apparent: The vermin like snails, bugs and other insects had not been killed during the frosty period and had multiplied, wrecking havoc to the harvests, more severely than the draught at the end of last century. The strong winter in the year 1611 a.S. ended this, thanks to the gods.
There is however one exception to the above described weather conditions - the elven forests. They seem to generate their own climate, be it the Sharadon in the south or the Thaelon in the north. In the summertime they are always cool, but not cold, moist and agreeable to live in, despite a possible heat wave and long lasting aridness in the lands around them or a season of summer storms and devastating rains. In winter it is even more obvious. When approaching an elven forest in the cold season after some time of heavy frost a marvel can be encountered. If it has a lot of snow, the white precipitation will enfold the elven trees as well, though the snow seems to lie there even thicker and heavier, the huge trees appearing like white giants. If it was just cold and one is lucky enough that the Injèrá is smiling from a cloudless sky, then one of the greatest natural wonders of Caelereth displays before one's eyes: The trees, be it the huge coastal redwood of the Sharadon Forest or the adlemir and peace pine from the Zeiphyrian Forests, or the tops of the mahood euwen in the centre of the Thaelon, all are are covered with a thick layer of ice. It may be well several nailsbredth thick, coating every branch, every sprig, every pine-needle. Sometimes the wind has blown at a certain direction, then the ice has strange, crystal like forms, often a fore long. And all is glinting and sparkling like a forest of jewels. The most marvellous sights one can have is if one stands on one of the mountains near the Vale of the Brownies and looks to the south. There the Quallian presents itself like a giant jewel twinkling in all colours of the rainbow.
However, only the trees and bushes at the borders are covered with ice, as the very tops of the trees. If one could avert the eyes from these splendours and dare to break through the icy walls, a warm, green, - though at times, when it snows on top of the icy coat - slightly darker world greets the surprised wanderer. Normally it is not as dark as one would expect. The ice ensheathing the branches at the tops of the treeschannels the rays of the sun in a way, so that light falls into the forest. It is however a different kind of luminance than in the summer, more serene, for the movement the leaves display in the warm season is missing.
Not much is known how this can happen, or is achieved by the elves. Many claim, it is the dense growth of the elven forests which holds the warmth produced by the life inside it and protects it from the chilly winds from the north, the evaporating moisture being responsible for the ice-coat. Others claim, that only old elven magic not known to Ximax can accomplish this.
Flora. Still to be added.
Fauna. Still to be added.
Myth/Lore. There are various stories and tales about Santharia, its history and its destiny in the future. The most important tale obviously is the famous "Avaesthoría" myth, which recounts the travels of Eyrin Fontramon and Leander S'Ingvendar.
Map of the expansion of the Erpheronians. Map drawn by Artimidor Federkiel.
The map to the left shows the overwhelming expansion of the Erpheronian
kingdom which was the main source for the creation of
Santharia. Thar, the strongest Erpheronian king so far, united the four
northernmost tribes of the southern Sarvonian continent - the Erpheronians, the
Kyranians and the Caltharians -, crowning himself to the
sovereign of the newly founded kingdom of Tharania at 482 b.S. (1166 CC). The
main reason for the willingness of the tribes to subdue themselves to the
powerful Erpheronians peacefully was the urging need for support concerning the
reconstruction of their destroyed lands after three great
Sarvonian Wars. As the Erpheronian Kingdom was constantly
becoming more and more powerful, the remaining Kingdoms of the
southern Sarvonian continent still lacked a guiding hand and a strong
leadership. As the so-called Sarvonian Alliance was formed it was only a matter of time
when the Tharanian Kingdom would become the only Kingdom dominating the southern
Sarvonian continent. Under the reign of Santhros the Eyelians, the
Serphelorians, the Avennonorians and last not least the
peacefully joined the Tharanian Kingdom in order to unite the realms of the
southern Sarvonian continent.
It's a historical fact that the coronation of Santhros to the Santharian throne was the direct continuation to the strictly confidental Sarvonian Alliance between the leaders of all three main races of the southern Sarvonian continent, humans, elves and dwarves. This alliance already existed since several years in order to hinder the endeavour of the dark elven lord, the Móch'rónn, Saban Blackcloak, who descended the Hèckranian volcano in order to topple the Earthen Titan from his throne in the depths of the dungeon Hegedorn. With the creation of the Santharian kingdom an essential counterpart was formed in southern Sarvonia to the barbarians and the orcish cultures developing in the Northlands. But not only this: The new kingdom also brought peace to the many disputes among the races which still reigned the lands. Therefore it is indeed justifyed that all historical incidents taking place after Santhros' ascension to the throne are measured after the new Santharian Calendar.
At the beginning of the reign of Santhros many difficulties had to be mastered, but soon the realm thrived. It also didn't happen accidentally that the Moch'rónn who was the reason for the unification of the realms also was defeated by a party of heroes comprising members of all three races - and a halfling too. At the Golden Age of Kings (500 a.S.), with the new king Weyarhin Santharia's economic development reached its current summit.