Size Approx. 310 000 Square kilometres, approx 28% Arable, the rest Wildness, Rivers, etc.
Population 6.2 Million(82% Human, 11% Dwarf, 5% Elf, 2% Gnome)
Government Feudal Monarchy; Current Monarch Voldemārs VI
Telva is the largest, in terms of both geography and population, of the northern lands. It commands considerable power both in terms of it’s well fielded armies, but also because of it’s various trade centres, and it’s production might.
It sets the political tone for many of the surrounding states, in both terms of foreign relations and culture. In the past century there has been a slow adoption of more Southern customs, especially in art and architecture, though much of the kingdom retains the feudal agrarian lifestyle that has been common to it for centuries.
Telva is the regions bread-basket; producing huge amounts of grain, livestock and fruits and vegetables.
It’s population consists principally of Humans(Principally of the Telvan ethnicity, but also large numbers of Moerdan and Southerners), and Dwarves. There are many small communities of Elves and Gnomes however, and various monster and uncivilized habitations towards the West.
Traditional Telvan society had a divide between the Nobility and the Common classes, which in recent years has suffered a combination of pressures and yet efforts to calcify it.
The Nobility form the upper tier of Telvan society. Beneath the King and Royal Family are various Noble families. One is born into Nobility by being the recognized and legitimate child of noble parents. However one can be adopted into a Noble Family, or be elevated to the Status of Nobility either by Edict of the King, or proclamation of the Sejm. Bastards are not considered to have inherited the noble rights of their noble parent, though some end up being adopted into their noble families.
While all ‘nobles’ are technically legal peers, holding the same rights; such as the ability to appear in the Sejm, the right to own Noble Estates, the right to have armed attendants, the right to be held only under warrant, and several other rights, nobles are organized into different tiers or ranks.
The Magnates are the Highest class of nobility; those who own large area’s of land and hold only one another and the King as their equal. Most have the rank of ‘Duke’, though some may, through right, have the rank ‘Prince’.
Than there comes the Middle Nobility; these include those with the Rank of Count or Baron, and while the former technically supersedes the later, it’s application is haphazard at best. There are plenty of Counts whose property consists of a single small castle, and Barons who own large tracts of land. A Count is suppose to have dominion over at least 3 towns, and the ability to call upon at least seven knights, but those restrictions or appointments have been anachronistic for some time.
Beneath the Barons are those who are members of the nobility but have no proper title themselves. They have, besides the other noble rights, the right to be addressed as ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’.
An Important note about ‘Knights’. Knight is a social appointment separate from the Noble Class but related to it. Many Nobles will seek to gain the rank of Knighthood, which requires recognition of another Knight; serving as a Squire for some time, and than investment by another Knight, the King, or an Archbishop. The rites and rituals involved are lengthy. Knighthood is the goal for most noblemen who are military minded, but there are those who don’t hold to the old ways. Thus not all Noblemen are Knights. Likewise, Commoners can be Knighted, in the same way noblemen can, though it is more rare. These commoner Knights serve as a special social class, for while they have the rights of the nobility, and the rights and responsibilities of knighthood, they do not pass on their title or that status to their children. Many will seek to be adopted into Noble Families. Others will seek to gain recognition from the realm. Recent years have seen many in the nobility eager to further restrict access to the rights and privileges of that class and thus attempts to restrict in greater numbers those who might enter it.
While the commoner class technically encompasses all the rest, there are many, many social divisions. The Wealthy Merchants, Craftsmen, Priests and Learned Men, as well as many Alchemists, form a sort of emergent middle class. Some within this class end up being wealthier than nobles, and thus while those within the nobility strive to harden the dividing line, many a marriage is made between an impoverished nobleman and a merchant who wishes his grandchildren to have title. This class are all ‘free men’, usually having residence in some city, and thus being exempt from the obligations to lords(see the serf below).
There are plenty of other ‘Free Persons’ however. These range from all inhabitants of a city(if a serf can dwell within a city for a full year and a day, they become freeman, though it’s not as easy as it sounds), to the free tenant farmers or various persons of smaller towns and villages that aren’t serfs. In essence almost anyone who isn’t a serf or a noble falls into this class.
Serfs are the largest social class by far. Serfs exist in a state of bondage towards land, a particular estate or Manse. Most serfs are born to this class, though some-times impoverishes freeman, especially farmers on hard times, will pledge themselves, entering into a state of bondage to a wealthy lord in exchange for the protection of his estate. A serf owes a certain ammount of his yearly labour to his lord. Typically he is required to work one day out of seven on his lords fields, or to supply some measure of equal wealth.
The Area now occupied by Telva was once a far-reaching satrap of the Great Southern Empire. As that empire faded into history a succession of invasions from both the South and the West led to the fracturing of any central political authority, and the creation of dozens of small feudal estates.
One of these Estates grew in political power until, approx. five centuries ago, under the Leadership of Vilhelms the Great, the small feudal ‘Duchy’ of Telva united several other feudal states beneath it’s banner. This was done in a series of small conquests, but also political marriages and conclaves.
The Past couple of centuries have seen the waning and waxing of monarchic power. The Sejm, a conclave theoretically composed of all the nobility of the realm, but in reality mostly composed of Magnates and political oppurtunists, has gained concessions and powers over time. They have the right to Veto the kings decision on various things, including outright declarations of War. Their greatest power, of course, is the ‘election’ of the King. In theory every King is suppose to be ‘elected’ by the Sejm in the same way Vilhelms the Great was, as he was chosen by the nobles on the battlefield to lead Telva when it was born from blood and fire. In practice the Sejm just support the likely successor. There have only been three historical deviances from this.
In one, the Sejm was convened, but did not vote for the Kings Eldest Son, but his second son, in a vote that was almost perfectly split down the middle. This led to a series of Civil Conflicts, what are general called the ‘Kings War’.
The second instance occured after a King parished without a clear successor. Though there were several contenders to the throne, each was at best a cousin to the previous king and there was no clear way to decide a successor. In the end the Sejm itself, after days of debate, after contests of Arms, decided the Matter.
Lastly, and most importantly, six generations ago the First Royal Family, that of the Peja clan, died without clear Heir or issue. Going back at least three generations there was no clear Ear of the Clan, and it seemed as if the clan had indeed died, at least on the basis of the inheritance law. The Sejm was convened and in the end the Toshel Clan was elected to the Position, their connection to the Peja through matrileneal descent well known, but their leaders political and military acumen the more important feature.
The present kingdom has varied in size over time as it has conquered or absorbed other states, or lost some of it’s own in rebellion or war. It’s traditional enemy if the Kingdom of Jassit, though it has had intermittent conflicts with some of the Southern States and the Dwarven Holds as well.
Weapons & Armour:
An eclectic array of arms are wielded in Telva in the present day, though the use of these weapons is often divided by class, and sometimes by ethnicity.
The Peasant classes typically wield simple weapons that serve as tools, or that are readily available; Staffs, Clubs, Daggers, Flails, Hand-Axes, Slings and Shortbows are typical and often seen as ‘common’ weapons. Spears and Glaive’s are also somewhat common.
The emergent middle class, as well as professional warriors and the nobility have a much greater access to weaponry; While the long-bow is not unknown, the Crossbow is a far more common weapon in the armies of Telva and among mercenaries. The Spear is the principal weapon of the army; be it the spear, or some Pole-arm variant. Halberds, Glaives, and Pikes for example. The Longsword is the traditional weapon of the nobility, along with the Lance. The Shortsword is a common weapon among pike-men and now among the middle-classes of the larger cities. Mounted Knights, as well as some bands of warriors will wield Battle Axes, Morning Stars, Mace’s or Flails.
Armour is common throughout the kingdom, though one is far more likely to encounter boiled leather than the more expensive forms of mail or plate. Very few knights will not outfit themselves in a set of Full-plate if they can afford it, and those who cannot are often looked down upon socially. Simpler Breastplates are even common among the more elite guards or mercenary units. A form of Splint-mail called more properly Brigantine is a very common military armour for foot-soldiers, and because it’s outer layer is cloth, it has become fashionable for some nobles. Chain-mail is still another common type of armour for foot soldiers who have the money to afford it.