Annals of the Duchy - Introduction in Challaria | World Anvil

Annals of the Duchy - Introduction

Like the rest of the Morivans, the Duchy of Mor originated in the North Western area of Marivar. They had for some generations been exploiting the seas to the north of Tarusia for whaling and fishing, using temporary/seasonal settlements on the north coast of Tarusia for repairs and processing of their catch, migrating along the coast following the shoals during the spring and summer, returning home in the autumn. During this period, they had limited dealings with the Taru - a little barter trade of fish and whale meat for plant foods and some craft goods, but population densities were low. With the Morivans having no permanent settlements and the Taru not having a tradition of exploiting marine resources there was little opportunity for conflict.
  Further to the west there were more interactions, especially around the trading city of Orris and it was from here that the Morivian first had deadly impact on the Taru when two endemic diseases of the Mor took hold in the Tarusians with devastating effect. For the Mor these were childhood illnesses that most suffered and got over from quickly; for the Tarusians with no previous exposure to them they were deadly. The Sweats were the more obvious and faster acting causing significant population loss in the areas later known as the Little Kingdoms even before migration brought Morivans into the wider lands beyond Orris and its immediate surroundings. The Sweats was tightly infectious but needed significant population densities and relatively static populations and it had lesser impact further north and east; The Staggers however was more insidious and a far greater problem for the Taru as it typically took several years before it became symptoms to emerge but was infectious for most of that period. It spread though the wider and more dispersed populations of the more northern areas often transported between groups by the wandering shaman-bards who provided the glue of Taru culture.
  When population pressures and migration became a significant issue in Marivar the Proto - Mor had noted not just the potential of Tarusia but also the shrinking population of the natives. Several of the major houses started sending explorer groups with the fishing and whaling fleets to explore the lands and scout out potential areas for settlement, returning to the coast to be collected by the returning fleets in the autumn. Thus it was that the Mor were the first Morivan group to establish themselves in mass in Tarusia when their homelands came under pressure. Their exit from Marivar was orderly and for the most part the existing social structures and culture were preserved.
  This was truest in the Little Kingdoms where disease had done most of the clearance of the land that colonisation normally achieves by conquest and genocide; beyond the Pinch of Argand this was less the case and more co-operation was needed between the independent groups. This resulted in the formation of wider groupings the eventually coalesced into the Moran Duchy and other realms we see today. This history concerns the development of the Moran Duchy; others can consider the histories of the other parts of our wider people to the extent that they see value in that, this work will only touch on them as they touch on the history of the Duchy.
  The core of the Duchy is the lands around Morton on the upper reaches of the River Durran, an area that had been settled by the younger sons of several of the leading houses and their followers. At this stage Morton was a newly formed village and manorial complex. If you were generous, you could call it a town but only if you were generous; it was one of several similar settlements in the area each forming the centres of the areas in the nominal control of these younger sons. The explorers had noted that these lands were among the better suited to agriculture as their proximity to the mountains meant that they were well watered and the soils were fertile; this was enough for that ambitious group but the area still had a large part of it’s Taruvian population for it was outside the range of the Sweats and the Staggers had not yet taken their full toll. As they saw that we were establishing permanent settlements they started to become a threat both from raiding and skirmishing and this forced us to form a more co-operative grouping than was our norm to provide an armed force to counter the raiding parties.
  It was recognised quickly that Cadric (son of Cabrow of Tarrap Hough) was particularly effective at managing these operations and he became the leader of those forces and thus within a few years was recognised as the leader of the fighting force - the Duke of the area. Thus the Duchy started out as a mutual defence organisation and the Duke, whilst the military leader of the group, was one of a group of equals (who styled themselves the “Younger Sons”) with no overall position of command. Nevertheless his selection as the war leader resulted in Morton becoming a more significant settlement than its peers and this selection went down as the founding of the Duchy and the start of its year count, though it was some years before this became common usage. It is worth noting that though the styled themselves the Younger Sons, they were not themselves particularly young (Cadric for example was in his forties when he came to Tarusia and some were older still) but all were junior members of their families before the migration and had selected a relatively remote area to establish themselves in their own rights.
  The Duchy had started small with the 6 Younger Sons and their estates - initially around 300 households in total and with the estate centres separated by around 2 day walks (they had ambitions and were planning for generations to come) so it took time for the Duchy to grow into its new clothes, though the quality of the land brought new arrivals from the later rounds of migrants and developing relationships with some neighbouring groups. This phase lasted for the first century or so of the Duchy’s existence and we shall consider it in more detail later on, but for now, skipping Dukes, generations and so on, we shall step forward to the time of the sixth Duke.
  By this time the population had grown considerably in the areas staked out by the Six Younger Sons. Several of the estates had extended their lands into surrounding areas and four new areas had been added as neighbouring areas were aligned themselves with the Duchy. This involved significant amounts of dynastic politics and marriage alliances and began to firm up the Duchy’s border with the Kingdom of Mor along the Durran River and although there was no open conflict it was without doubt concern for this that made it the eventual boundary - its value as a highway for trade and transport was clear; both groups recognised their need for it and the difficulty of controlling it in the face of determined opposition and the more pressing need to protect their people from ongoing raiding from the remaining Taruvian clans in the Great Range lead to the Treaty of Durranmouth in Duchy year 107 which set boundaries and agreed points on the use of the river. These expansions and new arrivals lead to an overhaul of the organisation of the Duchy which saw it establish its organisation as 10 units (the Tithings) each lead by a Tithar. Eight of these were hereditary, but XXXX and XXXX elected from it’s nobility when death removed the incumbent. This approach resulted in significant problems both for these Tithings and for the others (where palace coups resulted in several dynastic changes). This prompted the seventh Duke, as part of his changes to make all of the Tithings hereditary.
  Needless to say this did not satisfy everyone and over the following few years there was civil war in 3 of the Tithings over succession which the Dukes were unable to control until several of the leading hot heads had eliminated each other, several marriage alliances were put in place and 2 new Tithings created. The nineth Duke further quietened things down by launching a major expedition into the Great Range to put an end to the issues of Taruvian raiding. This resulted in a further 3 Tithings being established on the southern side of the range which were allotted to some of the second tier households. That these Tithings subsequently declared themselves independent of the Duchy was not regarded as a major issue by Caddock the second, the 11th Duke - control and communications across the mountains were difficult despite the proximity of Morton and whether inside or outside the Duchy they provided for Mor control of the mountains with the destruction laid upon the Taruvians and so achieved the strategic aim, that it had removed a number of festering local rivalries that threatened wider destabilisation of the Duchy was a bonus.
  At this point I, Uthvar the Scribe, was retained to compile this history of the Duchy based on the tales of the preceding years and the limited records available in the Duchy and surrounding lands. This you can read in Part 1 of this work - although it is not a long book I have travelled far and wide to seek information and to try to separate verifiable fact from likely fact and likely fact from myth or fantasy. Often accounts are contradictory and this is only to be expected in events long passed - even the morning after an argument you will seldom find all parties agreed on the cause, the details or the outcome.
  Part 2 is the chronicle that I and such successors as Dukes present and future choose to appoint to the task shall keep so that important points remain known.


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