Vale of Spires

Structure

The Vale of Spires (or simply the Spires) is the most populous and diverse of all the Vales, comprising roughly one third of the entire population. The Spires are ruled from Trastrim, the capital and largest city in the Vales, by the Free Council, twelve Members elected by the different peoples of the Vale. The five most populous peoples of the region (Humans, Half Elves, Hill Dwarves, Halflings, and Aven) each elect two Members; one is elected by the combined votes of all the other peoples; and the last, the Orator, is elected by the 11 other Members to become the head of state, face, and at times the scapegoat of the Council. The Orator—currently a female Half-Elf Ranger named Neviel Brightbeak—though a much honored and therefore desired position, has limited powers and cannot even vote in Council decisions unless a tie-breaking vote is needed. Under the Council are the Tobains, appointed magistrates who directly govern the affairs of the nine Spirebains. While the Council dictates foreign relations with the outside world (Valians and Outwallers) and manages both the Griffon Riders and the Spiran Army, the Tobains control the Spirehelms—colloquially known as the Spikehats—who act as the police force of the Spires. Otherwise the society is fairly egalitarian with a regulated free market economy and a taxation system based on public service or trade.

History

Although the Spires is not the oldest entity in the Vales, the Aeonesti, or Ancient Elves, lived amongst the Soulvein-infused spires since soon after the Dawning. The Spires and Mistyvale were part of the great Elven and Dwarven civilization of the Rift before the First Ruination, and many of the Elves and Dwarves who remain in the Vales trace their lineage back to that time (or perhaps even lived through it). After the Great Darkening, the Elves began to retreat south to the Aedyrith and the Dwarves into their underground cities, leaving the Vales open to Human settlement. The Eoling were the first to create an order in the Vales, centered in Valethrone, with the Spires being only one of twelve provinces. The Elves had developed a partnership with the numerous and proud Griffons of the Spires long before the First Ruination, but when the Eoling attempted to dominate and domesticate them in the third and fourth centuries, the druids and rangers of the land rebelled, founding the Griffon Riders in 474 AFR. After a century of costly skirmishes with the Riders, the kingdom abandoned the Spires and the growing city of Trastrim in 591 AFR under the leadership of the ranger Half-Elf Erith Anander. The Spires then became Creacia’s first democracy, creating the Free Council and lasting through 1400 years of challenges from the Eoling, monster hordes from the Teeth, and the other Vales. It wasn’t until after the Second Ruination, after the Desolation of the Rift, the destruction of Valethrone and the Kingdom of Eoland by the Urdan armies, that the Spires were conquered by the recently established Azure Wizards of Deepvale--supported by Urda--in 1950. But even the Wizards were outmaneuvered by the Priestking of the Voran Empire, who betrayed the rest of the Alliance of Eld to fill the power void after the Decade of Destruction by incorporating Calead, Eoland, and all the Vales into the Voran Empire in 1955.   The Spirans then lived under Voran control for over two centuries, the Griffon Riders outlawed and the Griffons themselves hunted into near extinction by the Iron Dragons of Voranor. As tensions began to rise in the mid-22nd century, the Spires began secretly reviving the Griffon Riders and the Spiran army. When rebellion erupted in Calead in 2164, the Spirans were the first to join the former Magewives in the revolt, sending out the Griffon Riders under Kelvor Bloodfeather to play a pivotal role in the Caleadans’ defeat of the Knights of Nethereth and the dreaded Iron Dragons at the Battle of the Rift in 2165. Once the rest of the Vales saw the unexpected weakness of the Voran Empire, they joined with the Vale of Spires to revolt and win their independence at the Battle of Titanspine in the Vale of Bones in 2166.   A loose coalition of the most civilized Vales came together in the latter half of the 21st century in a half-hearted attempt to prevent any future subjugation by foreign powers, Just several years later, however, the Spires and Deepvale began to form factions, with the Kingdom of Kest siding with the Spirans and the Dominion of Ondeth supporting the Azure Wizards. Tensions escalated, punctuated by skirmishes and assassinations, until full-scale war broke out 2252, starting the five-year War of the Vales that devastated much of the population and countryside, each side vying for control of the Isthmi and the tunnels underneath the towering, impassable Valewalls, the only direct lifeline connecting the Vales. Battlevale, just to the west of the Spires and once a verdant and densely populated agrarian area, was the site of the major battles of the war and thus nearly decimated due to the Azure Wizards’ scorched earth tactics. Just to the east, the Vale of Waiting between the Spires and Battlevale derives its name from the despairing anticipation of the families who would wait there for their warrior sons and daughters to return—most of whom did not. After Altrivden's Armistice (named after the ruler of the small city-state of Rivden in Battlevale) in 2257, a fragile peace has been maintained, with both sides sequestering power and resources in what seems like an inevitable march towards war. Most of the Free Council does not desire war, the Griffon Riders have an enduring hatred for the Azure Wizards and their Dread Drakes, and are pushing for conflict even as their leader Neviel Brightbeak—a Griffon Rider herself—tries to find diplomatic solutions.

Territories

The territory of the Vale of Spires itself is clearly defined by its Valewalls: the Eastwall against the Rift in the east, the Talon and the Southwall to the south, the wall of Sungate and around the God Claw to the west, and the wall dividing the Spires from the Vale of Winds and the Kingdom of Kest to the north. The sphere of control of the Spires, however, reaches far further, incorporating the Vale of Waiting, Battlevale, the Vale of Chimes, the Burning Twins and Shadowvale to the south. Combined with its ally, the Kingdom of Kest, the Spires controls slightly more of the Isthmi than the Deepvale faction.

Religion

As a diverse, open and egalitarian society, the Vale of Spires is tolerant of any goodly or neutrally aligned god. Each people worships their own god, but the most revered are Desna and Erastil, who is also the chosen deity of the iconic Griffon Riders.

Agriculture & Industry

The Vale of Spires is a bucolic and fecund area that produces the vast majority of its own food and drink. It also produces a good amount of ore from its mines at the base of the Roost and the Talon.

Soar Above

Population
235,900

Distribution
23% Human, 21% Elf (18% Wood Elf/3% High Elf), 15% Hill Dwarf, 14% Halfling (10% Hearth/4% Wanderlust), 11% Tauren, 6% Half-Elf, 5% Natyr, 3% Aven, 2% varies

55% in Trastrim, 24% in other towns, 21% rural

Founding Date
1950
Demonym
Spiran
Head of State
Neviel Brightbeak
Government System
Democracy, Representative
Power Structure
Confederation
Currency
Kirsh, Brazens, Caleds
Major Exports
Ale, pipeweed, food, arms, metals, crafts, Soulvein-infused minerals
Major Imports
Livestock, wood, wine, textiles, oil, salt, spices
Official Languages

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