Plutocracy: Once every ten years the riches families in Halen attempt to Challenge the Dragon's Coffers
to decide which among the families should rule.
While holding several mercenary companies at their beck and call Halen also has agreements with the other neighboring countries in return for supporting the flow of trade to their cities
Halen is the capitol of trade throughout Leatis
having turned their duty into a profession.
was the strongest tribe across the land and had gained recognition for being large and wealthy atop the small mountain they had settled upon. When a gold dragon appeared before the tribe and demanded tribute from the Halen tribe. Some were arrogant and prideful as the tribe's greatest warriors were known to have felled large beasts and fought the dragon though they were easily slain. The remaining tribesmen fell down and begged for forgiveness to which the dragon offered in return for the leaders of Halen offering a tribute once a year in the form of half their gold. The tribe asked who was to become the next leader of the tribe and the dragon said that the richest among you should lead and from that point on it was the richest among the tribe who became their leaders. The Dragon then created it's den inside the small mountain the tribe lived on.
The tribe continued to grow for a time but the tribute was taxing on the people and without their warriors the tribe turned to trade and commerce to grow. Generations later as civilization had advanced and a town had grown around where the tribe had been the Halen people had failed to grow as the other towns had. Each year the people of Halen would give their tribute to dragon and though with half their wealth taken from them the town worked twice as hard just to get by. As the dragon had was not seen for many years save for the leaders of Halen the surrounding people saw that Halen was an easy target and many of their traders fell to raiders and bandits. This kept going till the yearly tribute had become too small to appease the dragon who grew angry. The leader among the tribe was charming and tried to beg the dragon for help against the problems of the world above but the dragon did not care. The leader then offered a compromise that would greatly enrich the dragon in return for all but a tenth of the Halen's gold. In return the dragon would horde all of the peoples wealth with the dragon keeping track of the gold each family held. The dragon would appear every ten years to accept this wealth and the people of Halen would make whatever claims needed to make more wealth for the dragon. The gold dragon accepted these terms and prepared to appear before the town next year. In that year the town had spread word of a great festival to Challenge the Dragon's Coffers
, where the wealth of the city would be carted out for the dragon to judge who among the city was richest. Thieves, scoundrels, and adventuerers all gathered to plunder the town only to be met by the dragon who sent the rogues fleeing.
Today the tribe has grown into one of the largest city states within the continent. Thanks to the deal with the gold dragon the city only has to give a tribute to the dragon once every ten years. This tribute has become the towns greatest lie as Halen became known as the Dragon's Bank, having crafted the falsehood that the dragon merely protecting the gold the city of Halen has become the countries most trusted bankers, accepting gold and other wealth for a fee and using their resources to manipulate the wealth of countries. The city also writes out writs of wealth that are accepted in many cities across the continent allowing the transport of wealth to be greatly improved.
In the years since to make the tribute easier a gargantuan scale has been crafted before the entrance to the dragons den so the competing families can easily compare the weight of their old rather than having the people count the coins and appraise the weight of gold in the various objects. The dragon herself has a nose for gold and will remove all objects and coins with insufficient gold purity to insure the weighing is fair. She also confiscates each of these as punishment.
Halen architecture consists of bold, natural and textured buildings and materials using the surrounding woodlands. These buildings are functional and aesthetic while able to withstand the rugged mountainous environments and blend into the topography.
Halen buildings use ample amounts of glazing and natural materials, and extend indoor living spaces to the outside with decks, terraces and other exterior areas. Home exterior look like the the building were grown out of the site rather than being crafted. They take advantage of the surrounding trees, boulders and other landforms by incorporating them into the home and designing around them. Interiors have a good range of natural materials and forms.
Halen is built atop a rather small mountain with a deep cavern system that connects to Sadin'Zurah
. On and surrounding the mountain are plenty of lush forests and trees that
With an abundance of wood from their forest and goats the Halen had to travel further to hunt but managed to protect themselves from early enemies due to their natural defenses.