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The Knochenwald

The Grand Duchy of the Knochenwald is a region by the northwestern border of the Empire. A somewhat underdeveloped region, it is primarily populated by Elves, vaguely banded together under the same banned through shared rituals, customs and cultural values. The Knochenwald is a heavily forrested region - hence its name - and many a tale speaks of the dreadful, horrifying creatures that lurk within its boundaries, if not to mention the allegedly savage locals.   The Knochenwald makes for a harsh land to grow up and live in, with tales of savage beasts and ancient monsters being only mildly exaggerated, and it breeds a hardy people, distrusting of outsiders. The primary population is made up of Elves, the result of the fall of their people's Empire long, long ago, survivors migrating eastwards in an attempt to escape the disastrous fallout of their world as they knew it. Faced with prejudice and racism in the outside world, the residents of the Knochenwald keep to themselves and tend to stick together, not often venturing forth outside of their homeland save for traders, fishermans, and other assorted people acting out of professional necessity.   This has also resulted in a lack of certain advancements being present within the region, with only the powers that be having common access to things such as basic firearms, which they naturally make great use of in keeping the assorted towns and communities vaguely unified beneath their banner. The unity of the people of the Knochenwald has traditionally been very dependant on the strength of its ruling head, the inhabitants of the sprawling, ancient woodlands fiercely independent and not too fond of higher authorities from beyond their own communities.   Rather than being a heriditary title, the Elves of the Knochenwald employ a great and varied amount of rituals, as indicated by their ancestors long, long ago, to choose who shall lead them in the face of the wide worls outside upon the death of the previous ruler. They believe that through this, their honored ancestors will pick the one most suited to be their leader in the years to come - even if in reality such might not be entirely accurate, the trials and tribulations laid out in front of hopefuls being a variation of tests of the mind and body, and often rife with treachery.   The Knochenwald has a few cities, although most of the populace lives in smaller, often secluded townships and communities, rarely to be seen or heard of from outside. The rather poor and barebones nature of life within the Knochenwald has lead many to emigrate, although the immigrants coming from the region often maintain ties to their families and communities - perhaps another reason for the distrust many Elves get beyond the safety of their own lands.

Structure

Headed by an Imperial Duke subservient to the Elector Council's chosen Emperor, the Knochenwald is one of the Cimborian Empire's provinces and follows along a similar feudal structure, with the land divided into counties and baronies all beholden to the Imperial Duke and, ultimately, the Emperor.    Within the Knochenwald, the position of Imperial Duke is not inherited in the sense that it is usually inherited within the Empire's other duchies. Instead, it is given to the figure named as Arthael by the Bandurae caste of wise-women, granted only to the person they believe to be the reincarnation of an ancient hero and ruler of old. As such, to them, the position is inherited, although any outsider it would be anything but.

Demography and Population

The majority of the Knochenwald's population is made up of Elves, having emigrated from the western origins of their ancient Empire after it fell. They are the dominant (sentient) species present within the region and as a result are also the dominant power, both culturally and politically - which is somewhat of a sore spot for plenty of nobility and officials within the Empire, considering the status of Elves throughout it and even beyond its borders, otherwise.   A minority of humans from the Empire is present as well, with an even smaller group of Dwarves and humans from elsewhere, primarily located in the larger cities - mostly for reasons related to trade and the work spawned through it. Tensions are ever-present, even if they rarely erupt into all out violence or conflict.

Religion

The Elves of the Knochenwald primarily engage in various kinds of ancestor worship. In its most direct and least institutionalized form, this refers to the reverence of one's direct ancestors from throughout the ages, from an individual's direct family. Ancient Elven heroes from history and folklore, such as particularly renowned (in the minds of the people, at least) rulers of the Elven empire of old are revered as practically gods, while more local heroes are celebrated as something more akin to saints.   A caste of wise-women, so called Bandurae preside over the preservation of the many and varied rituals the Elves of the Knochenwald employ in their worship, as well as the other assorted traditions of their people. While not organised on any institutional level whatsoever, they essentially form a cast of priestesses and tend to hold a great amount of influence among their flock.   Outsiders are generally barred from the ceremonies held by the local people, and tend to stick to whichever faith they brought with them - public worship of anything other than the ancestors and sermons held by anyone other than the Bandurae is frowned upon at best, and violently persecuted by rabid mobs at worst.

Foreign Relations

When it comes to nations outside of the Cimborion Empire, the Knochenwald generally follows the Empire's own approach and thus bears similar relations with the outside world as that of the Empire, whatever they may be like at the time, although relations with the strongly devout men to the Cimborian Empire's north are always that more tense when it comes to them and the people of the Knochenwald especially.   Within the Empire's borders, internally, relations can often be tense, the result of generations upon generations of similarly tense racial relations between the Elven people and man. Headed by an Imperial Duke, the region remains of importance when it comes to the grandest political games of the Empire and its most prominent nobles.

Strength through hardship.

Type
Geopolitical, Duchy
Demonym
Knochenwalder
Head of State
Mairwyn Nic Asgaill
Government System
Monarchy, Elective
Economic System
Market economy
Currency
The Imperial Guilder.
Major Exports
Coal, wood, crops (if in excess).
Major Imports
Iron, steel, gunpowder.
Official Languages
Notable Members

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