The former Kingdom of Halindon (now the Malakian Protectorate of Armstel) was a nation known for its mining, metallurgy, military academies, and strong wines. Since the occupation by Malaki, trade with other nations and indeed any contact with the outside world has been very limited. Trading ships from Volga are rumored to cross the Bleak Sea to trade for metals needed for their war with the Ice Demons. But little news of the embattled kingdom has made it to Sharizarn because, by treaty the Volgan’s are prohibited from trading with Halindon.
Part of the reason Halindon is known for its metals and metallurgy is that the majority of the Kingdom is mountainous. Mount Corbus, The World Anchor, assumed to be the largest and tallest mountain in the world (no one has ever reached the summit and returned), makes up the eastern border of the Kingdom. Surrounding the mountains is mostly hilly terrain.
As Sharizarn has developed sophisticated agricultural and engineering practices, Halindon has developed metallurgical sciences and forging techniques that are the most advanced of any kingdom. While other nations, including Iberion and Jalan, are known for making fine, flexible steel, Halindon is known for some of the hardest and most versatile alloys. Halindon also produces cold-iron and is known for the ability to work cold-iron (cold-iron items from Halindon are typically less expensive and more durable).
Crops are grown on hillside and in valleys and plateaus. As a result, the Halindon diet includes a lot of goat, sheep and other sure-footed livestock, as well as fruits and vegetables that can be grown in poor or rocky soil. Very little grain is grown in Halindon, which has led to a valuable trade relationship with Sharizarn. While little information has come from Halindon, the assumption of most leaders in Sharizarn is that Malaki is bringing foodstuffs in from Autelhus, the Malakian state with the most agricultural resources.
Before the occupation, the Halindonian government was a traditional monarchy with succession following the male bloodline. Succession had followed smoothly for approximately 200 years with five generations of Fuchs’ sitting on the Earthstone Throne, with Gareth being the end of their line.
In 5317, King Gareth agreed to what was seen as a diplomatic marriage to one of Emperor Malaki’s daughters, Deidre. Halindon’s allies saw the marriage as a potential hedge against Malakian aggression (the Empire had recently annexed Austelhus), and if any of the Alliance rulers could handle a diplomatic marriage it was the strong, handsome and charming King Gareth. Unlikely Halindon’s allies, her people were not in favor of the marriage. King Gareth was considered the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor and aristocratic women and peasant girls from across the kingdom dreamed of being his bride. King Gareth’s court had hoped for a more positive diplomatic marriage, possibly to a princess from Sharizarn. Overall, the announcement of the engagement was poorly received, and in an effort to avoid complications, the couple was married in Malaki rather than Halindon. The King with his new Queen returned to Halindon with her son Eric in tow. Eric was the son of Deidre and her first husband, a general from Malaki. Her husband was killed in battle two years earlier. Eric was quite the surprise to the people of Halindon, while the fact that she was a widow was widely known (and another reason to dislike the future Queen), only the court and Nobles from the Alliance were aware of Eric.
Queen Deidre arrived in Halindon to a, at best, mixed welcome. For the most part, the peasantry was willing to stay quiet for now and not voice their misgivings, but neither were they willing to cheer for their new Queen. Things at court were little better. The courtiers, especially the women (many of whom had been entertained by King Gareth) were furious at her arrival, and the male nobles were vexed by both the political marriage and the temper of the women of the court. Deidre did win some hearts and favor with her unearthly beauty and surprisingly modest and shy demeanor (at least initially). In time she gained some popularity with the peasantry, and a few friends in court.
While little is known about their private life, it was believed that King Gareth came to love his beautiful bride despite the political nature of their marriage and the difficult circumstances that surrounded it. She was at his side constantly in the first year of their marriage and he would dote on her when they were at court functions. Eric, on the other hand appeared to be uncomfortable in his new surroundings and show distain for his new stepfather. More than once they got into shouting matches in court, usually over foreign policy, but on at least one occasion over a perceived slight by the King against his mother.
One safeguard was put in place prior to the marriage. In a treaty negotiated between the Alliance Kingdoms, including Halindon, and The Malakian Empire, Deidre agreed that she would never rule Halindon, and that her son Eric would not succeed King Gareth upon his death unless King Gareth decreed himself that the boy was his true heir. Succession would fall to Gareth’s sister, Mila or failing that, to one of the four Dukes who each rule a portion of Halindon to be selected by the Court of Barons (a sort of congressional body that provides guidance on the Kingdom’s needs).
In 5319, Eric, took the crown of Halindon in a bloody coup. King Gareth was killed along with Princess Mila and his court was disbanded or put to the sword. It is believed that the treaty and King Gareth’s reluctance to embrace Eric as his adopted son led to the coup. In a political move, apparently intended to keep the Alliance kingdoms at bay, Deidre did not assume the throne. Since Eric succeeded the king by force rather than normal succession, his ascension to the throne technically did not violate the treaty. While the Allies were furious, any action they may take was stalled by diplomatic efforts to reconcile the situation. By the time Sharizarn could organize their allies to retaliate against the Eric the Bold (as he called himself) they were embroiled in a war with Volga. With their principle opponent otherwise occupied, the Malakian Empire began moving troops into Halindon and by 5324 Malaki annexed the kingdom and Deidre was placed on the throne. Since then, Eric has been not seen, and is assumed to be dead, though no body has been found.
Nobles who supported King Gareth, with help from Sharizarn, formed a resistance and attempted to overthrow King Eric and his mother Queen Deidre starting in 5319. By all accounts, the resistance has managed to remain in operation through the present day. The fact that the resistance has held on as long as it has in Halindon is a testament to the military discipline inherent in the Halindonian culture.
There are three major military academies in Halindon. The oldest and most prestigious is the Royal War College of Halindon, located in Narich Pass. The college is located on the grounds of a fortified castle and is considered a strategic asset as well as a national treasure. The castle guards the main road to the capitol in Hoch Bergen.
The War College of Barrett’s Crag, located in the mountains in southern Halindon, was established by King Waldron of Halindon in 5236 in hopes of developing a cadre of military officers. While arcane studies are a part of each school, Barrett’s Crag is the only school of the three that includes a magus college. The magus college was suggested by the College’s current Dean of Arcane Studies, Yasmine Kulgar 20 years ago.
The newest of the schools, the Warhorse Academy of Kretcher, opened 60 years ago in response to the then threat of war with Sharizarn, known for their skilled cavalry. The Warhorse Academy is the only one of the schools that offers full courses in riding, mounted combat and cavalry tactics.
Prior to the occupation, Halindon had outlawed slavery after agreeing to a treaty with the Alliance banning slavery. Prior to the ban, Halindon practiced slavery in a limited form, as a punishment and a way to utilize prisoners of war. Slavery was usually for life, though in rare circumstances valuable slaves could earn a limited form of freedom and citizenship.
Peasants in Halindon have traditional roles and rarely gain much freedom. Halindon had a small but slowly growing middle-class made up of merchant, artisans, and mine owners. The aristocratic class and nobles of the Kingdom had been the leaders and rulers. Since the occupation the aristocratic class has been in shambles. Most of the nobles of the Kingdom are presumed dead, those who are not are in hiding. The Malakian’s have attempted to create a new aristocratic class from wealthy merchants and military officers willing to pledge loyalty to the Empire.
Halindon formerly exported iron, metal alloys and worked metal items as well as gems and minerals throughout the continent. Smiths, metalworkers and mining experts from Halindon were sought by other kingdoms for their expertise. Weapons and armor from Halindon were considered among the best in the known world. Since the occupation, Halindon has not exported anything to the Alliance Kingdoms, and the assumption has been that all of Halindon’s exports have gone to the Empire. Just as no exports have come from Halindon, Halindon’s usual imports of magic, grain, beer, and livestock.
Halindon is largely a human kingdom. Many dwarves live throughout Halindon and there are many dwarven enclaves in the mountains. As in Volga, dwarves and humans enjoy strong alliances. While forests in Halindon are limited as in Sharizarn, there are populations of elves in the few lowland forests and in mountain valleys. The elves in Halindon have choosen to live apart from the humans and dwarves for the most part. As in most cultures, there are a number of elves who choose to spend a few centuries living in human cities. Several elves teach in the military schools.
Gnomes occupy a special place in Halindonian society. They have been the source of much of the metallurgical knowledge in the kingdom. Gnomes keep themselves separate from the other races despite their special role. They live in small enclaves in forested hills and in some deep mountain caves.
Halflings are quite rare in Halindon. The rugged terrain and difficult farming offer little for them. Those few who live in Halindon are merchants and craftsmen in the larger cities, and often immigrate to Sharizarn after a decade or two.
Orcs in Halindon are treated as second-class citizens, only slightly above slaves. They serve in mines and forges as manual labor. Units of orc troops have been used as shock-troops.