Horturvale (Proposed Nation):
Horturvale is one of the great powers of Lore, and one of the largest nations of mankind currently in existence on the northern continent. Its territories extend across a sizable western coastline, stretching deep inland; southern boundaries roughly border the dustbowl of Corbullo, while the northern reaches reach into mountainous territory, permanently covered in layers of snow and ice, while its eastern borders are a mad jumble of indistinct borders between the various other human nations and states that lie further inland.
Horturvale’s history is not impartial and has many gaps (particularly in its earliest years). However, there are a few broad phases in its history that historians from multiple nations can agree upon.
The Hortu were a nomadic horse tribe during the Age of the Raethuhshayt, where the early human settlements were starting to understand the concepts of magic and were using them to dominate. The Hortu people nominally ruled by several colonising nations over this long period; all were budding civilisations that rose and fell, with history barely taking an interest in their relatively temporal existences. Unlike other tribes that died out, the Hortu people survived by adapting. They became settlers and farmers, which allowed them to survive when the more powerful nations began to eradicate raiders.
Centuries later, the tribes of the Hortu seem to have become an early proto-nation of Horturvale, with a common language and tight trading agreements between their wood and stone settlements. Then, the Preobtrusion swept through the continent, and the magically-empowered nations began their wars in the south against the Elves. This required extensive resources, and the states which ruled Horturvale expanded mining and agriculture massively, using the vale as one of their bread-basket territories. This ironically aided the Horturvale natives, who developed massively both magically and culturally. When they finally threw out the petty governors of the other nations, they were one of the most powerful factions and soon found recognition from the others, after numerous bloody wars and trade disputes that threatened to destroy them. Other races took advantage of the confusion and brutalised isolated pockets of humanity. This was a dark period of history, and one which is hard to corroborate or confirm with regards specific details.
Horturvale survives though, and eventually becomes part of the Nenharman Empire after the Legendary Coming of Light, where the King of Nenharman and his wizards discovered some profound secret of magic. They raised the floating cities and other wondrous things with their newfound powers, powers which would equal and perhaps even eclipse the magic of the Elves. Horturvale and its ruling senate of Elders became a full member State of the Empire, which spanned over half the Northern mega-continent at its height. It is hard to tell fact from fancy in that time, but it is clear the loyal nations under the Imperial rule Nenharman thrived in magical technology and economic prosperity. Horturvale was transformed from a wild land of raw magic and rogues, into a veritable Metropolis, the fourth largest State in the Nenharman Empire. Floating cities were tethered in resource-rich lands across Horturvale, garrisons of Nenharman Legionnaires were installed, and vast tracts of peasant land were cleared for near-industrial levels of farming. Water mages created rainstorms that turned plains into bountiful lands full of grain fields and orchards overflowing with fruit. The mines were vastly expanded, and Horturvale’s port cities swelled with trade from the southern and inter-continental coasts via the western ocean.
But this period of Nenharman domination could not last.
There was a war; a vast and terrible war. There are a million different explanations by historians of various nations that try to explain who started the war and why (or indeed, which side many of the great powers sided with), but there are popular accounts. But again, we can be broad in our explanations. It is said that there arose a rival alliance to the Nenharman’s Empire. The Thaumaturge were powerful magicians, who were focussed upon magic of the self; of the human body and of the physiology of life in general. Some attribute to the Nechi Dynasty the role of heroic saviours who opposed the Thaumaturge in their diabolical experiments, but these tales are seen as fictitious now; probably propaganda to justify conflict with the Thaumaturge’s puppet nations. It began as a war of words. It wasn’t until the infamous Kandevar and his heirs took over Nenharman that the war turned into a full-blown military conflict, fought on every level of reality; mages battled mages, constructs and Golems were built to destroy and defile, armies clashed with bow and sword and fearsome cannons of flame. Even the land itself was recruited into the war; volcanoes were prematurely woken, forests ripped down castles with their expanding roots. The horror was awful to behold. The Nenharman Empire, wonder of the near-modern age of Lore, collapsed, as did their foes. Nobody truly won the war of Great Powers.
Horturvale was not spared damage in the war, but perhaps due to its location, it was not as horrendously damaged as other nation states. Its ports were spared, and it retained a large fraction of one of the Legions. From this desperate post-war situation, Horturdale slowly recaptured lost territories it had once possessed.
Horturdale retains one of the floating cities. This is Castrus, city of the Gleaming Emeralds, and serves as the capital of Horturvale. It is tethered to the earth by magical chains of almost-pure Ki mineral. Its architecture is a marvel; a city as gleaming as polished ivory, studded with shining Emerald-coloured glass, which turns the entire city a wonderful green when the sun strikes the city at just the right angle. Its people are as diverse as they are rich. Dirigibles and the flying mounts of ambassadors and traders from across the continent flock to the unnatural city. The largest tower is the Senate’s Palatial Spire. Here, an army of clerks and scribes administer the nation state’s various settlements. They organise and spend the taxes and tribute from the towns and castles of Horturvale. Beneath the floating city is a smaller town, Kartum, where the lower orders gather to make a living from the people who live above. At the centre of Kartum are the Vaults, where the worst of the magical artefacts are stored, alongside the most valuable treasures plundered from across the world.
The Nation’s second city is Vorebellum, the primary port city of the nation, and also where most of the Horturvaliant*navy is docked. Horturvale maintains an elite professional military, the core of which are descendants of the original VI ‘Sciprio’ Legion of the old Nenharman Empire. This rather small army is reinforced during major wars by numerous mercenaries hired by the mercantile nobility.
The once-lush fields of Horturvale are overgrown and hard to cultivate (due to botanical curses inflicted upon them long ago). However, magical and mundane mining is flourishing, and trading with the other nations has made the Horturvaliant nobility and their vassals wealthy. Rather oddly, the Senate of Horturvale do not technically rule the nation however. There is a Prince and royal family who are the figureheads for the nation. There is never a king though, for Horturvale symbolically considers itself a vassal state of the Nenharman Empire, regardless of the fact the Empire fell over a hundred years ago.
*(‘Horturvaliant’ is the equivalent of ‘British’ when talking about things which belong to ‘Britain’)
Horturvale (Proposed Nation):