Thrones of Dust
Tir’Heth is the homeland of the elven people. It is a civilized, populous land, rife with intrigue, political struggles, where honor, status, loyalty and power are traded as if it were coin.
Geography and Climate
The nation of Tir’Heth stretches from the warm meadows that border Andalona in the west, to the stark, flinty hills in the north-east, bordering Ilbakov. The northern woodlands and marshes give way to wide, rolling grasslands as one travels south, ending at a long and meandering coastline.
Towns and cities are scattered quite evenly across the land, with a vast network of roads connecting the smaller settlements with the larger cities. The cities of this nation are much less densely populated than those found in other countries, but they are much, much wider spread, sprawling over the countryside; individual communities (known as “Holdings”) loosely tied to each other by geographical proximity and complex political loyalty.
Tir’Heth is ruled primarily by the elves, which make up a majority of the population. Humans are in relatively high numbers, especially in the north and east (closer to Setour and Andalona), and Halflings are fairly populous in the southern coastal cities. And while the Idrin make up nearly a third of the total elven populace, the Eladrin and the Aveldrin hold almost all the true political power.
The government of Tir’Heth is a complex hierarchy of hundreds of senators, speakers and councillors sent to represent the interests of their Holdings. These representatives are appointed by the Patron family of each Holding, usually drawn from the family as well (though it is not uncommon to have trusted allies of the Patron family or local heroes of the Holding as representatives as well). The number of representatives a Holding can send is based on how large the Holding is, how useful it is to the country as a whole (centers of commerce, arts and military have more sway), and how much political power the Holding has within the hierarchy.
The citizens of each Holding pay their taxes to their Patron family. In single Holdings, the Patron family is often the founding family of the town and lives there, well known and usually well respected. In larger cities, made up of several Holdings, the Patron families of all the Holdings usually live close together in the richest, most defensible or most aesthetically pleasing Holding as a center of governance; a Holding that quickly becomes home to the elite and wealthy, a sign of status and political power.
Politics are the meat and drink of Tir’Heth. Both the Eladrin and Aveldrin Patron families vie constantly against each other. The average council of a mid-sized city is a tangled web of sanctions, rumour, alliances, betrayals, laws, ratifications, threats, lies, treaties and occasionally assassination. Each representative tries to move things in favour of the Holding they represent, in favour of the Patron family they serve, or in favour of the myriad of merchant lords, knightly orders, wealthy social elites, religious factions, crime lords or foreign powers that have secretly bought or earned that representative’s loyalty.
Even those families and groups who are not Patrons of a Holding vie between themselves to build relations with the Patron family; in many Holdings the Patron family serves as merely a puppet for others within the community. Eventually, the Patronship could shift permanently, though some feel that there are advantages in staying a power behind the Patron, rather than the Patron itself; it provides an extra body that the poisoned dagger must cross.
Culture and Religion
The culture and traditions of Tir’Heth is an amalgamation of the traditions of the three races of elves. At the founding of the nation, the Eladrin and the Aveldrin had mutually agreed to keep their cultures distinct. However, as the two nations grew together, various local traditions bled over; certain festivals, observances, superstitions and mores were adopted by the other race. This became even more prominent when half-Eldarin, half-Aveldrin children were born, who grew up wanting to experience both sides of their culture.
Then came the assimilation of the Idrin. While it took many decades, the Idrin’s cultural adaptability bridged the gap between the aloof, arcane Eladrin and the debauched, pragmatic Aveldrin. The Idrin also brought a wealth of mythology and tradition of their own, culture steeped in the natural world. The other two elven races recognized the philosophies and spirit that they had lost so long ago in their pursuit of civilization; they saw the strength that they had forgotten. As the Idrin had been assimilated into the elven kingdom, so too had their cultures merged.
The biggest impact of this merging was the creation of The Three, the divine coven of sister goddesses, patron deities of the nation of Tir’Heth.