THE FOUR DUCHIES : BALLAR
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1/GEOGRAPHY OF THE ENCLAVE 2/HISTORY OF THE ENCLAVE 3/RELIGION IN THE ENCLAVE 4/THE FOUR DUCHIES : a- MORANON 4/THE FOUR DUCHIES : b- GORVANON 4/THE FOUR DUCHIES : c- NORLAMON 4/THE FOUR DUCHIES : d- BALLAR 5/ARGYL, THE GATE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD 6/OTHER INHABITANTS OF THE ENCLAVE : NON HUMAN AND GREYS 7/KUZDALITAR : THE DWARVEN KINGDOM 8/URBELINDEL : THE ELVEN KINGDOM 9/MAGIC IN THE ENCLAVE 10/FAMOUS PLACES AND PEOPLE IN THE ENCLAVE 11/CAMPAIGN NOTES: HOLY WAR IN GORTINA
4-d/THE DUCHY OF BALLAR
Located in the South East part of the Enclave, the Duchy of Ballar is a quiet and peaceful place to live in. Without any non human, far from the constant threat of Argolath, away from the major political and trading activities of Argyl, the area doesn't draw much attention and its inhabitant are happy to keep it that way.
This doesn't mean that nothing happens in Ballar. It is in fact a very secretive place with many hidden mysteries. And Ballar people don't like to share them with outsiders.
In the begining of its creation, the Enclave was split between many lords and factions and it was slowly united in four duchies. But it is in Ballar that this past is the most alive. The unification of Ballar is only theoretical. There is a Duke governing the duchy, his name is ELSARAS, Duke of KERMEN. But his power and function are mainly honorific, to represent the area in the rest of the Enclave. The true ruling body is the council of the Barons. The duchy therefore is split between twenty households, each with a claim to the ducal power, and none inferior to the others. They are the same than the lords who first took land and ruled over it at the time of the settlement. These households are ruled by barons who are invloved in a complex and permanent political struggle to secure their land and some advantages over the others. Trade is a very complex process in Ballar since the roads pass through the lands of various Barons who all levy some taxes on traders, at various rates and crossing the duchy with goods can be an expensive task if some pre arrangement hasn't been settled with the ruling families. These Barons meet in the council to rule over the country. They choose every 5 years one of them as representative to the other Duchies and grant him the title of Duke.
Each Baron owns a fortress and a city, over which they exert complete control. These cities therefore remain quite seperated from the others. But the Barons need each other since they all control parts of the land with different resources that are needed by all of them.
For purposes of trading and communication, the barons have agreed to create two neutral cities, where each household is represented and where the main trading and politics are conducted. The first of these and the capital of the Duchy is MERESME, built at the spot where the Tain river flows into the ASYR lake. This city conducts most of the trading with ohter duchies, holds the council of the Barons and the palace of the Duke. Meresme is a very pretty city, with canals that brings the waters of the Asyr and the Tain through the city. Transportation is done by boat as well as by foot and the place has been granted the name of floating city of the Enclave. It is mainly a display for the rest of the Enclave and therefore benefits from a heavy police force that guarantees a high security and many attractions to lure the visitors. Buildings must all have some specific character and display some work of art to give the impression that people of Ballar leave in luxury. The households also compete to have each the most magnificen palace in the city to represent them and one of the wonders of the place is the complex houses that have been extended and embellished over the years, tradition asking that each new Baron adds some part to the house to display his power and leave a trace of his passage. The result is maze like constructions with many terrasses, hanging garden, floors, towers... Sometimes added in a completely chaotic way but always in an eye catching and fascinating manner. Aside from the clean efficiency of Labron or the stern impressive constructions of Dolvir, Meresme really looks like a fairy tale city. It is also a place where all kind of deals can be passed, since the barons of Ballar specialize in offering various services to other duchies. Meresme has a population of 30000
The second city is TURLON. Located in the middle of the Duchy, it is not a well visited place and foreigners are not really welcome. The main purpose of the city is trading between the duchies and central training in some of the specialties of the area. It is said that the city is ruled by a thieves guild that overlooks the trading and is backed by the barons. Many academies can be found in Turlon where young people learn the arcanes of warfare, trading, spying, science, medicine, art... Some of the secrets or traditions of each family are excanged there to maintain a balance of the forces. It is a stren city with high buildings arranged around a maze of narrow streets. It is easy to get lost in Turlon and there is no guarantee to the stranger that he will find his way back alive or with all his goods.
Each household owns farms fields and villages that take care of the food production necessary for the autonomy of the fiefs. Products of Ballar are common meats, milk, fruits and vegetables, corn oat wheat and potatoes, game and skins. Some mines are located in the hills in the east and controlled by some of the families who trade the ore they mine with the harvest from the agriculturaly richer househods of the west. Most of Ballar's production is used for intern consumption, but some is kept for trading with Norlamon. Ballar is the friendliest duchy with Norlamon, maybe because they have also a strong family backed govenment and a tradition of warfare.
What they deal with the other duchies is services: Barons offer help in any possible areas to their neighbors. They provide mercenary troops that are used as bodyguards or to tame some revolts or brigand troubles. They offer services of highly trained spies, as well as thieves (Not always offered though. ballar's thieves often go to establish themselves secretly in other duchies and bring part of their benefits back to the main guild or to their household). They train specialists in all areas, that are always good adviros and have a high reputation all over the Enclave. That's why people from Ballar can be found anywhere in the Enclave.
There is a fierce competition between the households though and hiring a specialist from one Barony often means that all contacts with other barons must be severed. But the laws of the market always make it possible to renew some deals and change loyalties.
Ballar is militarily active and there are often skirmishes at the border of the duchies since they are not always clearly defined. This can be one more hinderance for the traveller who could quickly become a casualty in a fight or be caught as a spy.
People of Ballar are proud, considering that they outsmart all other duchies. The desire for the barons to get fame also push them more than any other duchy to try to send emissaries out of the Enclave to spread the fame of their families. And because of their peculiar way of life, these people are certainly the most able to survive in the rest of the world.
They have no special prejudice against non human although they seldom meet any. For the people in Ballar, non human are potential customers as any other and they would be curious to learn from them some secrets that they could use after to their own benefit.
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