The history of Brevoy is actually the history of two lands, Issia and Rostland, united into one by force. Issia, the northern half of the nation, has been sparsely settled for centuries; numerous small villages cluster on the southern shore of the Lake of Mists and Veils and in the foothills of the mountains to the east. Rostland, south of Lake Reykal and the Gronzi Forest, is quite different – a vast stretch of rolling hills and grasslands fed by the East Sellen River and its tributaries. Taldan colonists settled this area centuries ago under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, who became Sirian Aldori, first of the Aldori swordlords.
In 4499 AR, the Iobarian warlord Choral Rogarvia, known as “the Conqueror”, crossed the Lake of Mists and Veils with a considerable force under his command. Lord Nikos Surtova of Issia surrendered its land and people to the Conqueror without a struggle, while retaining their power and wealth; but the Aldori swordlords of Rostland, with their history of resisting bandit raiders, were not so wiling to bend their knees to a foreign conqueror. The fractious swordlords with their strongholds south of Lake Reykal were no match for the discipline and tactics of Choral’s forces, who were additionally supported by a pair of red dragons. Rostland pledged itself to Choral the Conqueror as a way to save its traditions from eradication.
For two centuries the Rogarvias held the Ruby Fortress and ruled from New Stetven; under their rule the nation came to be known as Brevoy and grew into a significant northern power. In the middle of winter in early 4699 AR, every member of House Rogarvia vanished without a trace. Conspiracy theories abounded, but there was no evidence of foul play or struggle within the royal palace or any of the Rogarvias’ villas; clearly what had occurred was something altogether stranger than a mere rebellion. A brief period of chaos followed, but the Surtovas, citing their age-old ties with the Conqueror’s line, were quick to seize power in New Stetven and extend their reach across Brevoy. With all of Issia seemingly backing the move, Rostland had little choice but to bend its knee again. Today, King Noleski Surtova holds the Ruby Fortress and the Dragonscale Throne, yet it remains to be seen how long he can maintain this rule over a kingdom growing increasingly fractious.
Brevoy is broken into two main regions:
The northern half of Brevoy was once the independent nation of Issia. A twisted landscape of rugged hills covered only with scrub and scree, the uniformly poor quality of the soil makes it nearly impossible to grow anything here. The people live mostly on the fish they can catch, a diet supplemented only by food shipped up from Rostland or areas further south. In centuries past, the people of Issia were infamous raiders, and their river-raiding craft were feared along the whole length of the Sellen, all the way to the Verduran forest.
For more than a thousand years, the Surtovas have ruled Issia. The family of pirates and scoundrels has retained an iron grip on Issia ever since it beat all the other pirates and scoundrels into submission. Collectively, Surtovas are known as crafty schemers. Lacking both natural resources and a large population, Issia has never possessed anything like a mighty military force, but it usually survives by outsmarting its enemies. When Choral and his dragons arrived, the Surtovas surrendered immediately and were therefore spared the retribution that nearly destroyed their southern neighbors in Rostland. Since that day, the family worked, slowly and carefully, to advance its position in the royal hierarchy of Brevoy—a diligence that paid off when the Rogarvias disappeared. Many suspect the Surtovas are somehow behind the mysterious disappearance, as no sooner had the Rogarvias vanished than the Surtovas began consolidating their grip on the throne.
On the whole, Issians remain a reclusive and enigmatic bunch. Each village has its own traditions dating back hundreds of years. Outsiders find themselves distrusted and shunned. Rumors of bloody rituals and human sacrifice remain unsubstantiated, but in the far-away cities of Restov and New Stetven, people whisper that the true masters of Issia remain hidden beneath the waters of the Lake of Mists and Veils, emerging in the dead of night to strike terrible bargains with the villagers.
Rostland, south of Lake Reykal and the Gronzi Forest, is quite different than Issia—a vast stretch of rolling hills and grasslands fed by the East Sellen River and its tributaries. Taldan colonists settled this area centuries ago under the leadership of Baron Sirian First, who became Sirian Aldori, first of the Aldori swordlords.
Rostland is a gentle and fertile place of grassy plains and rolling hills. Watered by the lake and rivers, Rostland’s soil is better suited for farming, and the mountains and forest help to blunt the worst of the storms that roll down off of the Lake of Mists and Veils. Still, Rostland is known for its chill winters and its long, slow, and muddy spring season.
Nowhere is the Rostlandic spirit more alive than in the Free City of Restov. The city owes its allegiance to the Brevic crown, and Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius (NG male human aristocrat 3/expert 2) must bend his knee before the Dragonscale Throne like any lord, but otherwise Restov
belongs to no house, making it a haven for the lost glories of the Aldori swordlords and those who look back to the old days before the coming of the Conqueror.
Restov is a city of both refinement and rough-and-tumble manners, as only a colony can be in fondly recalling and imitating its motherland. The gentry of Restov consider themselves sophisticates, although a Taldan visitor would consider their ways quaint, and touched with no small amount of northern barbarism. The city is a bustling trade center along the border.
Restov’s relative wealth supports no small number of idle and titled lordlings and merchants’ sons. They frequent the various Aldori and Taldan dueling schools, as well as the alehouses, and fight each other in street corner challenges at dawn and dusk. The schools, salons, and taprooms of Restov are also hotbeds of rebellious talk against the reign of King Noleski Surtova, with young firebrands in search of a leader to rally them to the cause.