Post by King Oden Sleibhin of Dumonia on Nov 4, 2017 17:17:31 GMT
The LAND of DUMONIA
In Albion's most southwesterly reach lies the fabled land of Dumonia, a realm rich with history and legends. Dumonia is in many respects, virtually an island, as it is surrounded by the sea on nearly all sides by its rugged windswept coastline, with the only exception in the northeast, where the Blackdown Hills in Devon reach to the Wessex borderlands and the realm of Alined.
Earlier in its history, much of Dumonia is said to have been covered by magnificent magical forests overlaying the hills and plains that are more readily apparent today. Today, only two forests reputed to have magical powers remain, the Morris and the Jaiant.
Dumonia's inland regions are home to arable farmlands and fine pasturelands, which supports the breeding of some of the finest stock of sheep, cattle and horses in all of Albion.
The coastline, is mostly occupied by high cliffs, but also features islets, stacks, coves and bays. Lowland stretches are also to be found, particularly along the south coast, sometimes backed by large expanses of sand dunes.
There are four major regions in Dumonia: Devon, Totnes, Tintagel and Lyonesse.
Post by King Oden Sleibhin of Dumonia on Nov 4, 2017 17:27:48 GMT
Located in the most south-westerly region of Dumonia, Lyonesse is a land only half the size today that it was rumored to be in ages past, for at one time, Lyonesse is said to have stretched all the way to the Isles of Scilly, but has since sunk beneath the waves (with the exception of islands and tidal outcroppings of hazardous rocks and reefs).
Arbray is one of the largest of the towns in southwestern Dumonia. Situated in the shelter of "Baya an Garrek", the Bay of Arbray is more accurately a sweeping series of bays along the southern coast of Dumonia that stretches from Lyzardh Point at the southern tip of the Jaiant Forest, to the granite cliffs of Toll Pedn Pennwydh near Penwaeth. References to the beauty and hazards along the coastline bays can be found in an untold number of stories, sagas and mariner songs.
North of the bay of Arbray, is a tidal island that gives its name to the large bay in which it resides: Karrek Loos yn Koos, meaning "grey or hoar rock in woodland". As its name suggests, the great bay was once a forested plain, as evidenced by the remains of trees that can sometimes be seen during low tides following storms. Like much of the rest of Lyonesse, the sea has laid, and continues to lay, its claim on the lands and people of Dumonia. Karrek island has a commanding view of the bay, and is topped by a well fortified Keep. There is also a granite causeway connecting the island to the mainland that is passable between mid-tide and low water. Though at times the bay may appear to be a benign, scenic, natural harbor, onshore winter gales can present a great danger to shipping and is a well known "maritime trap", especially for sailing ships that do not have sufficient oaring capacity.
The Jaiant Forest is all that remains of the vast magical forest that once covered virtually all of Dumonia. Large trees from the Jaiant forest are prized in construction and shipbuilding, which is why so little of it remains today. King Oden is committed to protecting what remains, and permission to log the trees of the Jaiant Forest must be secured from the King himself, and is rarely granted.
Lyzardh Point (from "an Lysardh", meaning 'the high court', as it was once exactly that hundreds of years ago) is at the southern tip of the Lyzardh Peninsula, where a once great castle can still be seen, though much of it (all but the keep) is in ruins. Locals believe it was a great dragon that decimated the outer walls of the castle, as what remains of the foundation of the outer walls is a shiny black, almost obsidian-like exterior. Though much smaller than in its heyday, Lyzardh Point remains an active port town (despite also being a notorious shipping hazard).
Enesek Syllan is the name of the archipelago off the southwestern tip of the Dumonian peninsula, and is the largest archipelago in southern Albion. Ennor (meaning "great island") is the largest of all Dumonian islands.
Also known as the Isles of Syllan, they have long been home to fishermen, farmers and trade merchants. "Syllanian" is sometimes used describe people or things from Syllan, and due to its rich history of trade, the Southwestern traders have become synonymous with Syllanian traders (at least to locals). Evidence of the fabled sunken lands of Lyonesse (underwater remains of roads and foundations) can be seen during low tide. The Seven Stones reef is a rocky reef west of Land's End, and east of Isles of Scilly, though it's precise location is known only to experienced local sailors. The reef is said to consists of two groups of rocks that rise out of deep water over an area of 2 miles long by 1 mile wide, consisting of up to 8 peaks that are visible at low tide. Most of the rocks appear at half ebb and others at low tide, making it a significant navigational hazard for shipping.
Post by King Oden Sleibhin of Dumonia on Nov 4, 2017 17:29:03 GMT
The Blackdown Hills form the border to Wessex in the east; but Devon's most significant geographic feature is the River Exe, which rises a mere 5 miles from Dumonia's north coast, but flows more or less due south for 60 miles before it finally reaches the sea in the form of a drowned river valley and estuary on the south coast of Devon.
The Exe river is a navigable river teaming with a wide variety of fish, including trout, perch, pike, and salmon. Consequently, numerous fishing communities can be found along the river, more densely populated as the Exe approaches the sea where it forms a ria, with long sand spits across the mouth. At high tide, the estuary forms a large body of water. At low tide, the extensive mud flats are exposed, where large flocks of wading birds can be seen.
Exeter ("fortress on the Exe") is the largest town in Devon. The Keep is in the oldest part of the town, which is set upon a ridge ending in a spur overlooking the Exe and the expanses of nearby fertile lands. A well maintained town wall provides protection from both land and sea.
Near the mouth of the river is the island of Exe, home to an increasing numbers of leats and watermills, producing a variety of goods, including textiles and paper. The draining of the nearby marshlands continues to create more usable land, which is helping to make the area even more productive.
In the northwest region of Devon is Exmoor, and area of hilly open moorland renowned as an ancient royal hunting forest. Poaching in the Exmoor is not tolerated and dealt with harshly, consequently the area is sparsely populated except along the coast.
South and east lies the Dartmoor, which borders both the Totnes and Tintagel regions.
Dartmoor's moorland is capped with many exposed granite hilltops known as tors, which provide habitats for Dartmoor wildlife, including ponies, rabbits, foxes, otters, badgers, grey squirrels, weasels, stoats, hares and deer. The highest tors in the north reach to over 2,000 feet above sea level.
The high ground of Dartmoor forms the catchment area for the region's rivers. As well as shaping the landscape, these rivers also support moor industries such as tin mining and quarrying.
Mining in Dartmoor and Devon in the southwest of Albion traces back thousands of years. Tin and, most recently, copper are the most commonly extracted metals. Stone quarry operations have picked up, in large part to the expanding castle building efforts of King Oden. There are also some smaller silver and zinc mining operations in the region, but these are generally not very profitable.
Tin is smelted from a mineral found in veins of granite, which can be seen throughout Dumonia, but is most commonly found and easily extracted in the uplands of Dartmoor, where there is a particularly productive area. The techniques used for the extraction of tin from Dartmoor follow a progression from streaming through open cast mining to underground mining.
The region's economy has been intertwined with Tin mining operations for quite a long time. Ancient Tin laws are well known and honored to this very day. "All the diggers and buyers of black tin, and all the smelters of tin, and traders of tin in the first smelting shall have the just and ancient customs and liberties established in Dartmoor and Devon."
The Blackdown Hills on the western border of Devon is an area of great natural beauty. Cut through by river valleys, the region supports an extensive range of wildlife, and has large deposits of chalk and scattered deposits of obsidian that are worked to this day. Ancient ringforts in various states of use or disrepair (many are used as family dwellings) can be seen throughout the hills.
Post by King Oden Sleibhin of Dumonia on Nov 4, 2017 17:32:19 GMT
The Tamar river up to the Dartmoor defines the border between Totnes and Tintagel to the east (North of Dartmoor is considered Tintagel's domain). The Tamar's source is less than 4 miles from the north coast, but it flows southward and its course runs across the peninsula to the south coast. At its mouth, the Tamar flows into an estuary where it combines with the river Plym, where at the mouth it forms a Sound. Numerous other tributaries feed both of those rivers as well.
The name Tamar (or Tamare) is said to mean "Great Water" in the language of the old empire to the south and east, but also believed by many to be derived from a prehistoric river word apparently meaning "dark flowing". Several towns dot the riverside, with the fort town of Tamaris being the largest and most well known.
According to the local tradition, "Brutus" an ancient conqueror of Albion, first came ashore on the island at Totnes. Set into the cobblestone pavement of Fore Street is the 'Brutus Stone', a small granite boulder onto which, according to local legend, Brutus first stepped from his ship. As he did so, he was supposed to have declaimed: Here I stand and here I rest. And this town shall be called Totnes. Though set just below the East Gate, the stone is far above the highest tides, calling into question its origins, or it least it's original location. It remains however as the stone from which the town crier (or bruiter calls his bruit or news). The stone has a secondary name and function, for it is also known as le Brodestone, a boundary stone, and has been a key reference point used in resolving land numerous land disputes over the centuries.
Fishing and trading have sustained life in this part of Dumonia for thousands of years, and with it come a variety of traditions and beliefs. The "old ways" are entrenched in the lives and activities of Totnesians - they are a cautious, and as many outsiders say, superstitious people by nature. Xenophobic might be the best word to describe the locals attitude, and this is not without good reason, as Totnes has frequently been a first stop by would be foreign invaders from the south and east for hundreds if not thousands of years. Stories of dragons breathing fire from the sky to demolish entire villages and burn towns to the ground, foreign raiders killing menfolk and taking the womenfolk away never to return, of mysterious faeries known to trick the unwary out of things they value, and of young beautiful maidens with dragon, demon or devil spawned children. These stories can be found anywhere in Dumonia, but are strongest in the Totnes region.
Post by King Oden Sleibhin of Dumonia on Nov 4, 2017 17:36:08 GMT
The Tintagel region gets its name from a spectacular castle built on an island along the west coast of Dumonia that is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, where the kings of Dumonia, living and dead, have for centuries held court or rested their mortal remains in the castle on the peninsula island of Tintagel, literally "the Fort on the Mountain".
While the royal court is usually held in the castle standing astride the narrow strip of land linking Dumonia to Tintagel, it is widely known that a network of tunnels and caves are used for various functions such as store rooms for dried meat, weapons and armories... or more sinister purposes if one were to listen to the old stories and legends, that claim these caves and tunnels had been carved out by a Formorian tribe, either defeated and slain, or enslaved and chained deep under Tintagel by the first Dumonian king, Ernmas, a sorcerer of tremendous powers who had been banished from Hibernia and roamed the land for two hundred and twenty moons in search of an establishment for him and his handful of followers. Tintagel - the Fort on the Mountain - eventually inspired the name adopted by the house of Ernmas, Sleibhin, whose dynasty scions have ruled the land for seven times seven generations, including the reign of King Oden.
The Tintagel region, like the rest of Dumonia, is dominated by the sea and coastline, and the many large granite outcroppings that dot the Dumonian countryside. So it should be no surprise that the highest point in Dumonia (at over 1/4 of a mile above sea level) is one of these, "Bronn Wennili", meaning 'hill of swallows', located within the Bodmin Moor. Bronn Wenneli is one of numerous large granite outcroppings, often covered by rough grass, heather and bog flora. Woodland is prevented from growing on the granite uplands because of the poor soil and the height giving them the full force of the wind and climate. Many locals will insist that dark magic eminates from some of these bronns. An assortment of old wives tales (mostly of the tragic variety) seem to support this notion. One legend that pays homage to the ancient belief in dragons still has practitioners of the ritualistic offering of a village maiden to pass the night before the new year within a circle of stones on top of one of these bronn's. These stories have a variety of endings, some good, others, well, not so good.