Rise of Nations
Capital: Mivon (population 10,870)
Notable Settlements: Jovvox (population 1,450)
Ruler: Mayor Raston Selline
Languages: Common, Hallit
Religions: Abadar, Gorum, Pharasma
When Choral the Conqueror began his bloody conquest in 4499 AR, the Aldori swordlords were divided. Those noble Houses that chose to stay were slaughtered or subsumed into the Conqueror’s empire. Those Houses that retreated retained their independence, but were branded cowards by their compatriots. They migrated south into the River Kingdoms where they became known as the Houses in Exile. After they easily subjugated the region’s previous claimants, the Houses and their swordlords founded the city-state of Mivon on the principles of the Aldori Swordpact. Although 200 years have passed, the Aldori of Mivon still bristle at the memory of their ignominious retreat, and rather than admit the cowardice of their ancestors, have turned the existence of Brevoy itself into an insult to their honor. “Coward” and “Brevoy bird” have become the gravest insults one can bestow on the Mivoni Aldori, and those who lived here before the exodus have picked it up as well.
The largest city in the kingdom, Mivon is the seat of government for the area. It’s a walled city built at the confluence of two major rivers: one reaching to Restov and the other to New Stetven. The stone walls of Mivon have seen a number of sieges, and their foundations constantly sink into the marsh that surrounds the city. Still, the walls offer some protection, and they bristle with crossbowmen, as do the wharves and jetties lining the river that flows the city. The great Council Hall (formerly the palace) sits in the central plaza of the town, and is itself surrounded by stronger walls. The square outside is the market square, filled with as much bustle as a kingdom the size of a barony can assemble. The walls also contain granaries and livestock pens, to which the populace can drive any herds they might own in case of a raid. The greatest part of the Mivoni population lives here.
The ramshackle huts of the lower quarter, where most visitors stay if they’re just passing through, line squalid, muddy streets. Half the houses here are places of ill repute: brothels, gambling dens, drug parlors, and worse. No fewer than three different gangs— the Fast Fallen, the River’s Edge Cutters, and the Corpse Howlers (said to be servants of a vampire)— vie for control over the quarter, and their nightly battles always leaves at least a few bodies in the street. Even the Aldori militia doesn’t come down here in groups of less than four.
The nine great Aldori Houses and their holdings, along with a patchwork of smaller walled villages and communal farms surrounding those, create a wide ring around the city. Each of the larger family has constructed its own keep of stone or wood on the hills, to which their tenants can flee during raids, and from which the Houses can conduct raids of their own.
The kingdom’s greatest exports are eels and fish— fishermen and drab eel catchers haunt byways and sodden trails of the marsh, and drag their catch to market. It is said that the eels of Mivon often feed on the flesh of men. Certainly, the swordlord Raston Selline, who rules the city under a guise of gentility but with a network of informers second to none, is sometimes seen walking out into the marshes with some petty miscreant or annoying adventurer and returning accompanied only by his faithful guards. “A walk to the fishponds” has a very particular meaning in Mivon.
Occasional bogs provide excellent sources of peat in more far-flung corners of the kingdom, and the Mivoni exploit these as much as possible. Additionally, enterprising would-be lumber barons have started logging in the north of Mivon. Their only concern is a band of elves who’ve taken up residence there; each side appears bent on total destruction of the other.
For the most part, Mivon encourages foreign visitors. With adventurers come foreign trade and caravans, and this kingdom, more than most, requires significant economic activity in order to maintain the lifestyles of the Aldori overlords. Further, more foreigners means more duels, and as any duels raise one’s social standing, these foreigners become an easy rung for Mivon’s social ladder.
The backbone of Mivoni society is the List of Suitors, a monthly publication listing the results of recent duels. At the Sevier, a weekly gathering of duelists, anyone from the ages of 16 to 60 can challenge another individual to a public duel although those who have established a high reputation tend to avoid the affair unless they have been specifically challenged to appear. In Mivon, duels are more than just a means to settle disputes and redress insults. A successful duelist may garner accolades, promotions, and even offers of marriage. Even non-Aldori can gain admiration and advance socially in this way, though only Aldori may hold political office.
Mivon has no standing army. Each Aldori House fields its own militia, flies its own colors, and swears fealty to a master, rather than to the Mivon kingdom as a whole. The Houses agree on little but they compete fiercely with each other for the right to provide security in the city of Mivon, and other necessary military duties. Anyone seeking hired protection or soldiers of fortune would do well to consult the leaders of one of Mivon’s noble Houses in Exile, who select the finest duelists from their ranks every year to serve and fight for the highest bidder— the profits going into that House’s coffers. It’s not uncommon for different Houses of Mivon to fight on opposite sides of the same war, and those Mivoni who garner respect in the dueling ring are sure to be selected by House leaders for contract work.