Feb 20, 2012

Eopolitics: Dwer Tor

Internally, Dwer Tor is at the cusp of revolution. Through success in wars against the Forest People over the past century, the population of slaves has swelled in the city until they comprise a fifth of the total population, and often an even greater proportion in the far-flung colonies. This has destabilised the helot class, as slaves have taken over agriculture, mining, quarrying and other unskilled or semi-skilled work. Some helots have profited as slave overseers or as specialists like smiths and coopers, and the deme system helps to prevent total impoverishment, but the overall quality of life for helots has been on a long, slow decline.

As well, since most helots are halflings, as are most slaves, there has been a growing feeling of solidarity between the two groups. Inspired in part by the tales of revolution the Kaddish tell about their own experience, numerous violent revolutionary groups have emerged: the Black Blades, the Broken Chains, the Free Banners, etc. They differ in their method and strategies, but the goal is the same - overthrow Dwer Tor, kill the dwarves and voidmen, and institute a halfling-led society where all people will be equal. Many of these groups have established camps in the mountains and forests that slaves and helots can escape to, where they are trained as revolutionary soldiers.

Externally, Dwer Tor's three main concerns are the Kaddish, the Salt Men, and the Kingdom of Falling Stars. The Kaddish were once a staunch ally of Dwer Tor, but with the fall of their last king two hundred years ago (within the lifetime of many dwarves and voidmen still alive) they have become unpredictable and dangerous. There is no centre of power to negotiate with, so the Dwer have opted for containment. They hire Kadiz nomads and Hill People to raid the Orthocracy's southern hill forts and caravans. They have also posted bounties on a number of the more belligerent Kaddish, including Vailax the Screamer, prime of the Dead Horses unit of the Orthocracy's army, who the Dwer consider a bandit.

The Salt Men have been coming for generations to trade with Dwer Tor, providing high quality salt, glass, gold and other luxuries. They once traded with the Kaddish, but with the destruction of Kadhrek three hundred and fifty years ago, they shifted further south. Though the Salt Men rarely speak of their homelands, Krosmil and Haran, from what does come out it sounds like these kingdoms have become an empire, and that empire is aggressively expanding. The most recent ship from Haran brought a new ambassador, Tok Than, who announced that he had come to negotiate the founding of a colony of Salt Men somewhere on the coast to facilitate trade. He was taken into the Palace Eternal immediately, and has not been seen since.

The Kingdom of Falling Stars is the former home of the voidmen. Located far to the south, only the voidmen have ever survived the journey, and they refuse to return. The Great Southern Road, built long ago to reach the Three Towns, has fallen into disrepair, and the jungle has swallowed large stretches of it. The Kingdom of Falling Stars is not forgotten though. The voidmen have told tales of its god-king and his stellar magic, the inspiration for their own Logokratonism. Recently, a single animated statue has come to the southernmost outpost of the Dwer, claiming to bear important tidings from the god-king for his "wayward children". The statue is being transported back to Dwer Tor, though it has not spoken or acted since emerging from the jungle and announcing itself.

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