News from Gwenth

Ah, gosh.. Is it 20xx with you?

I bet Gwenthia was started somewhere in 2004 or 2005, so we're about 16 years in! However time moves so much slower, and so it's been but a few moons.. [:-}]

The site is fairly robust, but no changes since 2012 basically..

Sadly gwenthia dot org has been seized, copied and use by malware scum, so avoid

Tom Aug 2021

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At the heart of the continent of Thurian lies the vast Meravae Plateau, bounded by towering mountains to the north and south, steep cliffs to the west and narrow valleys to the east. Once the seat of an ancient inhuman Empire (the Meravae Empire), for millennia seen as a backwater and obstacle to trade and commerce across the continent, and occasionally as the source of religious fanatics and barbarian hordes, the last half millennia has seen the emergence of a new power, the Republic of Telbrin, and changed the wider worlds perception of the Meravae Plateau forever. By delving deeper in to their own past, the Telbrini have found strength and knowledge that has brought them and their client states unprecedented economic wealth and contact with nations across Gwenthia: a new age of prosperity and enlightenment has dawned for the inhabitants of the crossroad of the world.

The Republic of Telbrin occupies the upper reaches of the Hallex River, with the Confederation of the Children of Xantir occupying the north-western plateau, just east of the Manas Mountains. The dizzying heights between, including the towering peak of Mount Keril (one of the natural wonders of Gwenthia) is the home of the High Kingdom folk, the tribes of the Merav nation. The central plateau is divided up into many petty principalities and “kingdoms”, some no more than a fortified village. The further south and west the more lawless, but also sparsely populated the plateau becomes. The Smoking Hills, where the Dragon Peaks with their active volcanism really begin, is a baleful country, rarely travelled and mostly shunned by the plateau folk.

The people of the plateau are almost universally human… Albeit the Mountain Folk (human population of the high mountains – the High Kingdoms and parts of both the Confederation of the Children of Xantir and the Petty Princedoms) are so well adapted to their mountain home that they suffer reverse altitude sickness at anything approaching sea level. The people of the Hallex River Valley and other lowing lying parts of the region are known as River Folk or Valley Folk. There are pockets of non-humans in the high valleys – even the Republic of Telbrin isn’t heavily populated, and the high plateau boasts some remarkably strange wildlife (theorised to be left over from Meravae Zoological collections). It is now generally accepted that there is an Iqari population on Mount Keril, although details are sketchy, and what relations are like between the ferocious flying beings and their human "neighbours" is unknown.

The Republic of Telbrin is young, vibrant, assertive: a nation newly forged in the heat of innovation and discovery with its eyes to the future but grounded with a sense of respect for the history of its forebears and a true appreciation of natural justice and the right of men to freedom, commerce and just self-governance free of tyranny and oppression... ...or possibly they are grave-robbing opportunists bent on imposing their views on everyone around them for the sake of their own aggrandisement, depending on ones point of view... They have printing presses (hand carved wooden type), Skyships (recently developed from knowledge recovered from Meravae sites on the High Plateau and apparently based on different principles to the Wind Caravels? of the Tharux), passable steel (Western Europe, circa 1400) and are currently considering equipping elements of the Cohorts, the volunteer military of the Republic, with early chargers (simple pre-cursor of the matchlock, the first musket): once they can reliably forge larger barrels, they will have the capability to make cannons, and will have added a new capability to their formidable, if small, army.

The Republic of Telbrin itself seems ripe for external conflict: it seems inevitable that it will clash with either Parkhesh (with whom cultural, geographical and historical antagonisms run deep) and or Gara-Dien (given their expansionist nature and the mutual problem of the Petty Princedoms region of the Plateau), and border squabbles with AuUrbis have been a feature of relations along Modrin's Line. Internally the old tension between the mercantile adventurism of the Great Houses? and the conservatism of the Churches and Cohorts is being complicated by new divisions between the orthodox faithful of the Churches and the new secularist (currently in the ascendant). And while debates rage in the Moot? and Senate? (and in the Philosophical Clubs?, Cohorts mess halls and the House refectories), the Republic of Telbrin’s rampant embrace of technology such as the waterwheel edges the Republic towards an industrial revolution whilst generating a new underclass of the disenfranchised and impoverished; some rabble rousers, pamphleteers and revolutionaries even claim that this is deliberate, part of some sinister plan by dark forces that have subverted the very government of the Republic itself.

The Children of Xantir? on the one hand seem as old as the mountains they inhabit - there have been religious houses in these lonely valleys for millennia, the prayers wheels endlessly spinning out a thread of words entreating salvation and mercy through the unending years... The political landscape of Xantir, the High Kingdoms? and Petty Princedoms, and indeed the City States of the Upper Hallex River Valley? (now united as the Republic of Telbrin) are tempestuous and complex, and indeed poorly understood...

On the Plateau, the status quo is in turmoil. The Telbrini Cohorts are pushing ever west and north. Relations with the High Kingdoms? appear civil, but those who know the Merav Nation? well are worried that the tribes have withdrawn guides and seasonal workers from the latest Telbrini expeditions, and confess themselves worried over rumours that the Conclave of Tribes? has been called for the first time in generations for High Summer.

Within the Confederation of the Children of Xantir, tensions run high over how to respond on the one hand to the Republic of Telbrin’s overtures of friendship (a pretext for access to records and Meravae ruins within Confederacy lands in most peoples opinions) and rumours of Telbrini approaches to individual states of the confederation; and on the other hand, the Petty Princedom? bandit raids that have risen to an unprecedented level in recent years. Added to which, a major theological dispute has arisen amongst the clerics of the Xantiric Sects? (regarding the poverty or otherwise of Xantir) and words like “heresy” are being bandied about.

And now rumours have spread of a new warlord in the Petty Princedoms who claims a divine right to conquest and to whom an increasing number of the scattered polities bordering Gara-Dien and the Smoking Hills are bowing…

That all these lands were, millennia ago, the heart of the Meravae Empire, is not disputed, and that Caer Abrin? on the borders of the High Kingdoms? and the Republic of Telbrin was their capital seems, given Telbrini finds in the two centuries they have held and excavated Caer Abrin?, equally certain. But who or what the Meravae, what happened to trigger the fall of their empire, these are unknown to the general populace, and generally the topic of myth... Many expeditions, both government sanctioned and not, seek the next major discovery amidst Meravae ruins both on the Plateau and beyond.

The Republic of Telbrin is NOT the first "successor" state to the Meravae to arise on the Roof of the World, and at less than three centuries old it isn't even the longest lived. But its enthusiasm, rampant commercialism and (some say) ruthless exporting of ideas makes it far more dangerous, or likely to survive and prosper (depending on point of view). The Telbrini will trade with anyone, and appear to bear no grudges for any historical slights that may have been dealt in the past... at least, that's the official position: Republic citizens from tribes with old conflicts however don't seem entirely comfortable with the new regimes banning of revenge and feuding (traditions with a LONG history amongst the tribes of the Roof of the World...). And the Tharux Traders are accorded at best a chilly welcome in most of the lands that follow the Church of the Chain? which still promulgates the 3rd Kol-shek’s prohibition on members of the faith entering Zathur. That decree has in Telbrin itself been recently enshrined in civil law, but whether as a sop to the hard line conservative elements within the Churches of the Chain, or for other reasons is unclear.

The Meravae were arrogant, self-centred and deeply irreligious, but they also weren't stupid and whilst their own arrogance blinded them to the risks they took plumbing the multiverse for novelties to amuse themselves and made them careless of the lives of the "lesser" races they encountered, that thumbnail leaves plenty of ambiguity to be explored. Very little info is easily available about the Meravae in the present: the Republic of Telbrin has beaten a path to the door of anyone who advertised such knowledge and shadowy factions within the Telbrin government are tireless in their quest to eliminate any source of information about what really happened to cause the Meravae Empire to collapse...

->Page last modified August 24, 2020, at 10:10 PM BST