War of Fire and Ice
The freeholds of Dassen are a collection of feudal lands, each ruled by a different Lord. All swear fealty to High King Steppengard.
The Kingdom of Dassen
Dassen lies to the south of Ragesia, and the southwest of Shahalesti, its borders defined by craggy mountains defended by hundreds of small dwarven strongholds. Dassen’s people, a swarthy assortment of humans, halflings, and dwarves, cherish their land, to the point that superstitious cavalrymen even put dirt in their boots so they always touch the soil of their homeland. Originally known as the Eight Lands, as dominated by the Empire of the Winter’s Dark, Dassen cast off the yoke of Danzig in the Great Wars, but retained its sense of identity as individual feudal lands. Dassen was unified fifteen years ago and a ninth region was carved out, which became the holding of King Steppengard. King Steppengard rules over the eight feudal lords and ladies, as well as dozens of minor dwarven nobles who govern their own small holdings in the mountains. There are no mighty cities in Dassen, only thousands of farms and towns growing out from the nine castles of the king and his dukes. The largest city, Bresk, is a hilly community built both above and below ground, a sprawling walled fortress on the banks of the Eamon River. It is home to King Steppengard’s castle. The second most prominent settlement is Dun Eamon, the Grey Citadel, a fortress city on the northern border, hundreds of years old, which long served to keep enemies from entering the nation.
The Council of Nine
As a country, Dassen has had trouble remaining unified. Originally an alliance of eight kings, for three centuries the nation was bound by the rule of the Empire of the Winter’s Dark under the aegis of the Book of Eight Lands, a lesser artifact that traced the lineage of each of the nobles in charge of the different lands, and kept clear who was the rightful ruler of the overall nation, by bloodlines. The book, heavily guarded by whoever was the current king, also provided magical protection to those nobles, to ensure that each ruler was free of compulsions and deceptions. In the closing years of the War of Winter, 100 years ago, the then-current king was slain by the then-next in line, setting off a civil war that purged many noble bloodlines, as the the book became a sort of to-do list of whom to kill to gain power. Twice Dassen stabilized, but twice more it fell again into civil war. While it was a chaotic time, it kept the Ragesians from conquering the land, since keeping control of it would not have been worth the effort. Fifteen years ago, a new king, Steppengard, came to power. He had no siblings, and so formed internal alliances to stabilize the nation, establishing the Council of Nine to ensure that there would be no more wars. Now, all major matters of policy must be voted upon in council at Steppengard’s castle in Bresk. Each Lord and Lady has one vote, and the King’s vote counts as three. Cooperation is ensured by an agreement that the rest of the Lords will combine forces to march on a Lord who breaks faith with the Council. The Book of Eight Lands still grants its boon to the current rulers of each of the old kingdoms, and to the king of Dassen himself, but it no longer officially dictates the line of royal ascension. Steppengard had a large family, with eighteen children as of the new year, to ensure that he would be able to pass down his throne without further wars.
The Nine Lands are Steppengard, Dun Eamon, Iz, Dene, Delver’s Dale, Rego, Megadon, Timor, and Namin
The Isthmus of Seaquen lies to the south. Relations with the Mages of the Lyceum vary across the Nine Lands.