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While other Talar societies thrive on decadence and grandeur, the City State of Haelstram is quite different. Haelstram is a large town built on the basis of a free for all led by criminal exiles from Medlem Talar. The majority of these Nelfin, the Avanthar, banded together and rebelled against its mother state, winning independence for the cesspit known as Haelstram. This city revolves entirely on valor and success in battle, and is said to have been the key factor in the development of modern Avanthar. While it is not entirely dependent, Haelstram is seen as a political and physical mess, and no other states care to try to instill order amid the chaos the Talar of the city state live with.

HistoryEdit

Pre-CataclysmEdit

Haelstram has no formal history before the Cataclysm. The land was all just shipwrecks and rocks on Medlem Talar soil preceding the fall of the Elven Empire, with perhaps a beat down shack or two along its edge. An old statue was the only sign of true Talar civilization; that of Estel, the Elven Goddess

Post-CataclysmEdit

Following the Cataclysm, Medlem Talar needed a viable way of dealing with a sudden influx of criminals. Due to the aggressive nature of the Orcs south of their lands, the reserves for the kingdom’s armies were depleted. The King of Medlem Talar, Rávanil Armadale, decided with irony to send the criminals to ghetto-like villages along the southern border of the state. This punishment was feared vehemently by citizens, due to the proximity to the Orcs and the unkempt nature of the towns themselves. While this was an easy fix to the short-term solution, the result was a large area that was not landlocked by the rest of Medlem Talar, with increasing autonomy. Haelstram, as the area was called, adopted the Avanthar culture and formed a tribalistic government of its own.

Eventually, the Lords of Medlem Talar stopped sending criminals to Haelstram due to the overflowing amount of “citizens” within Haelstram’s walls. Haelstram patriots began arising, petitioning for the independence of the barbaric state. Most were violent in nature. Medlem Talar was already under incredible pressure from the newly arisen Orc Blood Clans, so it decided to allow Haelstram independence under the revised Pandemen Pact in 151 AC. This was in hope that the people of Haelstram would infight without restriction, rendering the city-state useless against a later invasion from its mother kingdom. This day would never come however, as the Avanthar honor system was enough to enforce a degree of order among the city. Haelstram was able to hold its ground against Orc encroachment as well as intimidate Medlem Talar into not attacking it.

Present DayEdit

When the Regalian Empire began backing the Dark Iron Tribelands in their battle against the Elves, Haelstram immediately surrendered. While their forces were formidable, their leaders knew that resistance was futile. Regalia forced Haelstram into being a subject of the Governate of Daenshore. Initially, the governor of Daenshore was incredibly harsh to the Elves, forcing them into military service against their brothers to the north for the remainder of the Elven War of 302 AC. As time passed on, however, Daenshore saw less of a need to enforce harsh policies on Haelstram. There was hardly any organization to the city, nor was there much profit to be reaped from the land surrounding it. The only benefit from the city was taxes that would never be collected anyway, the mines surrounding it, and the forges within. Daenshore now benefits directly from Elven smiths, combining the ancient western methods of forging with the more modern eastern methods.

EtymologyEdit

The original region where Haelstram is located today is the namesake of its city. Hael roughly translates to “Far star.” Originally, Hael was in the far corner of the much larger lands of Medlem Talar, and so it was far from the original capitol. Additionally, Hael was once a beautiful idyllic setting, being close to the vacation islands of Nyalone. While the name stuck, the setting did not. From the start of the exile of Medlem Talar’s criminals, the landscape degraded into an ugly and dark setting. Trees and marshes began propping out as crude and dark buildings replaced those of stone. Hael, once a beautiful escape from the city life within Medlem Talar, was now an utter cesspool of crime, poverty, and desperation.

GeographyEdit

While once a beautiful coastal meadow, Hael is now occupied largely by rugged and hardly maintained buildings. Surrounding these are great stone walls, some left over from the old debauchery resorts of the Elven Empire, and some created after the establishment of the actual city. Outside the walls, the ground has sunken into the sea, forming marshes all about the city. Further inland are the rugged hills upon which the mining town of Hammen rests.

ClimateEdit

Due to its position near the coast, as well as the marshy terrain surrounding the city, Hael is hardly a cool place. Harsh storms reminiscent of the Cataclysm berate the humid coast, while hot summer days threaten to force smiths away from their forges during the afternoons.

Notable LandmarksEdit

  • The Fields of Exile
In times of overpopulation, or of increased “tourism,” Haelstram is often forced to send visitors to the relatively dry field opposite the coast for shelter. Legions of tents are often set up as the visitors must band together and live as a barbaric family during these times of strife.
  • Hammen
The only other settlement within the borders of Haelstram, and on the very edge at that, Hammen is the provider of the ores that keep the forges of Haelstram fed. This four-building town has two barracks for the miners, an office building for the mine, and a tavern for the workers to relax during their off-hours. It is said that the wine from this tavern is the best in all of the Elven Kingdoms.

GovernmentEdit

The government of Haelstram follows a modified version of the typical Avanthar nomad system of government, where the strongest survives and rules, while the weakest are batted aside. The city is run by a Prince, though to call it a princedom is a gross overstatement. The ruler of the city gives his absolute say in all matters, and when a party opposes it, they attack the Prince in a trial by combat. Should the challengers win, a Prince will be decided from them through combat, and their word shall rule in absolution. Should the Prince win, he has validated his authority and claims, and enacts his policies.

List of RulersEdit

  • Before Cataclysm - N/A
  • 0 - 153 AC - N/A
  • 141 - 168 AC - Prince Tuilar the Stonesetter
  • 168 - 185 AC - Prince Eltelar Paldoran the Cunning
  • 185 - 206 AC - Prince Numuinar the Feastender
  • 206 - 206 AC - Princess Ayrendriel the Everlasting
  • 206 - 246 AC - Prince Melastil od Medui the Courageous

246 - Present Day - Prince Tellindar Algoran the Unaging

Foreign RelationsEdit

While Haelstram is technically a vassal of Daenshore, consequently sharing all relations as its parent state, the City-State often holds its own relations outside of what Daenshore enforces. Haelstram does trade with Daenshore and Lusits when it comes to smithing weapons and armor, though it interacts heavily with Elven states, cutting them deals that they would never allow the human states.

MilitaryEdit

Contrary to what is expected, Haelstram holds no formal military. All of its citizens are, however, submitted to the harsh honor system that the Avanthar use. This system forces everyone to become skilled fighters if they ever wish to advance in social class. Through this, all citizens are adequately trained to hunt and do battle. This trait allows the city state to continue to be independent from Medlem Talar, as well as help repel any Orc invaders from the south.

Economy and TechnologyEdit

The economy of Haelstram is different than any other because the Avanthar system of honor is its law. If a Talar is strong enough to fight off competition, he rightfully owns his property. If he allows it to be stolen, he is weak and unable to hold his own, and the stolen item is forfeit. This system transfers into the economy. After achieving independence from Medlem Talar, the economy transformed into a “finder’s keeper’s” system that still functions today.

DemographicsEdit

  • Avanthar Townmen: 60%
  • Avanthar Nomads: 25%
  • Mainstream Talar: 10%
  • Other: 5%

CultureEdit

Haelstram follows a strict culture of rejecting the Talar ways. Avanthar make up the majority of its population, though many Cielothar reside there as well. Any individual acting or appearing as a Talar is nearly guaranteed to be accosted by the city-dwellers. The streets are very messy, and most of the place is made of parts from other things that have long outlived a use. Everything is rusted, rotting, and falling apart from disrepair, and there are several movements calling for a craftsmen guild that will be responsible for maintaining the city’s buildings. There is very little law and a great amount of crime.

SymbolsEdit

Haelstram holds no formal insignia, though many use an image of a bow and two Hathel blades crossed to represent their city. There is seldom an actual use; Haelstram is often overlooked by other nations or categorized along with Medlem Talar.

TriviaEdit

  • The Regalian Scholars that first learned of the Dakkar’s elusive and malevolent religion dubbed their deity “Hael” as a jab towards Haelstram and its living conditions.
  • While Hammen is primarily a mining town, the local tavern brews excellent Elven Liquor. It is generally assumed that large disappearances of berries from the vineyards in southern Medlem Talar are related to the brewery.
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