The Protectorate of Llamedryn
Located on the south westernmost part of mainland Accitaine is a large peninsula named Llamedryn but also referred to by a number of realms as the Protected Lands. They are so named due to a number of wars and battles fought over ownership of this fertile and warm area, with Heidelgard, Serroya, Cantabrius and Varrunna (amongst other smaller lands)fighting over it in the past, though the last official armed conflicts ended over 250 years ago during the wasteful War of Proxies, that ran from 264 AC to 269 AC; during this time these nations waged a war of varying intensity over who actually laid claim to the territory, and the war only ended (beggaring a few national bank accounts into the bargain) when the Society interceded, forcing the signing and adherence to the Treaty of the Llamedryn Protectorate. This treaty made the signatories guarantee that though they may have very small settlements within the Llamedryn, no one nation could claim ownership and strict boundaries of settlement and demarcation were enforced, by Hand soldiery if needed.
Since then, there are only 4 small settlements that could be described a cities within the land, with Heidelgard, Cantabrius and Varrunna having a coastal port each and Serroya having a walled city in the north east of the land on the Border with The Heel of Accitaine (their closest point to Serroya itself). There are other settlements of the indigenous Llamen people but they have largely moved into the mountainous and densely forested interior and become reclusive. The Society for its part maintains 3 large installations within the lands, one being a Hand Naval Port and the other 2 being inland fortresses. The inland fortresses are maintained by airship, for the ancient forests and mountains of Llamedryn are dangerous due to hostile and mistrusting Llamens and also the local wildlife, which can be ferocious and hard to see coming.
Llamedryn is a fertile and verdant land of warm summers and cold winters. It has high yields on its crops and harvests, plentiful timber from the fast growing Llamas Elm, a tree that can grow from sapling to 25 feet (maximum growth is about 60 feet) in 5 years, unheard of in other genus’. This does mean that the lumber trade is important in Llamedryn, and that the lands tree population is thus far resistant to deforestation. The land is forested on the coasts with some plain and grasslands, but the interior is hilly, mountainous and forested too, which makes travel difficult. Some attempts at roads to the interior have been made, but maintaining them is hard work and expensive, so the various nations cities and settlements remain on the plentiful coasts, leaving the interior (for now) to the Llamen people and the 2 Society fortresses.
The Llamen folk are similar racially to the Thurvish of the Heel, but appear to have become a separate offshoot, both racially and culturally. Matriarchal in the extreme, these clansfolk are ruled by female elders, and strange customs like polygamy and extreme secrecy only add to their mystique. Not a tall people, the tanned Llamen have blonde or red hair almost exclusively (unlike the tanned and dark Thurvish), and rarely grow taller than 5 and a half feet tall, with the odd rare turn reaching close to 6. They are famed for their archery, using their cleverly made compound shortbows with great skill. They also have a cultural preference for Longspears (good against beasts and other threats) and favour using axes as weapons, with few going without at least a hatchet for its general usefulness. They tend to avoid most outlanders, especially the Society who keep trying to bring civilization to them; the Llamen response is normally refusal, avoidance and then a volley of arrows before they retreat and hide again (something they are extremely adept at doing). For now, the Llamen retreat deeper into their lands in hope that they can find a place to be left in peace, hoping the Society cannot follow.
There have been several Southerly Crusades by the Society within the last 100 years in trying to bring the (likely heretical) Llamen into the fold of civilization, and all but the last were bungled failures. The most recent was in 498 AC, when a mixed force of Society Hand Soldiers, Varrun and Serroyan military forces won a powerful victory against a coalition of Llamen clans in a campaign fully employing airships and land forces in a combined arms success story, culminating in the Battle of High Falls River. Over 3000 Llamen were slain to a loss of only 200 combined Crusader forces, with a further 8000 llamen clanfolks taken into Society custody for “re-education”. The Llamen have never fully recovered from this and now are a dwindling culture, rarely seen by outside eyes. There had also been some very dark tales and rumours that emerged in the aftermath, of atrocities, colossal war crimes and moral outrages committed by the victors; nothing has been proved and the Society and the 2 participating nations have been draconian in their quashing such stories, but many secretly wonder why the legendary Serroyan Marshall Arnaud de Valuac resigned both his place in public life and his commission in the Serrine Armed forces after his participation in the Crusade as leader of Serrine and Varrun combined forces.
The modern settlements for the various nations are Port Vaalink (Heidelgard), numbering about 7000 citizens; Saliosa (a Varrunnan Port of 4000 plus extensive vineyards and farmlands), Castille an Valeusx (the Sarrine fortress-city of 10000) and Abarri, the Cantabrian city port of 12000. The Cantabrian port has made it a policy to offer safety and refuge for all Llamen who choose to enter their territory, offering protection against any threats. Some Llamen clans have taken this offer, much to the anger of Society dignitaries, Serroyan officials and Varrunnan diplomats (Heidelgard says little but offers its support behind the scenes to their Cantabrian allies). It is no surprise that there is a strong Cantabrian military presence at Abarri, including 3 airships and a squadron of warships on permanent manoevres.
Indeed, Cantabrius was the only nation to protest the doings of the last Society crusade, and their strongly worded opposition to the alleged conduct of Society and Sarrine forces before, during and after the campaign has been the only constant voice against what could very well have been one of the participants darkest chapters.
Life now for the settling peoples is good, with good harvests, good support and a good standard of living, but some believe there will always be a stain on the character if not the souls of those who profited from the horrors of the bringing of civilization to this rich land.