Andoras is the westernmost continent on the known world of Drakonius, juxtaposing Doras Edrossi. Although its history is rich, it has had a reputation, both culturally and historically, to be not quite as advanced as the Edrossi peoples, and as such there are gaps in history for the Andorasi -- the majority of their early history is known from the First Era due to the multitude of missionaries from the Two Paragons (now Five) who would meticulously write down as much detail as possible regarding Andoras and its state. While many of these records found their way back to the Drakonian Kingdom or the various city-states of Doras Edrossi, and were therefore preserved (aside from those in Drakonia, of course), those that remained in Andoras tended to not share the same fate, and when the Andorasi found a universal following in the Two Paragons and the missionaries no longer had to return overseas to flee persecution, they ceased to leave Andoras and the history remained on the continent, where only sporadic bits of knowledge were then received; as a result, very little of the Second Era is known in Andorasi history, for example, and the Andorasi only reliably begin to keep their own records starting around the Fifth Era.
Geography and political claims
The whole continent of Andoras is comprised of seven regions. Each region is lorded over by a ruler of a Great House. The regions include:
Frostfall is the northernmost region of Andoras, notably beyond the Moonlyt Peaks. It is the coldest region on the continent and is the most sparsely populated among the other regions. The wilderness of Frostfall is vast with pine forests, tall mountains and rolling hills blanketed white with snow. Although sparse, the land has several cities, villages and keeps, all connected by the King's Course. Winterborne is the capital of Frostfall, the ancient seat of House Stenwulf which has stood for thousands of years. Winters are harsh and long lasting while summers are mild and comfortable, the cold often repels southern lords and smallfolk from residing so far north for too long, whom are more accustomed to the warmth and safety of the south. Frostfall is home to many creatures such as dirus, bear, winter cervin, and small mammals. Mythical creatures such as giants, ice wraiths and snowlurkers are present in the northernmost reaches of Frostfall within the region never traveled known as The Coldwinds.
The Wetlands is a central region south of the Moonlyt Peaks, north of Gardoria, west of Thyllanor and northwest of the Kingsland. It is largely a damp and saturated land, home to many rivers, dense forests to the south and along the Moonlyt Range and marshes in the central and west portions of the land. The land is governed by House Brackwater, whom rule from their ancestral seat Blackmire. The land is fertile in some parts, mostly to the south and central areas. The Moonlyt Range acts as a natural barrier for the Wetlands from eastern and northern threats should they arise, leaving only the southern border open to enemy invasion. The Wetlands is often humid and warm throughout the summer while winters can be quite cold. The region is fairly populated but is considered one of the least populated regions south the of Moonlyt Peaks, with only a few major towns and one city, Blackmire. The populace of the Wetlands have been plagued by witchcraft for several years, namely by an occult group known as the Bogdwellers whom are often the source for blame for strange occurrences and kidnappings.
Thyllanor is a region which lies in northwestern Andoras, bordered by the Kingsland to the south, the Moonlyt Peaks to the north, and the Wetlands to the west beyond the Moonlyt Range. It is a rich land laden with wealthy lords, resources and goods such as gold, spices and silk, and perhaps the most Edrossian-influenced Andorasi region save for Thunder's Shore. Thyllanor is mostly temperate, but snow will cover the entire region come winter, and can far as early as September in places like Vaerikland and Dimlight, in the north or in the mountains. Thyllanor has an innate advantage amongst its neighbors due to its longstanding history of enforcing cultural unity and instilled values of Thyllanorian nationalism, its high amount of arable farmland leading to a large well-fed population, and natural borders to prevent most invasion -- and even if one could overcome these obstacles, Thyllanor's army is among the largest and best-trained of any power on Drakonius. For this reason, many powers on Andoras have come to assume that Thyllanor is going to attempt and conquer all of Andoras like the Dragomári before them, and fear for their nation's safety, banding together in a coalition should Thyllanor continue. It is partially for this reason that the War of Embers, a war that Thyllanor and Thunder's Shore have been engaged in for dominion over the now-divided Kingsland, has been postposed via 'armistice' in order to avoid as much bloodshed as possible. When the war resumes -- if it resumes -- it is highly likely that the Wetlanders and maybe even the Gardorians will join in the fight against Thyllanor.
A land seemingly stuck in time, Gardoria has been an isolated nation of people for as long as anyone can remember; they have been content to remain in their forests for thousands of years with little change, and the only wars they have fought in recent memory are those that threaten the Gardorians' ability to determine their own path, such as the 346 AC rebellion where they took a rare stance of rebellion against the kingdom. Hilly and densely forested, some of this time distortion can be attributed in part to just how wooded Gardoria is. Starting when Gryge of the Dermii took the 'throne' of the high-elected lord of the region, he utilized the natural toughness and protection of the Ironwood tree and began planting them at Gardoria's borders, which was a task picked by his descendants, and before long Ironwood trees spanned the entire region. The unmistakable Ironwood tree resembles a pine tree with the size of a redwood, and with the exception of one region in Thunder's Shore, only grow in Gardoria. There was even a war between the Shoremen and the Gardorians, aptly called the Ironwood War, in which the Shoremen attempted to steal some Ironwood seeds for their own in order to grow a grove for stronger-bodied ships. It is quite easy to get lost in Gardoria because of this, and also incredibly difficult to invade, which its inhabits have taken advantage of -- all able-bodied people of both genders are taught how to use a bow from a young age, and some even take this further by learning advanced trapping techniques and guerilla warfare, forming the bulk of Gardoria's armed forces known as rangers.
In some aspects even harsher than Frostfall's brutal winters, the Moonlyt Peaks' remoteness and mountainous landforms that permeate the entire country make it difficult to traverse and to survive, but on the contrary this has bred a strong, hardy folk. It is the second-most northern region in Andoras, forming the entirety of Frostfall's southern border. Its mountains lend themselves to a southwestern border with the Wetlands, and the southeastern border with Thyllanor was decided long ago following Callen's Folly -- formerly, Thyllanor held land all the way up to the Moonlyt Valley, but their downfall lied in their underestimation of the Peaks' treacherous conditions, especially in the winter. Many of the beasts native to Frostfall are also native to the Moonlyt Peaks, but the Peaks also have flora and fauna that are especially suited to the rough terrain. House Stone, the rulers of the Moonlyt Peaks, have been known for their unification of the Peaks relatively recently in historical times, and also their great mountain-building projects, such as Highmountain Hall; a castle quite literally dug into the Moonlyt Peaks, refurbished and reconstructed over thousands of years.
From historical records it can be seen that for thousands of years, Andoras was in a perpetual state of large kingdoms warring with each other; occasionally, a large empire would arise for some years or a rebellion would split a nation into two, but the strong cultures of the Andorasi almost guaranteed that they could never stay separated for long. It was also discovered that Andoras had been settled not all in one wave, as had been thought, but three; first came the native Andorasi, amongst the likes of the Gardorians, Wetlanders, Moonlytes, and Alettons, followed by the Northmen in the second wave who seemed to have descended from the Tegrushkin (the Northmen may have also settled Deimia, as the natives' physiognomies are similar). The Edranishmen then came from the west and began settling what was referred to as Old Edrane, having left their old home of Edranea-Mal for unknown reasons, some years after the Northmen settled down.
Finally, the Edrossians tribes came, like those from the Thyllanorians, Sigorians, and Shoremen, and began to invade the places where the former cultures had inhabited. Among the first were the Sigorians, who were distinct from Edrossians but still had the basics of their culture. They landed in the Kingsland, and began to conquer land from the local Alettonic lords. The Sigorians quickly expanded throughout the Kingsland and Thunder's Shore, and had few excursions into Thyllanor. The Thyllanorians, as the Ethrykian Tribe of Karth would come to be known as, managed to unite behind one dynasty and found the Thyllanorian kingdom, perhaps the first of its time, which lasted for some years beyond the First Era but collapsed soon after. Other notable expansions include the Edranish Hegemony over Thunder's Shore and parts of Gardoria in the Fifth Era, and the Moonlyt Empire founded by Garnder Golemont in the late Sixth Era, just a century before the Dragomárus invasion.
The kingdoms were evidently at their most powerful when Draegon Dragomárus invaded the continent, commencing the Dragomárus invasion of Andoras in 5 BC. There, Draegon and his followers faced the likes of House Dayton of the Kingsland, House Karthmere of Thyllanor, and other such kingdoms that resisted Dragomárus subjugation; by 10 AC, however, Andoras was in fact united by Draegon, and the continent-spanning Kingdom of Andoras was founded, to be forever after ruled by the Dragomári. The Dragomári generally enjoyed heightened periods of rule, with the Drakonian people experiencing a longer lifespan than most. Using the knowledge of the thousands of years that the Drakonian civilization was able to stand and flourish, they applied these same principles to ruling the Andorasi, and most Dragomárus kings were applauded and praised. This began to shift, however, as other powers in Drakonius -- and indeed, on the continent itself -- began to vie for power in ways that had never been attempted before.
Dragomárus invasion and early modern period
The first and second centuries AC were relatively monotonous for Andoras. Although a few wars arose, such as the 198 AC rebellion when a particularly grave famine struck the continent and there was a lack of food to distribute, the continent was generally peaceful, with even the prideful Karthmeres and Dermonds able to bow to a ruler for some time. The Kingdom went through a long period of peace, known as the Daerod di Piazz -- which, correspondingly, means Period of Peace in Drakonian -- from 201 AC to 286 AC, in which they did not participate in any wars, and instead focused on developing the kingdom internally. The Dragomárus kings during this time were moreover administrators than conquerors, and the Dragons for which the Dragomári are famous for riding into battle became old and lethargic under this period of inactivity.
Influx of Edrossian ways -- modern period begins
Eventually, however, the influence of Edrossi politics came to affect Andoras; Victor Damius, a Cerynian-born Lavosi diplomat who (was also part of Andoras's high council for a time) was born in the wake of the Inferno Wars came to power in Lavos, and after dismantling the gangs there in a conflict known as the Lavosi Gang Wars, sought to make the city-states and the entire continent a better place. However, a second Inferno War seemed to loom over like a tense cloud of hate, and it seemed that without intervention, war would break out. Having an idea, Damius called upon the leaders of every notable kingdom and political entity he could summon, and gathered for what would come to be the Dealing system. The King of Andoras was also invited to this gathering, which was administrated and led by Meyron from the Pryiore Villa. These went well at first; however, the 2nd Premier of Meyron, Sulyefel Dzaeyron, came to power soon after their establishment and was considered by many to be incompetent. Feeling insulted by the Andorasi delegates at the Dealing, Dzaeyron inexplicably declared war on Andoras, attacking the city of Mournare in Thunder's Shore without relenting until they were driven back by the superior Andorasi military.
By sheer luck, spite, and intrepid determination, The Mournare Nights that began in 286 AC as a result of a botched Dealing (the Dealing of 285 AC) ended Andoras's long peace, and began the path for the Dragomárus rule to slowly decline, as the subjects began to believe their rulers incompetent. Con-crownism, which had been developed in Thyllanor by Tyno Greeves, began to take hold in amongst those who attended the Academias, and there was a brief, but powerful and prominent shift of opinion as Andoras entered the fourth century AC. Seeking to prove the crown still worthy, Andoras, under the new reign of Aeramor Dragomárus, participated in the War of Woods in 298 AC, remaining in the conflict until its bloody official conclusion in 310 AC. While this pleased those who saw the crown as growing decadent, this also angered another group in turn; those who believed that Andoras was becoming too warlike after the Daerod di Piazz faded.
While Andoras remained out of war for another decade, it seemed that both radical education and the revival of old traditions in many of the realms was already contributing to a negative opinion of the crown by the time the Thysian Conflict occurred. In it, the corrupt officials in charge of Andoras's trading used the authority of the entire kingdom behind them to extort the euralaya spice from the City-State of Thysia, to which they eventually responded with a declaration of war. The short conflict resulted in Aeramor's death, and in the turmoil, Aeramor's son Aeganar IV Dragomárus came to the throne. With new leadership, people were generally wary of Aeganar and his plans, but he was able to have a period of peace and flourish much like the Daerod di Piazz upon his coronation, dubbed Aeganar's First Five, in reference to the five years in which it lasted. However, while Andoras had its own problems with the crown, both political and cultural, Aeganar began to develop a strange madness in which he began to act not unlike that of a former Thyllanorian Highlord, Nobilis Karthmere, who was (and still is to present day) considered one of the worst rulers in history. While perhaps not as immediately drastic as Nobilis, Aeganar began implementing harsh laws and enforcing the authoritarian fist of the monarch -- this only served for more people to turn to con-crownism, and by late 325 AC, an assassination attempt was made on his life in the city of Farrowhalt, and then later in Faercrest; these attacks were later discovered to have been perpetrated by the newly-founded Farrowhalt Freehold, led by Veddel Markwell and Michael Avleston, an organization that advocated for con-crownism, had obtained the support of Dalan I Karthmere, the Highlord of Thyllanor, and both powers simultaneously declared independence, which resulted in the 326 AC rebellion, colloquially the Farmers' Revolution.
This war went on for a staggering five years, with a series of lucky breaks by the rebels, who were able to hold off the crown for far longer than they were initially predicted to. This war, alas, ended in the rebellion's defeat, with the Six-Day-Siege that killed Dalan Karthmere, and the capture of the two men in charge of the Freehold, who were then executed on 27 January 331 AC. Thus began the Tentative Years, which were marked by a period in which Aeganar attempted to change the internal laws and structure of the Kingdom drastically in an effort to promote himself, give himself more authority, and personally hold all lands under his own domain via a series of fifteen so-called Mandates; a plan that later ended in disaster, with the realm so highly centralized that it was impossible to administrate. Around the same time, the Mandrom Heist, which was brought about by one of the Mandates that were implemented in the Kingdom resulted in the bankruptcy of one of the most powerful houses in the Kingsland; according to another mandate, they were also no longer a noble House, as they did not have the economical power to back up their rightful claims.
Quickly, it became apparent that justice was needed, but no one would dare wage war against the Crown so soon after another failed rebellion; or so one would assume. Dalan II Karthmere, the late Dalan I's son, came to age in 341 AC, right in the heat of the Tentative Years. Although Thyllanor was heavily persecuted as a whole due to its participation in the rebellion, its powerful economy and plentiful natural resources meant it was still considerably influential in the region. Dalan II experienced heartbreak and grief just two days after his coronation with the Bloodmoon Riot, which resulted in the death of his mother Viviana Messys, but he was able to steel himself and commence ruling Thyllanor; his loyalty to his father's late cause and those who lived to survive the Farmers' Revolution continued to advise Dalan as part of Thyllanor's council, including his uncle Tyralt, who did not support his brother's radical beliefs but believed that Thyllanor, and indeed all of Andoras, needed to be free of Dragomárus oppression.
Dalan was fashioned to be a coalition leader, one that would end the tyranny of Aeganar and rise up against him in a second rebellion that would this time be victorious. Dalan, easily influenced by those close to him, began the movement, and soon other likeminded paramouncies -- Thunder's Shore and Gardoria among them -- rose up to the call. Soon after, the 346 AC rebellion began, and the two year war broke out which deposed the widely despised and tyrannical king, leaving all realms independent and free to govern their own lands with sovereignty. One agreement was made, however, following the Second Siege of Dragonspire, that all surviving factions would sign a treaty and observe the articles that were listed therein; the treaty was known as the Treaty of Dragonspire, and, among other things, said that no further kingdoms could be founded on Andoras, nor could those who fought for the crown be persecuted for defending it.
Just following this, however, former allies Dalan Karthmere and Byron Grimolt came at odds with one another over who should assume power in the region following the Dragomári' deposition. An inability to agree over terms, and a touch of Thyllanorian imperialism lead to the War of Embers, a brief conflict that is surely only the first of many between the now-independent paramouncies of Andoras. While currently in armistice, the war is sure to continue in due time, and Andoras may very well be thrown into further chaos; chaos that would make the rebellions against the crown dim in comparison.
- Drakonian (From the Dragomári and the Drakonians who arrived three and a half centuries ago)
- Low Drakonian dialects (From traders of various city-states, who come to the continent for wealth and glory)
- The Common Tongue (Most widely used language, created as a morph between the Drakonian tongue and the native language of the Kingslander tribes, sometimes called Aletto-Sigorian -- originated in Thunder's Shore in its modern incarnation around the Seventh Era)
- Thyllanorian (Minority language, mainly used by higher nobles in Thyllanor)
- Norttung (Translated as North Tongue, the traditional language of the Northfolk which is still used more commonly than the Common Tongue in Frostfall and the Moonlyt Peaks)
- Gardorian (A language derived from the Norttung, having its own unique roots derived from a drastically different etymological part of the original language. Also spoken in parts of the Moonlyt Peaks, and the Ironwood of Thunder's Shore)
- Edranish (Unique on Andoras, Edranish has no known roots to any language on either continent.)
- The Moonlytes had their own unique dialect-turned-language, but it was already dying out by the time the Two Paragons missionaries reached them in the First Era. It was described as being guttural and harsh to the ear, and very difficult to learn from an Edrossi point of view.
Andoras has two main religions, plus the religions of the traders who set sail to sell.
- The Five Paragons (Most widely worshipped of the religions, the worship of five mortals-turned-gods who ascended to the heavens)
- The Dragonlord (Brought over by the Dragomári and their Drakonian followers involving the worship of a single dragon god and two opposite deities who created the world, but almost never seen as a belief in Andoras)
- Various (The religions of sellswords, traders, and merchants varies widely from the trade routes of Doras Edrossi)
- Old Beliefs (House Stenwulf and the population of Frostfall tend to worship the Old Beliefs, as the missionaries of the Five Paragons never were able to breach the mountains of Frostfall)
The cultures and customs vary in Andoras, enough for seven distinct cultures.
- Wetlander - Hailing from the swampy Wetlands of midwestern Andoras, the Wetlanders are known for their relative isolation from the outside world, but not so much as Gardorians. They are also known for being the most, in general, loyal of all Andorasi folk. This is evident in the fact that many of them continue to swear fealty to the Dragomári, and consider them to still be their vassals.
- Thyllanorian - From the hills and valleys of northeastern Andoras come the Thyllanorians, a generally wealthy people, and currently the strongest on Andoras. Gold was discovered in Thyllanor nearly seven thousand years ago, and the Karthmeres (or the Karth'maeres, in that time), the rulers of Thyllanor, have been relatively rich ever since. This has rubbed off on their vassals and subjects as well.
- Gardorian - Gardorians are an isolated bunch, and true-blooded Gardorians who have spent their whole life in their homeland rarely leave unless on military duty or on a mission. The thick woodlands of Gardoria give birth to several rangers and woodsmen, who are noted not particularly for their marksmanship as one would suspect, but the traps they can construct.
- Shoremen - Shoremen hailing from Thunder's Shore are an adventurous bunch, finding exploring, trading, and establishing colonies to be a suitable life. They enjoy flirting with the spices of life, as one might say. As would be suspected, they are noted for their naval expertise and ship construction; many ships worth their weight have been built by Shoremen craftsmen. They have also created a unique type of fire, vastly different from that of dragonflame. It seems to burn on water and water only ignites the flame further. In other aspects of culture, the Shoremen are considered the most Edrossi of the Andorasi, using Edrossi practices and slang in their everyday way of life.
- Kingslander - Kingslanders are a unique melting pot of several different cultures already present on Andoras. Not defined by any one race of people, Kingslanders are unique in their own diversity and adaptation. It seems all one has to do to be considered a Kingslander is to be born within the Kingsland itself. While the Kingslands may have been distinct once with the rule of House Dayton, this has all but passed after the Dragomárus invasion of Andoras. Even those with Drakonian blood are common in certain parts of the Kingsland.
- Northfolk - Northfolk are much like a portmanteau of the Gardorians and the Moonlytes. Living in a cold, rocky climate, and isolated, the Northfolk and the Stenwulfs who guide them rarely travel out of Frostfall, a part of the reason also because the trek is so dangerous through the mountains. Northfolk are defined by their honor, a tenacity they've gained from living in the harsh cold.
- Moonlyte - The Moonlytes are currently being rewritten and as such are to be assumed as generic mountain people until further notice.
- Edranishmen - Edranishmen are the tan-skinned residents of Edrane, and are known for their affiliation with pleasure, poison, and exotic goods. Edranish merchants could be spotted in almost any city in Andoras, travelling in large caravans. They are culturally progressive while politically regressive, sacrificing rights and freedoms. Their builds tend to be fit and agile, and their mercenaries are known and hired all throughout Andoras and Doras Edrossi.