A Kind of Homecoming
Duchy of Soravia
Nominally, the Duchy of Soravia encompases a vast area. Stretching from the broken peaks of the Galena Moutains in the west to the dark Dunwood and the Giantspire Mountains in the east, the dukes of Soravia lay claim to the largest single territory in Damara. The reality of how far their influence stretches is somewhat less, though. Most of Soravia is covered by grassy steppes inhabited by nomadic tribes of horsemen more closely allied with the Nar tribes of Narfell than loyal to the crown of Damara. The rest of Soravia is covered by the dark forests of the Dunwood or the goblin-infested peaks of the Giantspire Mountains. In truth, the dukes of Soravia control little more than their ancestral home of Steppenhall on the banks of the Icelace River. The rest is a collection of city states, minor baronies, or tribal lands that pay only minor credence to the duke.
Sitting in the walled city of Steppenhall, the dukes control nearly all the trade coming down the Icelace River from the northern lands, which gives them great power and income. The loose alliance of five towns collectively called Kinbrace on the Galena Snake to the west also has close ties to the Soravian dukes and the control of these two major trade routes solidifies their claim to power in the north.
Being a northern land covered by grassy, rolling steppeland, Soravia’s primary trade commodities are livestock of all kinds. Agriculture is also important, but the short summer growing season and harsh winters limits what can be planted. Sheep, horses, cattle, and other livestock are raised by the nomadic tribes and brought down the rivers to Steppenhall and Kinbrace every spring. The mining towns of the Galena Mountains, such as the dwarven city of Ironspur, also do steady trade with the southern fiefdoms.
Cutting across the duchy is the Long Road, the most important east-west trade route in Damara. It stretches from Damara, across the Giantspire Mountains through the Giant Gap and then on through Narfell before intersecting with the Cold Road at N’Jast. The Giant Gap remains a choke point on this route as it is constantly plagued by hobgoblin tribes in the summer and is virtually impassable in the winter. But it serves as the most direct connection between Damara and the lands to the east, especially now that the Dunwood has been closed to travellers.
The southeastern lands of Soravia, encompased by the Dunwood and the Giantspire Mountains, see little commerce though some local tribes and towns conduct trade with the Nar tribesmen to the east. Timber and ore are pulled from the fringes of the Dunwood and the mountains and sent west to the cities along the Icelace River where they are shipped south to Helgabal and Impiltur. Unfortunately, since the darkness in Dun-Tharos has spread west and the goblin tribes become restless, the southeastern reaches of Soravia have become more and more isolated from the rest of the duchy and Damara.
The current duke of Soravia is Duke Radu Vasile, an old man that looks to be the last of his line. The Vasile family has ruled since the Witch-King Zhengyi of Vaasa was pushed out of Damara by King Gareth Dragonsbane in the Bloodstone Wars. It was they that made Steppenhall the ducal seat and established control over the north for Damara once again. Duke Radu’s health is failing, though, and though his wives have left him childless he has not yet named an heir. Dark clouds gather in Soravia and uncertainty is the norm in this fragmented land.
A Map of the Duchy of Soravia