Kingdoms of Frandum - Dostenia

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Short history

The first traces of settlement in the forests of Dostenia are ancient, and it seems the first Dostenian have come from the milder plains of what is now Valea.

In the immensity of the forests, they found game and wood enough for them to survive, yet not enough to prospere: the people were organized in tribes covering a vast area of the forests, sometimes raiding their neighbours but without any group consciousness or ambition.

Everything changed at the end of the Second Age with the coming of the cult of Reset. It seems dwarven missionaries were the first to introduce the vision of equilibrium in this rather wild people, yet the acclimation of the neutral religion was only possible because of the interpretation that was made of it as a cult of nature and of the balance of the elements. Thus interpreted, the religion spread to the whole kingdom, and with it came the first social organization of Dostenia.

Throughout the Third Age, the kingdom developed its own society, based on a devotion to nature and an immense secrecy of cult, which is still not well-known right up to today.

As its culture enriched, Dostenia progressively aggregated itself around the forests where its first inhabitants had come, fighting against the orcs east and resisting Valea's ambitions west thanks to the guerilla it could easily set up in the vast woodlands, giving the kingdom its actual borders.

Climate and geography

Dostenia is a kingdom of forests, and not even the presence of mankind in their midst has much altered their shape. The pine, birch and ash trees cover most of the land, and even the rising summits of the Sularis mountains to the south and east.

The climate is rather mild on the southern border but cold further north, becoming frankly unwelcoming in the wind-beaten plains of the north-east.

Dostenia is a land of rain and snow, as the moist clouds coming from the North sea pass through the eastern and western mountains, pouring their water on the forests.

Raw materials and resources

Land of the trees, Dostenia has a huge desequilibrium in its raw materials. Wood is obviously the most common resource, but it is used with parcimony for fear of endangering the secular forests, and most of the time Dostenians only use dead wood or pruning wood. Thus the wood exportations are not as extensive as they should given the lacks of the neighbouring kingdoms.

Food comes from the products of the forest (game, fruits, mushrooms), and in a few areas only are farming and breeding really developed.

As for the wood, the fur of the forest animals is revered and used only for personal needs and a small commerce with the south.

From the forest also comes charcoal, which the Dostenian trade for more elaborate goods.

Stone and metals are available in the eastern mountains, but once gain, the Dostenian's taste for nature and vegetal life leads them to according minimal interest to these resources, which they gladly allow foreigners to exploit for themselves, provided they pay their taxes.

People of Dostenia

Dostenia is a land of magic, and the human inhabitants are said to have developed several strange deviances there. Aside from the vast majority of humans, orcs and sylvan elves have their share of the land.

Cities and countryside

Dostenia is clearly out of the recurring urbanity/rurality opposition, since it has no real farming class, and no city in the traditional meaning of the term.

A large part of Dostenia's inhabitants leads a nomad life, from clearing to clearing for instance.

Not neglectible is also the number of people (and mainly among the magic adpets), who live in the trees and build their family adobe on their crown.

Traditional human dwellings resemble small villages of wooden huts built between the trees, surrounding a druidic circle, but none of them can be called "city", safe maybe Masenwood, the green city.

Politics and laws

Dostenia is a contrast of a highly-devote people and a decentralized, unexpanding clergy: people believe in Reset and the equlibrium of nature, but they do it from a free and eager heart, while their druidic leaders do nothing special to show them how to believe.

Thus, the legal system may look a little anarchist and is widely decentralized, since no central government really exists outside the yearly gatherings of the druids.

As such, one has to be careful of the local customs when traveling in Dostenia, since they change drastically from one place to another, and without warning: cutting wood for a fire may be tolerated in a clearing and punished by death in the next.

Wars and armies

Wars have not really come to Dostenia, since its inhabitants have developed a rare skill in guerilla, using the shadows of the trees to strike and hide before the victim has any chance to strike back.
Many a proud army has been pulled back out of the forests after its troops have been scattered and isolated in the dark woods.

On the other hand, Dostenia itself, or none of the tribes who live within, has nothing like an army and could not hope to win any victory over its neighbours should Dostenians decide to venture out of their forests.

It is also reknown that when a traveler drifts from the few paths and roads, he may as well encounter a magic circle of peace and harmony as meet rogue orcs or brigands who have chosen to hide in the trees.

Trade and craftsmanship

Trade in the sense of large-scaled exchanges with other kingdoms is scarce in Dostenia, and goods go in and out of the kingdom ever so slowly and in small quantities.

It is not unlikely when visitting the towns close to the Dostenian borders to find a forester selling the carved figurines of his people or their admirably light bows. On the other hand, Dostenian themselves regularly welcome peddlers from the outside to come to small markets on the border.

Once goods enter the kingdom, though, it is all but impossible to trace them as they leave the roads to enter the Dostenian market, making it very hard to hint at the economical power of the kingdom.

Science and education

The Dostenian culture has been very selective regarding sciences, retaining biology, geology and weather-forecast and entirely forgetting the basis of mechanics and chemistry, with only a basic knowledge of mathematics. Obviously, Dostenian despise sciences which are cut from their beloved Nature, and their education is often based on practical learning in the forest than on books and lessons.

Religion and magic

As it was said before, religion is very meaningful for Dostenian people, who almost entirely believe in Reset, yet they do not see it as a strict law or a constraint they should put on strangers, unlike their Valean neighbours.

Thus, the altered faith of Reset grows strong in the kingdom, while small patches of followers of Galanhir and Shezael line the borders, often next to the few real towns of the kingdom.

As is expectable, the devoted life of Dostenians give them predispositions to magic, and they make very good spellcasters, yet again mainly when it comes to natural and elemental spells.

Arts and culture

Wreathes and wood carvings come as the main expressive forms wielded by Dostenian, and these are arts they have long since mastered, and in which they more than often beat even the elves.

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