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LeBano Edit

The Crown of LeBano is a land of gently rolling farmland and pasturage watered by a multitude of fresh spring, babbling brooks, and swiftly flowing water courses that descend from the precipitous heights of the mountains of Ghaltri, the land of the Dwarves, the land of LeBano in its west, consists of lush mountain vales and foothills that descend into the fertile Tzaltzan river basin below. The major towns of LeBano are crowed around the meandering course of this ancient river, building up around the natural bottlenecks and bends of the river, where once petty lords setup tollages to collect their dues as merchants passes through their territory. Since that time, the Talztzan river valley has developed into the heartland of the crown, containing the bulk of its population, now the haunt of pleasure-seekers, merchants, and the well-to-do. Every petty lord and major magnate in Alamastran Empire owns at least one chateau or pleasure palace in along the banks of this broad, and wandering river. With this concentration of wealth has come a concentration of development, urbanization, and industry. Further eastward are the fertile plains of the eastern hinterland, crisscrossed by the ancient tributaries of the Tzaltzan. This portion of the crown is rich in agricultural industry, and is more provincial in its development. Possessing a much sparser population, mainly of villagers, cottagers, freeholders, and a strong class of yeomen. On the furthest eastern extremities of the Crown lie the Forest of the Darkhart and the Fingers and Fenlands to the south. The Forest of the Darkhart is an infamous old-growth forest of primordial density. Its ancient stands of trees, forming a formidably interlocking canopy, which chokes off all sun light from the forest floor. This prevents undergrowth from springing up. The Forest of the Darkhart is considered beautiful in a mysterious way because of this. The tall, proud trees wrap tightly around each other at their heights but stand spaciously a part on the forest floor with little between them. It is possible to ride a horse at full gallop through the woods. An eerie fog accumulates in the ravines and across the forest bed. This is a mystical forest filled with legend. Any good Alamastran bedtime story has at least one adventure into this intriguing forest. To the south are hundreds of square leagues of low-lying, festering glades and mandrake groves known as the Fenlands. These lands are impenetrable by Alamastran society and have become the haunt of outlaws, brigands, cutthroats, and fugitives. Many of these have formed their own bands and continue to prey on communities of the Fingers, or travelers passing through the Forest of the Darkhart. Some have even organized themselves into micro-chiefdoms, developing an insular culture all their own with its own distinct pidgin language. Many Pidjins live and die from generation to generation within these micro-societies never traveling into the wider world beyond the Fenlands. The Fingers are a series of five, long, narrow fresh water lakes that form the source of a major tributary that flows through the Forest of the Darkhart, across the eastern hinterland and joins the Tzaltzan at LeBano's southern border with Crown Gossary. The Fingers look like the fingers of a grasping hand reaching out from the Forest of the Darkhart when studied on a map of Alamastra--Hence their name. The Fingers possess a vibrant fishing culture, which practices aggressive aquaculture and wet-rice farming along the shores of the Fingers. This fishing culture is centered around small fishing villages built on the shores of the Fingers. However, they often possess a Crannog mounted on stilts at some distance from the shore as a holdfast against bandit raids. Some of the stronger communities have even constructed stone holdfasts on islands not far distant from their lakeside villages. LeBano is especially known for its hot natural baths and natural mineral springs which seem to cover the entire countryside, despite its extremely contrasting regional geography. There are several sites of ancient baths, now in ruins, that were constructed by the Alamastran Empire in centurieis past. These served as great centers of healing and medicinal research. One of these baths is still occupied by the order of paladins, the Valiant Templar, hallowed as the location of the order's founding. Until recently, this was the location where the order's conclave was held every decade to elect new Conclaveans of the Order. This practice is currently barred by the High King as a repercussion of the order's support for the Partizans of Starcrest during the Great War. It is from these massive ancient ruins that the Crown gets its name of LeBano. The Crown of LeBano is ruled over by a Prince-Magnate, hereditary office. This is the only remaining Prince-Magnacy from the Ancien Regime. In fact, the current Prince-Magnate of LeBano is a distant scion of a minor branch of House Starcrest. The Prince-Magnates retained their position for their staunch support for the House of Mair during the factitious years of the Great War. Over the centuries of stabilizing Imperial rule, the tenants-in-chief of the Prince-Magnate slowly faded away in importance as the nobility soon merged with the aristocracy of this wealth nation. As a result, most of the nobility retired to the cities along the Tzaltzan leaving their vast holdings in the eastern hinterlands to be governed as absentee grandees. As their role in the political economy became obsolete, the Prince-Magnate began commuting feudal service and troop levies for cash rent payments. Slowly, developing a campaign to buy out the Grandees, buy up their vast estates, and buy off their political claims to various prerogatives. This began an aggressive program of centralization in the countryside, bringing all these vast holdings under the careful governance and management of the Prince-Magnate's officials. This strong centralized administration, careful stewardship of resources, and flaccid political bloc of resistance domestically effectively made the Prince-Magnate the richest, most influential Peer of the Realm. The Crown is also thick in royalty. The Arch Duchy of LeMars is a non-hereditary fiefdom to which various members of the royal house are regularly appointed. These are often close counselors or formal ministers to the High King. The Grand Duchy of LeBano is a title reserved for princes of the royal house. This title is endowed with lands, chateaus, and revenues, but no real political power --simply paying a retainer to the Prince-Magnate annually. This title currently stands vacant, as the last Grand Duke of LeBano was recently assassinated by the Zealot Insurgency, a covenant of partisans sworn to restoring the House of Starcrest to Imperial rule.