Duchy of Adria
The Duchy of Adria (High Imperial: Ducatus Adriae, Raev: Gercogstva Adrija) was originally one of the four major regions of the Reformed Kingdom of Oren, along with Savoie, Haense, and Vanaheim. It was first formed in 1510 by Franz Vladovic from the eastern counties of Oren after years of consolidation by the de Montfort family. In Atlas, the Duchy of Adria was reformed in the city of Belvitz and in it's days occupied the central lands of Renatus-Marna, located within the estuary of the Baltas River. Following the ascension to Arcas, it's new city was formed and drafted in splendor as Ves, named for Vesna the Older Carrion. The City of Ves was razed under the reign of Antonius I Horen, and with it the title faded into obscurity.
- 1 History
- 2 Reformation
- 2.1 Contemporary History
- 2.2 Culture
After the fall of the Kingdom of Renatus, the feudatories that first made up Adria were sovereign and self-ruled. The Briarwoods in the County of Owynswood to the north, the Vladovs on the mountain peak of the Barony of Woldzmir to their south, the Sarkozic de Montforts running a mercantile Barony of Montfort in the plateau on the southern foothills of Woldzmir, and the sprawling County of Werdenberg filling the fertile farmlands below.
The Baronial Council of Montfort decided that it would be in their best interest to work with their northern neighbor, and cousin by Carrion blood, House Vladov, to provide protection for Montfort and political guidance for Woldzmir. The two signed a treaty which established the Confederated County of Adria, named for the St. Adrian whose blood ran through the de Montforts' veins, and elected Franz Vladov as Count.
Through political manipulations and shows of force, the House de Montfort managed to wrest the County of Owynswood from the control of House Briarwood, and were on the edge of a war with the Briarwood's lords, de Savoie, were it not for a settlement of a paltry sum of 8,000 minas for the land to become part of Adria.
Continued political machinations of the House Sarkozic de Montfort, backed by the cold steel and international renowned of the Vladov Vanguard, led to the acquisition of the County of Werdenberg as a vassal, the Count Athelstan Stafyr swearing to Adria in exchange for the payment of the House Stafyr's back taxes. This expansion made the now March of Adria three counties large, and the Comital Council of Adria sought promotion to Ducal status for its great size.
After acquiring its Duchy, the Duke of Adria set his sights on a treasonous Barony to his west, Dragonspeak, into which he installed the Baron Illaustious Horen of Marna, and the southern County of Fursten and Barony of Kazirmir, all of which fell under the Adrian yoke.
When the great ships sailed for Vailor, shortly after the election of Hugues Sarkozic de Montfort to the Ducal seat, the Adrians sailed too, finding the fertile new heartland desirable for settlement. There they reestablished the Duchy of Adria, with the City of Brelus as its capital and the Vladov owned County of Barrowyk as its military center.
The Second Duchy of Adria is an duchy located in the lands surrounding the estuary of the Baltas River. Located just south of the Cloud Temple and encompassing the frequently traveled "Whispering Crossroads" which connect most of the major nations of Atlas. The area quickly fell in favor with merchants, craftsmen, and laborers alike due to the easy access to waterways and frequently patrolled roads.
Initially the lands of Adria were settled by wayward farmers and fishermen. Its strategic geographical position allowed it to quickly grow out to become an important centre of trade in central Atlas. The first rulers of these lands were the Mercenarial Free Company of The Black Reiters, a group of equestrian mercenaries who settled the region along with the first wave of commoners.
Upon the reemergence of Houses Sarkozic, Vladov, Ivanovich and the ennobling of House Valic, The city of Belvitz was seized from its previous owners by the Kingdom of Renatus, on charges of treason and corruption, and in turn bestowed upon the newly remade Duchy of Adria. Several improvements were made upon the city, and under the new administration the city was given new life.
The City and the Duchy came under great threat during the Hansetian-Renatian Wars, especially against the Reiver Highwaymen, who under the excuse of mercenary contract ravaged the Baltas Basin without remorse. Adria was mostly successful in dealing with the bandits, their attacks ceasing when the Reivers’ disbandment in 1681 alleviated Adria.
During the 2nd Courlandic Rebellion, Belvitz served as the Staunton King's war goal, and if not for the successful siege of Whitepeak, would've been seized by the forces.
During the Pogrom Crisis of 1672, The Red Cloak Menace and the Inquisition were constant threats to the Municipality, and tormented the Elves who inhabited its slums, likely in response to the city's failure to expel the excommunicated Sabo Gradic.
The Boar and the Burgher
The creation of the Municipal Government in Belvitz sparked perhaps one of the fiercest peaceful political rivalries in recent history, between the Burgher Party, led by Sabo Gradic, and the Traditionalist Party, led by Marshal of Adria and Captain of the Belvitz Watch Vladan Valic. The conflict seized the entire city, and held the finances of the city and its protection at ransom, each being used as bargaining chips between the two men in order for each to seize more political gravitas in the Ducal Court and in the Belvitz Government.
The conflict began upon the creation of the position of City Clerk, who through the workings of Sabo Gradic soon became the chief holder of the city's finances. Valic, with the constituency of the Duchy's nobles and the city's guards, began to resist the growing power of the position, an initial conflict erupting between them upon the Excommunication crisis of 1665. The Crisis began upon Sabo Gradic's decision to establish a Municipal Bishop, essentially overriding the authority of the Pontiff. The Crisis ended upon the appointment of a Bishop to Adria by the Pontiff, and the excommunication of Broos Wellis and Sabo Gradic for their actions and refusal to apologize. However, the ripples of the splash in the political pond continue to have effect today.
The conflict took another turn upon the regency of the position of Maer, essentially making Gradic the chief administrator of the City. With such power, Gradic began to take great leaps of both power and finances, through extremely questionable means. In response, the Duke created the Council of Aldermen, which was designed to enforce a check and balance to Gradic's political clout. However, without resistance, Sabo stealthily maneuvered himself into the position of Chief Alderman. Valic countered by filling the bench with his guardsmen. The game of chess continued, with laws established by both to put the other in their place, escalating the conflict until Valic made the decision to abolish the city guard, instead creating a Ducal Order, free of the City's influence, and Gradic created a government shutdown in protest.
Sabo Gradic would later die due to drowning in the Baltas River Basin, his assailant unknown. Valic would go on to inherit the Barony of Vilacz, taking the keep and establishing it as the Order's base of operations.
Bracchus Ascendant, Bracchus in Ruin; The Mad Duke Ascendant, The Mad Duke's Flight
The arrival of Septimius and Claudius Bracchus and the Illatian host would come to redefine Adrian politics. Septimius, the younger of the brothers, arrived in Adria by his lonesome, and through expert political maneuvering assumed the role of Baron of Aesculus, forced the exile and likely death of one Vladan Valic. He shortly thereafter became the most significant name in the Duchy. What would follow would be the most defining period of Adria's recent history: The Rise of The Mad Duke, and lament of Septimius.
Upon the Abdication of John the Good, the role of Duke was hotly contested. Based on what some would describe as merit, others ruthless ambition, the role should've gone to Septimius. However, Ducal tradition would imply the role to go to the only candidate of Carrion blood, Josip Sarkozic. At the election, Septimius led an attempted coup against the young Sarkozic, backed by his Ilatian host, who had effectively alienated and marginalized the existing population of Adria into servitude or exile, and a party of Orcs and mercenaries. Josip, though extremely outnumbered, was rescued by a force of Renatian knights, led by Konyves Ivanovich, who proceeded to slaughter all but the Brothers Bracchi themselves.
Josip seized the role of Duke, inheriting a crippled Duchy, filled with poverty, enemies in exile, and foreign powers willing to manipulate him. This circumstance brought forth extreme paranoia, anger and distrust in the Duke, and while he did, with the help of the pardoned Claudius Bracchus, revitalize the Adrian Duchy and city of Belvitz, his demeanor led to the isolation of Adria diplomatically among the vassals of the Empire of Man. This external pressure, coupled with the dissent being sown by Claudius internally led Josip to extreme drug abuse, one of these substances being tainted by one "Mister Locklear," an international agent of chaos. The Tainted Drug led Josip's already crippling paranoia to force him to flee the Duchy with the Ducal Coronet. He would only return to assume the role of Duke once more to foil a scheme by Claudius to dissolve the Duchy and make Belvitz his personal fiefdom, shortly after having a severe heart attack and stroke from years of drug abuse.
Ratibor I Carrion, grandson of Alexei the Pirate, would later assume the throne. Josip, despite his internal success in revitalizing the Duchy, would forever be known as the Mad Duke.
Ratibor Ascendant; Ratibor's Disappearance; The Adrian-Curonian War
Ratibor's scramble to the throne was regarded as a great moment for Adria, as the House of Carrion returned to the Ducal throne following Sarkozic madness. Though short, his tenure saw the development of many cultural feats in Adrian ordinance, such as defenestration becoming favored as a popular method for punishment towards local convicts. Though mildly barbaric, this method was successful in drastically lowering levels of crime, for people feared the large heights they could be flung from. His reign also rejuvenated the concept of a Duma (which previously existed but lacked enthusiasm and much consideration) as the general governing body below the Duke himself. The Duma highlighted the ails of Adrian Citizens before those of nobility, creating an atmosphere of true liberty and democracy in Adrian administration.
For these reformations, Ratibor 'the Good' was considered a patriot in the archetype of Adrian freedom, but his mind seemed incapable to handle the responsibilities given to him, as he distanced himself continuously from political plights within the city. Ratibor's reign ended with his sudden disappearance, but not before he caused a formidable chaos in the climate of the Empire's peace...
Prior to Ratibor's sudden disappearance, however, he'd been antagonizing the Duke of Curon with the mention of an honorable duel, and when the curonian duke refused to participate in such a match, Ratibor and the Adrians rose to call him a weak man. Ratibor's words spoke firmly through the streets of Belvitz, claiming war against the Curonians, due to his firm belief in the "cowardice of the curonites." The entirety of the united empire held it's breath in wait whilst the curonians responded, never before yet experiencing a war between it's most loyal vassals; The terms were set for battle, and battle it would be.
With a new duke having to be chosen posthaste by the Adrian Duma as a result of the missing Ratibor, Adrian morale did not reach nearly that of the flourishing Curonian state. The elected Duke, and supposed son of Ratibor, Paul II, inherited a country in the midst of a soul-crushing war. Come the day of battle, both sides were thirsty for the other's blood to be spilled. When Curon had officially risen as the victor, Adrians succumbed to the terms set for their defeat, which would be of marriage between the orphaned daughter of the lost Ratibor, Mariya, and a chosen son of the Duke of Curonia.
The loss in battle directly led to Adria's development into a state of political and social prowess, instead of military, which would define the decisions of the Adrian people from that day forth.
Pressures of Rebellion; Silver in the Dragon's Scales; Carry On, Carrion
The reign of Paul I Carrion was marked with extreme tension. Relations between Curon and Adria were abysmal, the Emperors of Man grew jealous of their own subjects growing population, and the Duke himself grew more ambitious by the day. Boris Carrion, the Duke's brother, ejected his grandmother, a Horen, from the city over a domestic dispute, and in response, the Dragon Knights led by Antonius, then the crown prince, rode to the city, threatening its destruction. In response, Paul took upon the hiring of several mercenary and bandit companies as protectors of the city, raising tensions even further. This tension was raised even further when the Emperor, Augustus I, abdicated to his son, in the same edict declaring Paul I a bastard of he and his own sister, an incestual Jrent, who would take the name Varoche. This insult to the Carrion line led Chekhov Carrion, cousin to the Duke and Marshal of Adria, to have those bandit and mercenaries—led by the Reivers—capture the Emperor on the Road, and, if sources are to be believed, kill him in the palace. Chekhov was banished from Adria in response, who feared a war between Empire and Duchy.
From that day, there was a noticeable change in demeanor from the Emperor. It was speculated, and generally believed, that the line of Antonius died that day, and in an attempt to maintain the stability of the Empire, the Emperor was impersonated by a man known as Calculus de Sola with the assistance from the Imperial Council. A common bandit of prestigious heritage and an uncanny likeness to the deceased Emperor, Calculus would split his time between the palace and the streets of Ves, killing and harassing citizens.
Calculus de Sola would deliver an ultimatum to Paul. Flee the Duchy, and surrender all of its leadership, or the city would burn. In response, Paul abdicated to Marius I of Haense, believing at the time the King's holding would allow the city greater protection. Instead, the new Duke and King burnt down the city on the Emperor's commands, forsaking the Duchy of Adria and leaving Ves in ruins, only to be restored to functionality by Alfred Myre, and never to be the seat of Adria again.
See also: Republic of Ves
It was said many times that Ves was the greatest city in the world, and Belvitz the most bustling town, without having a single citizen. While an exaggeration, it was nevertheless to the point of the matter--Adria was remarkably populous, yet lacked any core culture or identity with which the ruling and serving populations shared. This led to the city being the envy of the world without any means to protect it with internal forces, the main army of Adria being supported most of the time by external factions or mercenaries. There was little attachment to Adria in the streets of Ves, many people unaware that it even existed, their own lives taking far greater importance. It was said that a government official could be slain in front of the courthouse, and not a single man would protest. It was unarguable that the majority of the city was either too disinterested or too cowardly to enforce their own rule of law, and such a culture would not find Ves until the creation of the Free City.