On the Shoulders of Heroes
Villages: Drok, Naytalis, Svarta
Hamlets: Hengytis, Naytalinna
Population: Humans (50%), dwarves (30%), halflings (10%), other races (10%).
Export: Weapons, wool, pelts, silver
Languages: Vesi (Merma), Metsä (Kesma), Vuori (Vuorilas), Dwarven.
Government: Plutocracy, every three years the families gather and donate all the money they can miss. The family that donated the largest sum is allowed to rule for the next three years, although this has in practice been the same family for many years.
Symbol/flag: A tree on a cloud with a green and yellow background.
Kesma is the oldest founded kingdom of the realms of men, according to legend Koti is the first town that men ever build, 1300 years ago. When the humans moved into the woods the dwarves welcomed them as allies in their battle against the wild orcs and goblins that burned and pillaged their clan holds. Dwarf and man locked hands and worked together to make Kesma a successful and prosperous land. Being the oldest country Kesma is the center of religion of the pantheon.
The inhabitants of Kesma are rough, tough folk that work hard. They are careful towards strangers and always on their guard. Men are considered superior to women and rule the family farms, that each function as communities. Dwarves have also founded a number of colonies in the rich, woodland area. Numerous elves live in the forest in the North. The hills of Kesma are rich in silver, but crawl with savage creatures. Weapons, especially silver weapons, are valued greatly. It is not uncommon that families hire dwarf smiths to craft them master work gear and weapons or elf druids to bless their crops.
Because the endless forests and hills of Kesma are inhabited by dangerous creatures, travelers and inhabitants are best to take care. Many adults bear scars of orcs and goblin raids. Bandit ambushes are common. From an early age boys are taught to defend themselves.
All inhabitants of Kesma gather every three years in spring in Koti in a large festival. Here they worship the gods of the pantheon, play contests and contribute to the royal treasury. The family with the largest contribution has the right to rule the land for the next three years. Adatram, the current jarl, has been in power for more than ten years now. He purchased his power by finding and defeating a dragon. The common folk worship their jarl as if he is a hero of legend and do not object his show of power. At all times the jarl keeps a force of about 150 guards around, his Hammers, and an elite force of 30 law enforcers on horseback. These enforcers are considered to be above the law and are tasked with finding and stopping criminals. Inhabitants of Kesma tend towards good, although their respect towards authority depends on each family. Each family has a family symbol and holy animal.
Mielikki, goddess of the woods, is, next to the Father and Mother, seen as the most important figure in the pantheon. People decorate the woodwork on their houses in the honor of the gods. Weapons are often highly decorated and even named.
Places of interest
Monastery to the water god Atho. Daily the monks descend to pray on the shores of the lake and to net the most delicious fish. They brew a light, blonde ale from the mountain springs that is famous worldwide for its fresh flavor.
The Dark Mountains
These jagged black rocks are feared and avoided by the local populace. Between its dark spires still live orc and goblin tribes and other evil creatures. According to legends these mountains Loviathar her inspiration for making the first orcs.
The Dragon Woods
In these forests, with their hard, sturdy trees, lived the dragon Greentooth, until jarl Adatram defeated the monsters. The forest has never lost its name and it is now used as a wood source by the towns around the lake. Dragonwood is still rare and expensive.
This fortress separates the realm from the pirates of Barbasso, or so does the jarl believe. The soldiers have to be on constant guards against orcs and Goblin raids and occasional undead attacks from Barbossa, pirates stay away from them. It is a squad, heavy stone structure with little decoration, under constant guard. It it known for housing an entire regiment of bugbears named the Big Boys.
The Broken Dam
The fjord ripped this ancient fortress in two parts that today hang eerily over the dark water. In their hurry to abandon it, the soldiers left many supplies in the fortress, especially in the preserved parts. Strange howls can be heard during moonlit knights by shippers, however, many fear the creatures that may seek refuge in the ancient structure.
The Molten Woods
This stretch of tar is used by men to dispose of the worst killers and rapists. They are forced to march into the blackness, where most drown in tar or incinerate in a sulfur vent. Strange creatures and the souls of dead wander the land. For these reasons most men stay as far from these woods as they possibly can.
High Temple of Atho
The temple of the water god is build between the lakes of Atho and Athodal. It is a beautiful structure completely carved from the rock of the mountain, that come alive with the flow of fresh springs. One can hear the water rush through the walls like blood through a living being. It is highly decorated with fountains, gargoyles and statues. Priests from Athodal maintain the temple and people from Hengytis travel their once each year to place a sacrifice of incense. The building is guarded by holy water spirits that inhabit the radiant pools.
High Temple of Ilmatar
Although most temples of Ilmatar stand close to the heart of their communities in the city center, her high temple forms the exception. This fortress is mostly used as a haven for those that fight for the goddess. Even The Mother understands that some evil can be stopped only by violence. With carts the gifts for Ilmatar are brought here to train her soldiers.
From the outside the temple looks like a fortress. High stone walls, with banners of all recognized countries, stand fierce. Soldiers dress in impeccable whites with gold crosses. In the walls stand stone barracks with large, light widows and an abundance of common rooms. In the center of the fortress stands the spire, a church of colored glass. Corners, pedestals and doors are all decorated with holy scripture and depictions of Ilmatar.
The high priest of Ilmatar, Sjord Deek, is a slim half-elf with long blonde hair and blue eyes. He served for years in the city watch of Koti, where he made a name for himself as a generous people’s friend. Priests of The Mother asked the young man to take up the white. When he married he decided to devote all his time to religion and he quickly rose in the military wing of the church. They saw in him a smart, promising young man. He became the youngest man ever to be a high priest at the age of 35.
Sjord is friendly and reliable but very ambitious. He is always willing to help his fellow man, but convinced it takes a firm hand to do so. Since his appointment, five years ago, he build the immense fortress where he, his wife and three sons live.
High Temple of Mielikki
This wooden palace, that is not build of timbers but shaped out of living wood, is the central place of worship for Mielikki, goddess of the woodlands. A group of faithful Elf druids maintains the building and lives in treehomes around it. Powerful forest dwellers, such as treants, fey and unicorns often come to the temple to pay the goddess homage. Surrounding the village are fertile farmlands where they grow sweet grapes from which Elfinwine is manifactured, a precious liquor as sweet as honey.
The unicorn Alabern, a lovely white horse with an impressive horn, has taken permanent residence in the village and is the most important adviser of Ilya, the high priestess of Mielikki. Ilya is but a hundred years old, young for an Elf. She inherited her position from her mother, who died while protecting the village against a corrupt fire elemental. Ilya is afraid to let her people down and always gives a full hundred percent. She very rarely takes a full night rest and can often be found sleeplessly prowling the forest surrounding the village, pondering her life.
High Temple of Ukko
The temple of The Father is a hard to reach place but it still draws its share of pilgrims. The building is shaped completely out of living rock which was then painted. A small coven of fiercely loyal followers guard the complex and perform services in the wooden heart at its center. Sand from the hills is commonly used to shape high, stained glass windows in most buildings and mosaics on the floors. Pilgrims and monks are harbored within the walls of the sanctum, so in some seasons the Temple resembles a small city in its own right, with commerce and government. Outside the walls, in wooden barracks, the temple houses sinners: mourning criminals that regret their deeds and seek penance working in the mines and workshops.
The high priest of Ukko, Pake Mari, is a strict, mid-aged grayish man with bushy eyebrows, short cropped hair and a smooth cheek. Although he often claims to be a pacifist he has no mercy for the doers evil. For many years he has put great pressure on those seeking penance. Pake wishes the Temple to become the greatest and most impressive ever. Once he hopes to turn all evil to the ways of The Father.
These dense woods are the largest on the entire continent. Elves live here in small families, far from the bustle of human cities. Great parts of the forest have never even been explored or visited, stories are told of strange creatures living in dusty groves.
The Searing Rock
Stories told around camp fires at night tell of a great legendary city of dragons that once stood on the Searing Rock. These stories tell of how the dragons somehow just vanished into nothingness. Still smoke is seen rising from the mountain, but dragons have not been seen on the chalky, white slopes for a long time.
The World Pillar
This mountain reaches sharp and high, up into the mountains. The top has never been trod on by men and according to legend the last piece of the scale of the world rests on it.