|Archduchy of Camlorn|
|Capital||City of Camlorn|
|Government||The Archdukes of Camlorn|
|Formation||Camlorn's vassalization to Daggerfall, 4E 18|
|Language(s)||Bretic (Camlornese dialect)|
|Currency||The Imperial Septim (Camlorn Mint, Daggerfall Crownmint)|
|Terrain||An extensive network of hills and river-valleys in the north and along the Wrothgarian foothills, plains in the south|
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The Archduchy of Camlorn is one of High Rock's major fiefdoms, and constitutes a significant part of the Kingdom of Daggerfall and Greater Betony. Ruled presently by Archduke Senhyn Valtieri, Camlorn's territorial extent and role in wider Bretic politics have both fluctuated considerably over the course of the Fourth Era. Initial aggrandizement and expansion at the expense of lesser regional powers the likes of Phrygias and Dwynnen led to the controversial role the polity was to play in the Moonguard Revolt of 4E18 - which, in turn, resulted in Camlorn's vassalization by Daggerfall, an arrangement that stands to this day.
At present, Camlorn stands at what is simultaneously one of its highest and lowest points in recent history. Its territorial extent far exceeds the dreams of most the kings of old - yet this has come at the cost of the very crown they so proudly wore. Both a player and a boardpiece within the ever-escalating powerplays and rivalries that now divide the Bretic Iliac, it remains to be seen whether Camlorn's fortunes might yet be reversed - or if it is to become mired in the nostalgic lethargy of its once-beloved once-king.
Caught in the nebulous gap between the Bretic Iliac and northern High Rock, the tidy label of "the Archduchy of Camlorn" belies the bewildering variety of its physical and political geography. Buttressed in the north-northeast by the jagged and unwelcoming Wrothgarian foothills, the North Kambria plateau shields the low-lying heartland of the old kingdom of Camlorn from the plains and eternal battlegrounds of the Iliac coast to the south. Rivers and forests skirt the plateau's sheer westwards slopes, which even out into the softer, rolling hills of Phrygia - before they are consumed again by the wooded river basins that mark the archduchy's Daggerfallian borders. Finally, Dwynnen's boggy, haunted wetlands cut across the very centre of the Valtieris' piecemeal domain, slowing all but the most resolute of travelers down to a crawl.
The Valtieris themselves rule chiefly from their seat in the city of Camlorn. Considered by many - its own burghers first and foremost - to be one of High Rock's more resplendent, if little-known, jewels, Camlorn has survived a distant past of violence, Nordic raids and desolation to become a bustling way-station along one of the main northern arteries of trade: the lucrative shipping lanes that connect Northpoint and its hinterland to the commercial tangle of the Iliac. Ships both northwards and southwards-bound come to anchor here before continuing on their way; or, every so often, before turning inland, to ply their wares across the Kambrian river network. A thin band of agrarian land, stretching further to the south-east wheresoever it leans against the riverbank, sets the city apart from the wooded highlands further south; and it is here, clustered around the city walls, and also in the open plains directly south of Camlorn, that one will find the bulk of the old kingdom's aristocracy. The landscape is pockmarked by their countless castles, fortifications and estates, forming - in however roundabout a fashion - a bulwark against the ancient (and now, largely defunct) threat from the south, from Phrygias.
Deeper inland, south and east of the city, typical Bretic convention and idyllic (if rocky) coastal land gives way to the woods and highlands of Old Camlorn. Hilltop fortresses and free villages are tucked behind every which brook and hillock, and even to this day, the hills remain alive with endless petty feuds over honour, livestock and grazing land in equal measure. All too familiar with the ways of the Cammish freeriders, the Kambrians who occupy the eastern half of the plateau are appropriately well-entrenched in their forests and winding river-valleys, and their array of bastions and castles - ranging from lonely, crumbling towers to veritable works of art that set the standard for stubborn and defiant petty castellans and barons throughout High Rock - stretches all the way to the Iliac coast.
Here - where rivalries are counted in the hundreds of years and where brief, yet sincere and frightfully brutal wars are almost commonplace, - this staggered string of citadels, and all their militant stewards too, are made subordinate to greater conflicts. The city of Bhoriane is well on its way to recovering from the physical ravages of the Moonguard Revolt (thanks, in no small part, to Senhyn Valtieri, whose rule here is far stronger and far, far more welcome than elsewhere in the Cammish Iliac); a sense of trauma and a deep resentment, though, continue to permeate its citizen community at almost every level, aimed not so much at the Orcish hordes responsible, but rather at the hated Duchess of Alcaire - now Queen Elysana of Wayrest. If anywhere upon the Bretic Iliac is to be the spark of the next great war, it may well be here, in Bhoriane; where the ramparts mount higher with each passing day, and where the Archduke of Camlorn is honoured as a saviour, a hero - and perhaps, the unwitting architect of Bhoriane's revenge.
Kings of House Raze Edit
While House Valtieri sits on the throne, their position was not always so lofty. The first real mention of the Valtieris as a major power appears in the early second century of the 3rd era during the War of the Red Diamond. During this period of time the Valtieris were one of the strongest noble houses in Camlorn. Their lands comprised of close to a sixth of the Kingdom making them the third largest landholder in Camlorn.
During the war, King Arthur Raze called the banners to aid Uriel Septim III. Duke Dante Valtieri, the current head of the Valtieri family, refused to send his forces; it was well known at the time that Dante and Arthur had long been rivals since youth. The King, furious at the disobedience of Lord Dante, declared his lands and titles forfeit as well as saying a few choice words about his wife. In his own rage Dante entered the city of Camlorn unannounced while the King was holding court, stormed into the throne room, and after a brief speech beheaded the King whilst he sat on his own throne. Hoping that his display would cow the nobility, Dante claimed the throne for himself.
However the nobility of the realm did not back his claim due to his brash and violent attempt at usurpation, favouring instead the claim of the King's cousin, Duke Reynauld. Seeing that there was no way to take the throne and ensure the loyalty of the nobility Dante renounced his claim and supported Reynauld, the two lords having been firm allies in the past. There was even some speculation at the time that the entire plan had been orchestrated by Reynauld, for Dante - despite having commited regicide - only received token punishment, and later years saw House Valtieri rewarded often by the royal family.
Many years later in the 3E 385 tragedy struck the Raze family. An assassination attempt succeeded in wiping out the entire ruling family. The King’s brother, then the Duke of Oloine, came to power and despite the scandal of having sent his daughter, Lady Jyllia, to an asylum for recovery (having witnessed the murder of Princess Talara), the transition occurred relatively peacefully. It would take twenty years and the arrival of simple whore from Daggerfall for the shroud of mystery to be lifted.
A young woman by the name of Gyna was happened upon by the Lady Jyllia, and they both noted how similar in appearance they were to each other. Others soon began to note similarities, and this fueled the rumor that the new royal family had been attempting to silence for years - that Princess Talara had survived the attempt. An attempt was made on Gyna's life, but she was able to survive and find allies. The matter was soon looked into by agents of the Emperor, due to the discovery of an unsent letter from the previous King of Camlorn - dated the day of the assassination - warning the Emperor that Jagar Tharn had once been a mage-priest at the Temple of Sethiete who stole many spells and books, as well as knowledge on the Staff of Chaos. As the death of the King had prevented the letter from being sent, the assassination became a matter of Imperial interest, and further investigation resulted in the arrest of the former Duke of Oloine, his wife and their son, and the truth coming to light. That the whore Gyna was the real Lady Jyllia and that Jyllia was in fact the long lost Princess Talara. The assassination had been ordered by the Duke of Oloine so that he and his heirs could take Camlorn.
Talara ascended the throne soon after, but her rule was not an easy one. Some of the Lords of Camlorn had benefited from Oloine's rise to power, and while the majority welcomed back Talara with much celebration, there were still those who doubted the tale. The dissenters were brought back into the fold by the cunning of Duke Lucien Valtieri. Lucien and Talara soon found themselves growing closer, and the pair were wed soon after. However, the birth of their first child resulted in complications, and in the end, Queen Talara Raze gave her life to bring Senhyn Valtieri in to the world in 3E 407, the child destined become the first - and last - Valtieri King of Camlorn.
With Talara dead, Sylon Raze, formerly the Prince of Camlorn, pressed his claim for throne, declaring himself the true king. Lucien, still gripped with grief, was lured to war, and met Sylon at the fields of Camden. The battle was short and bloody, resulting in the rebel forces being crushed, but at the expense of crippling the Prince-Consort. With his death a few days later, the future of Camlorn was uncertain. The King was an infant, the kingdom on edge, rebels and dissenters bloodied but not entirely beaten. It was into this period that the Regency of Astien Valtieri - brother of Lucien and uncle to the young Senhyn - began.
Regency and Reign of House Valtieri Edit
Despite the realm drained from several small scale conflicts, Astien's rule was rather effective at bringing back order and prosperity. While he held the throne he increased the amount of trade going through the Camlornese heartland. It was during this time that he also brought Urvaius and Dwynnen into the fold, appealing to their old cultural ties to strengthen the region (which was a polite way of saying that he suggested vassalship while camping the much larger Camlornese army outsite their capital cities). So it was that when the Regency of Astien ended in 3E 424, Senhyn ascended to the throne of a Kingdom far stronger economically and culturally than his mother had ruled. Astien continued to be a wise and respected advisor and for the first year of Senhyn's reign, Calmorn prospered in peace. However, this was not to last. In the 3E 425 there was a brief war between Camlorn and the Barony of Phrygias, the latter violently opposed to joining the rest of the Cammish people, preferring independence. As his most loyal adviser and finest general, Senhyn tasked Duke Astien with putting down the resistance. Astien rode into battle and swiftly defeated the smaller forces of the lesser realm, but it came at a great price. While leading his forces a stray arrow managed to pierce the underarm of the Duke. He died shortly after from infection and the collapse of his lung, leaving Senhyn Valtieri, still relatively new to his throne, without his most loyal ally.
Despite initial doubts as to his ability, Senhyn took to the role of King quickly. He followed in his uncle’s footsteps of economic stability and increased the trade going through Camlorn by allying with the Kingdom of Koegria. This gave Camlorn access to the Illiac and the vast trade network it supported. Having effectively tapped into the trade routes on the northern and southern coasts of Cammish High Rock, Senhyn ruled prosperously and without conflict for many years after the fall of the Oblivion Crisis. When the majority of High Rock seceded from the failing remnants of the Cyrodiilic Empire, Senhyn followed suit.
The Moonguard Revolt Edit
4E 18 would prove a pivotal moment in Camlorn's history and indeed that of High Rock in general. In order to deal with a potential rebellion brewing within her borders, Queen Elysana sent the then Marshal of Nova-Orsinium to deal with the problem after he had offered her assistance. However, this "assistance" turned out to be the creation of a massive pillaging horde of orcs, which was released upon the counties of Kambria, Koegria and most importantly Bhoriane, one of the most heavily populated cities on the Iliac.
The Sacking of Bhoriane by the Orcs sent shockwaves through all of High Rock, shifting the balance of power considerably. With Bhoriane, Koegria and Kambria laid low by the orc horde, King Titus Kynling of Evermore assembled a great coalition to oppose the orcs and their ally of Wayrest. Shorhelm joined the coalition, ready to bring the fight directly to Nova-Orsinium. In order to protect her position, Queen Elysana denounced the actions of the orcs and the famously strong Orsinium-Wayrest Alliance was shattered. As a result, it was not long until a great coalition of Bretic Kingdoms converged on the Iron City to bring the orcs to heel.
While this occured, Senhyn saw the perfect opportunity to expand his borders. Mustering a mighty host, he was able to liberate Counties Kambria and Bhoraine, bringing them into his domain. There was little resistance to the change of regime, due in part to the shaky relationship those counties had with Wayrest prior to the revolt and also due to their gratitude for being saved from the orc hordes. However, upon arriving at Koegria, they found it had already been reclaimed by Wayrest under Prince Geruld Septim and the two forces clashed indecisively, though Geruld was able to hold his ground. Wayrest's a massive army, having now been fully assembled, turned from Orsinium - Elysana only sent a token force (mostly levied from Menevia) to participate in the siege - and marched westward to meet the Camlornese and retake their lost counties.
Realising that he had bitten off more than he could chew, and especially being so heavily outnumbered by Wayrest, Senhyn averted war by turning to Wayrest's old foe: Daggerfall. In what was clearly a desparate move, he willingly surrendered his own crown for Daggerfall's protection. This pact was sealed by the marriage of King Camaron to Princess Kelmena, though the actual ceremony itself was postponed for several years until she came of age. As a result, Camlorn became an Archduchy of Daggerfall and thus subject to its protection. And so Wayrest, being unable to strike at Camlorn without also attracting the wrath of Daggerfall, did not attempt to regain Kambria and Bhoraine.
While it did prevent all out war, vassalisation brought about its own set of challenges. Much of the nobility expressed outrage that a King would willingly surrender absolute sovereignty to a foriegn power, and there was much resistance to the idea. This was largely countered by the details of the treaty, which gave Camlorn a greater deal of autonomy compared to the Archdukes in Daggerfall proper. This was enough to placate the majority of the nobility, though many accepted the terms only grudgingly.
There are those who argue that Camlorn needs to integrate more with Daggerfallian society and become a true part of the Bretic West, while others claim that the treaty was a mistake, and that they should have entered an alliance with Daggerfall as equals, rather than as a vassalised state.
Valtieri Prospects Edit
As a result of both discontinuing war with Wayrest instead of pushing on (as many thought he would), and surrendering his crown to Daggerfall, Senhyn's reputation as a ruler was greatly deminished. The loyalty of the lords within the Camlornese heartland can be described as tenuous, while the recently aquired regions long the iliac still view him in a favourable - or at the very least, indifferent - light.
For many centuries Camlorn has been the largest port between the Illiac and Northpoint, and continues to be to this day. It’s well defended harbor acts as a safe haven for ships making the long journey around the North of High Rock. Being that it’s the only major port on the trade route from the Illiac to the East is receives a huge amount of traffic, which has greatly stimulated the economy.
However the true source of Camlorn’s wealth lies with its peasantry. The freemen and serfs of the realm have herded sheep since the first Nords came west. These great flocks have been the backbone of Camlorn’s economy. The sheep bred in Camlorn are a very hardy variety with very thick wool; they can survive even the hardest winters. The wool harvested from these sheep is shipped all over Tamriel and has never been in short demand.
Camlorn also produces some of the hardiest and best horses in Western High Rock. Under the reign of Archduke Senhyn the traffic entering the port of Camlorn has been greatly increased, which has also increased the exportation of wool and textiles. Recently Camlorn has been enjoying a rather nice period of prosperity.
Camlorn has maintained its traditional style of feudalism even after becoming a vassal to the King of Daggerfall. While the leading ruler carries the title of Archduke rather than King he, or she in some cases, still maintains the same level of power that the rulers before the alliance had. Therefore the Archduke is a king in everything but name. The Archduchy of Camlorn is left pretty much to itself by its sovereign kingdom of Daggerfall, as such were the agreements on which the two nations joined.
In the hierarchy of Camlorn the Archduke holds the highest seat, followed by the Dukes, then the Counts, Barons, and Free Riders (sometimes called outriders or Reiters), and then the Freemen, and the Serfs. In the Archduchy of Camlorn, unlike in Daggerfall and the other nations of High Rock, there is a large portion of free men who are not bound by oath to a lesser or greater lord. They instead rule themselves and their settlements. This is a tradition carried over from the times when Camlorn was still under Nordic control. Most freemen, and all serfs, are presided over by a Free Rider or Reiter which act as the knights of the realm. In most freemen settlements the Reiter is chosen by the people to lead and protect the settlement as well as act as a mediator for disagreements. The same is true for settlements comprised of serfs; however their Reiter is normally chosen by their liege lord. Each Reiter is his own man, with his own identity, and does not bear the standard of a liege lord as his banner like the knights of other realms.
In truth the Reiters hold more power in the realm than the Counts or Barons due to their close relationship with their people. Most free men do not pay heed to the laws of Counts and Barons unless their Reiter follows that lord. This tradition has developed a strong sense of individuality in the freemen of Camlorn. In truth, only counting the nobles within Camlorn’s borders, there are only four families with the title of Count, and six with the title of Baron. However these ten noble families are the lords of around just over fifty percent of Camlorn’s population (the serfs), not counting the Archduke’s own lands which comprise about a third of the Archduchy. The rest of the population consists of freemen and Reiters. Since there is such a large number of Reiters the ancient Nordic tradition of holding moots is still practiced. Groups of Reiters convene at the moots to work out disagreements and decide the fates of their holdfasts and settlements. They also hold moots when matters of attention need to be brought before the Archduke; it is much easier for a few Reiters to appear in court than thirty or forty.