|Largest Cities:||Mesior, Teldrin|
|Local Leadership Title:||Count of Lunaris|
|Local Government:||Rebels: Occult Feudalism|
|Current leader:||Rebels: Lodge of Stars|
|Local language:||English, Bastardized Latin, Aryash|
|Local Religion:||Cedrism, Folk Superstition|
Lunaris is the oldest Shirerithian territory of its size on the mainland of Benacia, being founded seven ASC centuries before the New Feudalism which delineated its neighbors. It is located on the east side of the lower River Elwynn, and is known primarily for its art scene and its deep mysticism.
Lunaris was founded in 1520 ASC by the Bemangoed Duchess of Goldshire Kaiseress Jadie I, as the fiefdom of Eriana Moon, a member of the Ducal Court. Eriana was a decorative clay sculptor among other things, and saw art as the means to advance her subject population. At the time of her arrival, the people of Lunaris were a series of moon-worshiping cults of largely Khaz Modani heritage who initially despised their new ruler as she was of Treesian origin. However they were quickly won over by Eriana's taste for the aesthetic, her knowledge of the arcane arts and her moody temperament - all things which she had in common with them. Her reported ability to shift her form into that of various animals was especially well received by those of Horjin-esque belief among the population who treated her as a living Goddess. From the seat of her rule on the Eastern coast, she soon united the scattered chiefdoms of Lunaris under her rule.
During this period, the essential characteristics of Lunaris arose. Most of the playhouses - complexes combining theatres, art studios and other creative resources which now stand in every town and village in Lunaris - were built during this time. Then, beginning as an affectionate term among the chattering classes of Treesia, the people of Lunaris came to be known as the Lunatics. For a time, the rapid development of Lunaris under Eriana's visionary rule attracted visitors and admirers from across Shireroth.
This honeymoon period is generally accepted to have ended with the onset of the War of the Wylthean Succession in the 1760s ASC, which pitted Lunaris against its suzerain Duchy of Goldshire - each backing different contenders to the Mango Throne of Shireroth. Legend has it that Lunaris' contribution to the cause of Kaiser Los II was a pack of ferocious leopards; history does not record their fate. Lunaris itself was protected during this time by an artifact known only as The Bubble; a type of energy field controlled by a remote device which could be adjusted in size, allowing those inside to leave but denying the entry of those outside. The Bubble was expanded to cover the entirety of Lunaris except for the Northwest salient around Teldrin, which was briefly besieged by a Goldshirian army.
When the war drew to a close and The Bubble was deactivated, it released the wreckage of a Babkhan transport plane which had crashed into it during the hostilities. This plane fell into the Lacus Conticinium - which in those days was a deep lake rather than the silty swamp it is today - and it was during the recovery operation that a nest of Daemons was discovered in the area. These Daemons, being upset by the intrusion, plagued Lunaris intermittently until the establishment of the Temple of Lockenhasp to contain them in 3302 ASC.
Eriana's reign concluded with her sacrificial suicide to save the Baron of Amity & Mirioth - her lover and old war ally - from the mysterious poison with which he was afflicted. Her mortal blood cured the poison, but at the cost of her own life. For some time after her death, her spirit occasionally reappeared - claiming to reside among "people of mist and shadow" and generally putting the scares up anybody she visited.
Partition and Unification
After Eriana's death, Lunaris was left in a state of anarchy. In 2285 ASC the New Feudalism of Kaiser Yarad I partioned Lunaris into two halves: Upper Lunaris and Lower Lunaris. These halves eventually found rule under Hatter Elfson, an itinerant airship-dweller who made his residence in Upper Lunaris in 2346 ASC; and Krasniy Yastreb, an old suitor of Eriana's who assumed the rule of Lower Lunaris in 2363 ASC. This time was a high point of Lunatic activity, with frequent and amiable communication between the two rulers and regular appearances from the spirit of Eriana. It was also during this time that the first proper towns in Lunaris began to take shape, as did the increase of farming and forestry which led Lunatics to greater prosperity.
After the emigration of Hatter to Yardistan and a brief power vacuum in circles of nobility higher than the Lunarises, Krasniy Yastreb siezed his chance and reunited them back into a single Lunaris in the illustrious year of 3286. This event also marked the final appearance of the spirit of Eriana who offered a brief congratulation, disappeared back into the shadows and has not been seen since.
The Arya Occupation
After the reunification Krasniy decided to leave on an extremely long break, with dire consequences. As the wheels of history turned and Lunaris' cultural value was forgotten, an Antican provincial leader called Aryeztur Mejorkhor arrived in Lunaris in 3737 ASC after fleeing the disintegration of his homeland. He decided to settle in the area, but instead of adopting the local customs he summoned 55,000 colonists from his homeland (the Arya people) to enforce their own social code on Lunaris. A wave of forced religious conversion and population displacement followed, with most native Lunatics either assimilated or fleeing to the forests. Mejorkhor's rule was rapidly entrenched over the southern shore of Lunaris, where he built the city of Mejor as the seat of his power.
After a series of skirmishes and negotiations with the resisting Lunatics, Mejorkhor eventually relented and allowed them safe haven in the town of Erianamor in 3769. Shortly afterwards he allowed the forests of Lunaris the same status, as he was unable to control their rebellious Lunatic population at any rate. His rule remained strong elsewhere however, particularly on the southern coast and at one point extending across all of Goldshire. Lunaris was eventually restored to dignity by the Lunaris Return Settlement of 3961, brokered by Kaiseress Anandja II with the backing of many Shirerithians whose fond memories of Lunaris remained strong. The Settlement reversed most of Mejorkhor's changes and restored Lunatic self-determination, in exchange for allowing Mejorkhor to remain in the city of Mejor. This was an irreversible affront to Mejorkhor's ambitions, however, and he soon left the city to its own devices with only an impressive architectural legacy and the descendants of his colonists to administer it.
The Yastrebs' Return
After Mejorkhor's departure Lunaris was left as a sleepy backwater for many generations, with only its larger towns and its strategically important Guttuli islands getting any historical mention. Eventually Lunaris' old ruler, Krasniy Yastreb, surfaced from his extended wanderings and returned to assume rule of the county in 4967 ASC. Enraged by events in his absence, he embarked on a series of punitive expeditions againt the residual Arya population of Lunaris which earned him the condemnation of many Shirerithians. This culminated in the Battle of the Salus Forest, whereby the intermittent Arya resistance to Lunatic rule was finally put down in incredibly gruesome circumstances involving large amounts of untrained mobs on both sides. The battle descended into a bloodthirsty and undiscriminatory carnage which was only calmed by the arrival of soldiers from the more professional Lunatic Legion.
Later years saw a calming of events, with Krasniy settling down to write plays, chronicle the Lunatic mythology and pursue greater things as Duke of Goldshire. During this time the Lunatic Legion distinguished itself in action during the Cabbage Crisis, and the FNORD-winning Lunatic play Kapusta Kaput depicting the event was written shortly afterwards. In time, Krasniy's rule over Lunaris was passed down through his descendants (his son Ryabin being elevated to the Mango Throne itself as Kaiser Mo'll I) and, until the turn of the 7th millennium, Lunaris remained a fief of the House of Yastreb.
The Age of Sutherlune
Centuries after the loss of any trace of the Yastrebs in Lunaris, and facing being divided into northern and southern halves by the plans of Queen Noor bint Daniyal, Lunaris turned to Ryker Everstone of Suthergold. Being a long time ally of the Yastreb family and the Lunaris which it had built, Count Everstone successfully pushed back against Noor Bint Daniyal's proposed border reorganization in the county. Grateful for his services and seeing the need for a just representative, the Lunatics supported Count Everstone when he announced his desires for Countship over Lunaris. Having gained control over two counties, and in accordance with recent law changes, Ryker was then the duke of the newly created Duchy of Sutherlune. This entity endured until his departure to Natopia whereupon it was dissolved and Lunaris was placed in the care of the ESB-Jörmungandr Group until a new Count could be appointed.
Martial Law and Civil War
The deterioration in relations between Queen Noor and the native institutions of Goldshire came to a head when her two sons, the Princes Arn and Rostam were poisoned. Consumed by paranoia and anguish, Noor readily acceded to the recommendations of the ESB-Jörmungandr Group to implement martial law and begin a general purge of her enemies such as the Assayers and those who failed her such as the Leonid Guard.
Doubtful of the ability of the Goldshire Regulars and the ESB's Directorate of Security to restore order, and unwilling to place excessive trust in the county militias, the Royal Government invited the MoMA to send the Imperial Forces to assist in hunting down the Assayers.
This last act pushed the Lunatic Legion into open revolt. In response the Martial Law Administrator, Doctor Ernst Cryptsinger created a special Military Zone in Lunaris that became, in effect, a live fire zone for the Imperial Forces deployed in the County. This zone included Lune Villa and the Forest of Eth and became in itself a tacit admission that these areas had fallen outside of government control.
As resistance to her rule mounted Noor unleashed her new bodyguard, the Jaysh al-Sathrati upon the southern rebels. In itself this was an act of desperation that backfired and led to the creation of the Army of the Golden Dawn as the militias of Ran and Elsenar rose up and joined the revolt against the Line of Ayreon-Kalirion.
Shortly after hostilities ended across Goldshire, Ryker returned and reclaimed his place on the throne. Noting Ynnraile's acquisition of Telrin (and not wanting to upset the return to peace), he awarded Lunaris a large swath of land to its north which they named Poena. This gesture went largely without regarded throughout the county and so the region became a sort of haven for the Octoluners whose fortune was now on par with the rest of the Kingdom.
Environment & Geography
Lunaris' climate ranges from the temperate to the subtropical, with rapid changes in weather due to its coastal exposure. A large part of Lunaris is a mixture of open grassland and dense forest, the former bearing a profusion of wild flowers and the latter being composed largely of Cedar trees. A large swathe of land in central Lunaris, known as the Hortus Ortus Intemptesta Nox in the local vernacular - is given over to floral horticulture. In the south and east, the River Elwynn irrigates great tracts of farmland.
In ancient times Lunaris was overrun by leopards, deer, cats and owls. These are thought to have experienced a rapid decline after the death of Eriana Moon, nearing extinction during the Arya occupation. Since the return of the Yastrebs, however, intensive conservation efforts and a degree of statutory protection have gradually restored their numbers - although they remain nowhere near the absolute swarms of Eriana's day.
Settlement in Lunaris is mostly non-urban, with only the city of Mesior on the Southern coast having any resemblence to a city. It was founded in the Partition Years by Count Krasniy Yastreb of Lower Lunaris as the small town of Smotretka. Here the Count made his capital, - building a narrow, mile-high tower as his residence with a commanding view of the River Elwynn archipelago. Later, long after the tower's collapse and the fading of Smotretka into obscurity, it was revived by the invader Aryeztur Mejorkhor as his own capital. He renamed it Mejor, and developed it significantly into a port city. Despite Mejorkhor's departure and the latinisation of the city's name to Mesior, its streets and alleys remain dominated by the Eastern-style architecture of that earlier age and its parks still grow the strange trees brought in by the Arya.
The other main settlements of Lunaris do not suit the name of 'town', as they are in effect town-sized villages dominated by single-storey detached cottages and agricultural smallholdings alongside larger buildings such as playhouses. The most important of these places is Lune Villa, the capital of Lunaris. Here the government of Lunaris is undertaken from an ornate, turreted mansion known as the House of Quills, or HoQ for short. Lune Villa sits on the edge of the Volaticus Forest, and is relatively quiet considering its status. Most of the sparse population are directly involved with Lunaris' government.
Probably the most important settlement in Lunaris is Erianamor, which boasts the highest density of playhouses and performing artists in all of Lunaris. Despite being as sparsely built as Lune Villa it is considerably busier, with the resident artists living alongside merchants who use the Erianamor's famous market as a hub of trade. This in turn attracts a great deal of visitors. Erianamor also holds the distinction of being the only part of Lunaris not to succumb to Mejorkhor's invasion, earning it a name as the only truly 'untainted' part of Lunaris and the last stronghold of Lunatic culture. Erianamor lies on the Pratum Libertas, an expanse of uncultivated open plain with a large population of wild deer.
In the northwest of Lunaris, on the banks of the River Elwynn lies the port of Teldrin. It was first established as a Goldshirian garrison against the designs of Brookshire and Musica on Goldshire's southern flank, and further strengthened by Duke Zarathustra Erutirn of Goldshire after the War of the Wylthean Succession to reassert his rule over the recently-rebellious Lunaris. It is still called Fort Erutirn to this day, and houses military units under both Lunatic and Goldshirian flags. Teldrin is perhaps the least Lunatic part of Lunaris, experiencing countless foreign influences via the River Elwynn and sharing many characteristics with Ransenar, the County to its immediate north and the homeland of Hatter Elfson whose rule extended into Upper Lunaris during the Partition Years. Despite this the citizens of Teldrin, known for their tendency to tilt their heads like dogs in curiosity at anything interesting, retain a pride in their Lunatic roots.
In parts of Lunaris lie the remnants of ancient lakes, long since drained for agriculture or silted up into swampland. The largest of these is the Lacus Conticinium of Daemonic fame, but to the northwest is also the remnants of the Tantillus Arcanum, a lake used as a holy shrine by the ancients of Lunaris and reported to grant intense magical powers to those who know its secrets.
Just south of the Tantillus Arcanum rises the Eldar hills. Here the gentle hills of northern Lunaris become considerably steeper before dropping suddenly into the flat plains of the south. The range was reportedly formed by the sacrifical death of Baroness Eriana, its summit located at the very site of her death. The Eldar hills have large concentrations of gold deposits, and several small mines exist in the area for the exploitation of that resource.
Lunaris is ruled by the Count, and at the time of this writing Lunaris is a subject territory of the Duchy of Goldshire. The governance of Lunaris is nominally the domain of the Count, who administers the County from the House of Quills in Lune Villa. Here he directs the County Wardens, who in turn administer the Wards of Lunaris on the Count's behalf. Each Warden is also assigned a ministerial (or Foliant, as it is called in Lunaris) brief, ranging from the vital to the sinecurial.
The entirety of Lunatic government is overseen by the Lodge of Stars of Lumenetra, an occult order whose membership includes every citizen of Lunaris and certain honoured foreigners. Promotion through the ranks of Lunaris' government, and in many other areas of Luantic life, is dependent on advancement through the degrees of the Star Lodge. This ensures the steady and natural instruction of important individuals in the Lunatic virtues of beauty and self-sacrifice. The practice also protects against the absorption of foreign ideas like scientific reductionism and anthropocentrism which, while popular with Lunaris' neighbours, are completely antithetical and destructive to the mystical Lunatic character.
On each new moon the people of Lunaris confer in the Meadows of Erianamor around an enormous pit of fire, holding what is best described as a mixture between a celebratory festival and a parliamentary gathering. Here the Count and his Wardens listen to the concerns of the common Lunatic, and indulge in their pleasures.
Below the Ward level, individual villages and communities in Lunaris are self administered in the peasant fashion. This causes a wide variance in rules of public order, and an equally wide variance in criminal punishments which are informal and often brutal. The general tradition of Lunatic justice is punishment in kind. Therefore capital punishment is usually only reserved for murderers, rapists are raped, thieves are deprived of all their property, and so on. The quality of the judicial process, like the rules and sentences, varies widely across Lunaris. If in doubt, just be nice to people. It's not that hard.
The military defence of Lunaris is undertaken by the Lunatic Legion, which emphasises mobile, insurgent and generally asymmetric warfare against an opponent presumed to be stronger. The Legion uses a large number of trained animals as weapons, as well as a disproportionately large amount of incendiary munitions. The Legion's entertainment and welfare units have distinguished themselves in battle abroad, particularly during the Cabbage Crisis.
To the foreign eye the Lunatic people are awkward and capricious, with a short attention spans and frequent tantrums. The one thing which enjoys a Lunatic's concentration is art, and over the generations the spheres of work and art have fused to allow a basic level of economic productivity. In agriculture for example, something as simple as a farm hand's scythe can be found with an ornate carved handle and engraved blade - and the work to which it is put often involves the harvest of only half a field, to allow for pretty patterns to be carved out of the crop. Such indulgences in every Lunatic workplace result in an abundance of aesthetic beauty in evreyday life, despite being horrendously inefficient in economic terms.
The village playhouses, in addition to being the centres of government, are also the centres of Lunatic social life. In the early evening, most Lunatic villages are deserted as the villagers cram into the playhouses to see whatever is on show - whether theatrical, musical or simply educational. There is no particular boundary between a meeting to discuss important community issues and a cabaret, for instance. The playhouses often combine such things into a single show with a high level of audience interaction.
In their private lives, Lunatics are ruled by their inner torments and superstitions. At times these experiences congeal into a greater spirituality, with most Lunatics loosely accepting the structure of the Cedrist Temple as part of this - but unlike the rest of the Cedrist world, religious experience in Lunaris is mostly mystical and personal, with voices in the head and signs taken from nature holding far more weight than the second-hand teachings of a priest.
Most Lunatics speak Shirithian English, although Latin is used extensively in official paperwork and a heavily-butchered variant of it is spoken natively around Erianamor, Lumenetra and the Salus forest. The Lunatic accent is distinctively feline, with nasal vowels and heavily voiced consonants sounding like a stream of purrs and meows.
Owing to its heavily aesthetic and verbal traditions, the literacy rate in Lunaris is abnormally low compared to its neighbours. This is also exacerbated by the high proportion of the insane and imbecilic in the Lunatic population, where such characteristics are relatively free of stigma and thus attract a steady stream of mentally-challenged individuals to settle in Lunaris from abroad. Despite this, a small and highly literate elite exists around the larger playhouses and the House of Quills, looking after the more important aspects of Lunatic state and society on behalf of the less able.
From the Census of 1636.6118 (Elw.ASC)
|Ward||Lunatic||Goldshirean||Octalune||Other Shirerithian||Other (Human)||Other (Inhuman)||Total Population|
|Mesior (Urban Ward)||281,076||25,094||23,987||43,023||12098||12||385,290|
|Mesior (Rural Ward)||800,200||3,460||73,023||8||0||1||876,692|
|Teldrin (Urban Ward)||220,890||81,002||22,980||21,087||678||0||346,637|
|Teldrin (Rural Ward)||413,800||21,870||34,089||5,322||97||33||475,211|
|Total Population of Lunaris||8,333,319||213,059||472,228||92,133||13,813||102,492||9,227,044|