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The Islands of Ursa Madeum

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Ursa Madeum

Important notice: Ursa Madeum's board leader is moving on to other projects. See this thread for details. 

Themes: Political intrigue, pirates, medieval fantasy
Technology/powers: low-tech, high-magic, mild powers
Contact: @Csl @Wade 

For six years, the once-great kingdom of Ursa Madeum suffered under the bloody rule of Damien Gillick. The madman seized the throne after the disappearance of the reigning Queen Decameron, shutting off the islands from the rest of Terrenus by a magical blood barrier created from the murder of thousands of nonhumans.

Now, over two years have passed since a foreign empire overthrew the Tyrant King. Nearly a year, since the new king’s coronation and the formation of a ruling council composed by the noble houses’ representatives. Nearly a year after House Hildebrand seceded from the kingdom, forming the Queendom of Svanhild.

Ursa Madeum, reborn from the waves, continues its slow return to its former glory. The Kingdom of Ursa Madeum and the Queendom of Svanhild have settled into their own lands, sharing an uneasy peace. What remains of Ursa Madeum’s old noble and aristocratic houses quietly pursue their own goals, navigating a complex web of conflicts and alliances. Svanhild’s cities are ripe with daring exploits, its wildlands fraught with dangerous quests.

But all the same, there are rumors that this peace will not last. Some say the Tyrant King’s allies are returning to power. Others say that House Gillick will rise again. Yet others whisper that the Deep Magic stirs, awakening,

In these times of turmoil, Ursa Madeum’s future seems uncertain.

Welcome to Valucre’s own game of thrones.

News

most recent at top, oldest at bottom.

7/8 - The royal family of the Queendom of Svanhild is slaughtered by a pair of assassins from the Carmine Pact. With their rulers gone, the Kingdom of Ursa Madeum assumes control of Svanhild's cities.

5/25 - King Milorian is kidnapped by pirates. In his absence, the royal council acts as head of the Kingdom of Ursa Madeum.

5/16 - Svanhild celebrates the wedding of its queen, Varda Hildebrand, with a banquet, a scavenger hunt, and a tournament.

4/25 - Members of the fallen House Arcos attack and take control of Noviria. They are led by two Oathblade-wielders, one using Marrow to control an undead kraken.

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Geography

Ursa Madeum is a small archipelago off the south coast of Terrenus. It’s three main islands – Corinth, Misral, and Thraece - are set in a vaguely triangular formation, with several islets located in the waters between.

Corinth

Corinth is the largest island at approximately 4,000 mi­2. It is the most populous island in Ursa Madeum, holding the capital cities of both kingdoms. Corinth has a number of large coastal cities that double as the nobility’s estates. Further inland are vast tracts of fields and pastures, dotted by the occasional village. The Queendom of Svanhild dominates Corinth’s north, including its mountainous, forested wilderness.

Settlements

  • Andelusia – The seat of power for the Kingdom of Ursa Madeum.

  • Dali Estate – House Dali’s estate. Faux-ton port connected to Qrill and Biazo Isle.

  • The Free Marshes – estate of House Mythal.

  • Skyfall Estate – estate of House Kholin.

  • Hydred's Hold – estate of House Tachelot

  • The Witness – estate of House Austell

  • Stelt – the last city of the Iron Wolves.

  • Cal Eteris – The old seat of power for the Queendom of Svanhild. Cal Eteris was established from the foundations of what had once been House Hildebrand’s ancestral estate, located northwest of Andelusia along the banks of the Symarron River on the island of Corinth. It is now under the control of the Kingdom of Ursa Madeum.

  • Gold Harbor – a port town, once House Karradeen’s estate, then turned over to the Queendom of Svanhild. At present, it is self-governing.

  •  

Landmarks

  • Veilcrest Fell – The northern region of Corinth is full of mountains wreathed in cold fog, and the craggy ridges of the Veilcrest Fell are the highest peaks of them all. The mountain range stretches across the northwest side of the island, from the plains bordering Gold Harbor to the fishing villages of the northeastern coastline .

  • The Fenwyld – The backdrop for a dizzying kaleidoscope of arcane energies, this unpredictable expanse separates the hidden city of Ilvor from the rest of Ursa Madeum. Its entrance lies somewhere through the mouth of a cave within the Veilcrest Fell, known as the Gully. .

    • Ilvor – Hidden away from the rest of Ursa Madeum as the last stronghold of the Deep Magic, Ilvor is a glittering world untouched by the vestiges of human civilization.

  • The Glaivespines – an untamed landscape of ruins and forests provide bountiful breeding grounds for livestock and wild fauna, as well as adventure for those who seek it. .

  • Deadwoods – A forest once inhabited by a huge elven population now gone because of the Tyrant King’s genocide. It is filled with abandoned ruins slowly being taken over by nature.

Thraece

Thraece is the the second-largest island at 2,200 mi2. While the northern and eastern coastlines are dotted with settlements, most of the island is covered in thick, tropical jungles. These, along with Thraece’s beautiful beaches and coral reefs conceal the danger of its unexplored wilds. The gangs of thieves and bandits that flourished during the Tyrant King’s reign remain numerous, congregating in the pirate cove on the southwest coast.

Settlements

  • Drasir – also known as Pirate's Cove, a city of bandits and pirates, center for smuggling and illegal activities in Ursa Madeum.

  • Noviria – A natural seaside harbour and city of splendour. It was once the seat of power for the fallen House Arcos.

  • Plovdiv – The current capital city of the House of Plovdiv.

  • Ylia – a beautiful seaside hotspot that has adopted a channel system due to the past desecration of the land.

  • Vanora – a sleepy village turned bustling coastal city once under the jurisdiction of the Queendom of Svanhild, and now self-governing.

Landmarks

  • Taldhgale Point A dense jungle mountain towering over the city of Vanora.

  • Felgrave – 

  • Tellius' Rest – A mountain range stained red by pumice and clay. Novirian legend speaks of a tribal god, Tellius, who moved the mountains so he could make a throne with which to gaze over what he had conquered. It is populated by dangerous beasts such as hydras, chimeras, and manticores.

Misral

Misral, northeast of Corinth, is the smallest of the three islands. The smoldering peak of the volcano Mount Egon dominates Misral’s landscape. Despite its harsh, mountainous terrain, Misral is rich in mineral resources and is home to a healthy metalworking industry. After Mount Egon’s recent eruption, agriculture has become all but impossible on Misral. Regardless, Misral remains one of the few sources of rare, magical minerals on the islands.

Settlements

  • Port Mars – a port considered to be one of the most important trade centres in the entire archipelago, namely due to its access to precious ores found within the local mountain range.

  • Qrill – a historical center of mechanical industry which has seen recent shifts towards the occult.

  • Aurum's Promise – A new port city under the jurisdiction of House Viridis.

Landmarks

  • Mount Egon – a massive volcano located on the western coast of Misral.

  • Caigh Ayrd – A region in northern Misral where the aftermath of Mount Egon’s eruption has colored the land in shades of red, orange, and gold: the backdrop of a perpetual battle between man and twisted creatures of lava and ash.

Climate

Ursa Madeum experiences a subtropical climate due to its location near Valucre's equator. The weather is fair year-long, the temperature peaking during the new year (June). There tends to be heavier rainfall from November to April and a dry season from May to October.

Culture

Ursa Madeum has a feudal society with the nobility at the top of the hierarchy. Social class is often defined by one's ancestry and wealth, with most of the aristocracy descended from wealthy, century-old dynasties.

Majority of the islands’ residents are humans, though nonhuman races such as elves, pereds, shifters, and beastfolk have a notable presence on the islands, composing roughly a quarter of its population. More information about Ursa Madeum’s demographics can be found in Codex Bios.

Magic and Technology

Due to the strengthening presence of Deep Magic, the islands’ arcanosphere renders modern technology and most magitech dysfunctional, particularly guns and machine-driven methods of transportation. Ursa Madeum’s technology level ranges from that of the Medieval Ages to the early Renaissance Period in Western Europe.

Among the common folk, which constitute the majority of the islands' population, use of high magic is rare and often feared- its use in the past is associated with the Tyrant King's rule, specifically with the Blood Barrier, the Black Knights, and the Oathblades. In Ursa Madeum, magic is seen as a weapon wielded by those in power against the common folk. It has become a thing of horror and wonder, feared by the general public and viewed with suspicion and trepidation. Even magical creatures or races - such as elves or animal-folk - are discriminated against.

However, magic is commonly used by the rich and powerful - the nobility and the aristocracy. It is a tool by the nobles, who are often the only ones who have the power and resources to utilize magic for their purposes.

Transportation within the islands is done either on foot or on horse. Mail couriers are commonly used for communication. Ships are used for travelling between islands, though a variant of the Tian Faux-tons has recently been introduced by House Dali. Access to this method of travel remains limited, though there are public Faux-tons terminals in Qrill and Andelusia.

Government

While once the islands were ruled by one monarch, two kingdoms now dominate the archipelago.

The Kingdom of Ursa Madeum

Ruled by King Milorian Mythal of House Mythal. Unlike the reign of Queen Analea and those before her, the Kingdom is no longer an absolute monarchy. Alongside the king, a council of representatives elected by the noble houses govern the Kingdom.

The Queendom of Svanhild

Ruled by Queen Varda Hildebrand. The Queendom of Svanhild, or simply Svanhild, is an independent realm in Ursa Madeum formed after the exit of the Veluriyam Empire and the subsequent formation of the archipelago’s autonomous Kingdom. It is ruled by Queen Varda Hildebrand of House Hildebrand from its seat of power in the city of Cal Eteris.

As of July 8, 599 WTA, the Queendom of Svanhild has collapsed. See: Svanhild Falls

History

The Past

In the days of old, Ursa Madeum flourished under the rule of Queen Analea Decamron. Ursa Madeum prided itself on its culture heritage and education exemplified in institutions such as the Andelusian Opera House and the Metropolitan Library. Despite the existence of occasional internal conflicts between the noble houses, Queen Decamron kept peace between parties.

Alas, the golden age of the islands did not last. In the year 591 WTA, Queen Decamron vanished. Without a head, the royal house was thrown in turmoil, and what peace the queen had brought to the islands was quick to crumble. Too soon, the throne was seized by Damien Gillick with his army of black-armored knights. These figures wielded weapons far advanced than any the kingdom had previously seen, and it was with this force King Damien took the islands under his full control. These would eventually be known as the Black Knights

The following six years were the darkest for Ursa Madeum. King Damien quickly gained the moniker of the Tyrant King, exacting heavy taxes on the people, implementing forced labor, and demanding a share of all goods be turned over to the government. The once-prosperous kingdom became destitute.

Many of the noble houses sided with the King, gaining his favor, riches, and avoiding the abuses inflicted on the commoners. The few that chose to fight suffered. Many became victims of the countless public executions that the Tyrant King was so fond of.

Still, the Tyrant King’s hunger for power remained unsated. Despite his iron grip on the islands, he remained paranoid that an outside nation would put a stop to his madness. A year after his coronation, a Damien sent the Oathsworn to kill every non-human on the islands – elves, pereds, and shifters – using their deaths to fuel a magic ritual. This created a nearly-unbreakable blood barrier that enclosed Ursa Madeum, preventing anyone from getting in or getting out. Despite various efforts from the outside world, none could enter the islands to put a stop to the Tyrant King’s madness.

However, rumors tell of the Suujali, smugglers who used a rare material to help refugees escape through the blood barrier and to Terrenus mainland. But not all refugees made their way to freedom: some were sold underground slave rings as part of human trafficking operations.

Foreign Occupation; Rise of Noble Houses

In the year 595, the blood barrier grew weak, allowing a group of refugees to escape. Once the then-named Taen Empire received word of Ursa Madeum’s situation, it sent its armies into the islands, breaking the barrier. In September of 596 WTA, the foreign empire’s military entered Corinth in secret and began invading the island. After a six-month campaign, the empire broke into Andelusia, overwhelmed the Black Knights, and charged for the castle. The Tyrant King learned of Taen’s presence too late; he was decapitated by one of its general and burned to ashes. The Empire then took control of Ursa Madeum.

What followed was a period of tumultuous change in the islands. Under the rule of the foreign empire - which eventually became known as Veluriyam - the Noble Houses continued pursuing their own goals, forming alliances, expanding their lands and holdings, and navigating the uncertain political landscape. Amidst all this, the once-lost Oathblades began to resurface, with six of the nine bonding with new masters. Iyalon Izora of House Hildebrand tracked down Walter Crowley, the first and only remaining member of the original Oathsworn.

In May 597, an experiment gone awry by Mia Uldwar caused a volcano elemental to awaken and Mount Egon to erupt. This becomes the first public reappearance of the Oathsworn, with five Oathblade-wielders arriving to fight the elemental. In the aftermath, House Tankred’s estate was destroyed, leaving few survivors.

A month later, in June 597, a meeting of Veluriyam's Empress and the Ursa Madeum nobility set the foundations for the island's future. By agreement of the noble houses, Milorian Mythal was chosen King, serving as the chairman of a council composed of representatives also chosen by the nobility. House Hildebrand became a separatist Queendom under the leadership of Varda Hildebrand.

Three months after, a masquerade ball is held to celebrate the coronation of Ursa Madeum's new king, Milorian Mythal. But amidst the celebration, a stranger breaks into the dungeons and steals the Oathblade Marrow.

Recent History // Canon

To see the full canonized history of Ursa Madeum, visit the Ursa Madeum Timeline

Swords and Thrones

See this thread for a comprehensive summary of Ursa Madeum's current main story arc:

 


The above is adapted from the original UM lore written by broken wings.
Edited by Csl
added fall of svanhild, updated landmark links

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The Kingdom of Ursa Madeum

The Kingdom of Ursa Madeum is a monarch-led semi-technocratic republic. The Kingdom holds authority over the majority of the islands, with its seat of power in the city of Andelusia, Corinth.

Decisions are made by a council composed of representatives with expertise in given areas of responsibility. Representatives are chosen by the Ursa Madeum noble houses. The monarch serves as the chairman of the council, mediate disputes, break ties in terms of gridlock, and act as figurehead of government and spokesperson for times of crisis.

Due to the king's absence, the royal council rules the Kingdom by itself, unofficially led by Councillors Davidus and Lupercarl.

The Nobility

A notable aspect of Ursa Madeum’s kingdom are the Nobility - a class of prominent, influential families in Ursa Madeum who hold considerable land and authority and function as the Kingdom’s ruling class. Most of the Houses are old and deeply rooted in the kingdom's history.

The Aristocracy

While not nobility, there are also prominent families that hold significant social and economic power, usually in the form of land. These compose the Aristocracy, a social class directly below the Nobility.

The heads of Aristocratic Families hold the title of Baron and Baroness. In some cases, a family of the Aristocracy will choose to pay homage to one of the Noble Houses, swearing loyalty to them and them alone. These are referred to as Vassals.


The Carmine Pact

Noble and Aristocratic houses who are currently waging war against the Kingdom of Ursa Madeum.

Edited by Csl

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