Table of Contents
Daven is the southernmost kingdom of Farland. It is located west of Orland and south of Kelerak. It was once a powerful kingdom in better years. Daven suffered much during the dark occupation and was finally liberated from the dark forces in 8163 by the Lords of the West. Since that time, however, a new plague has sprung up to trouble the citizens of Daven. Daven was ruled for more than four hundred years by a vampire named Saithith. During his rule he spawned hundreds of undead. Though Saithith and those closest to him were dispatched by the Lords of the West, these hundreds still roam the kingdom feeding on human flesh. A good part of the inhabitants of Daven have responded to this threat by fleeing to Kale to the west. Others stubbornly refuse to leave their homeland and cower in their houses praying that they will be spared for another night. The way of life in Daven has become very free, as individualism is necessary. "Every man for himself," is the doctrine of the day, "for who knows if we'll make it through tonight." The concept of leadership and laws means little to a man facing such terrors. Against this utter chaos, a fledgling king is attempting to reassert the ancient laws of Daven in Elder Daven.
Daven's current king is Godric, son of Godfrey. He assumed the throne with claims that he is descended from Magnus the Mighty. Magnus was the most trusted soldier-chancellor of Dakor V. For some months, after Dakor V was murdered in the night in the fateful year 7744, he assumed control of the failing kingdom. Not only was he a political power, but he was also a cousin of Dakor V, and thus claimed the throne. He didn't live long enough for anyone to dispute his claim as the kingdom fell to the Lord of Gluttony later that same year. King Godric claims to be a descendent of Magnus' younger sister Rebeka and a blacksmith by the name of Archibald. He claims that since Rebeka was cousin to Dakor V, he has a valid claim to the throne. Ironically, history is repeating itself, and whether or not king Godric's claims are true, few care. Godric dares not take up residence within the castle where the living dead roam nightly. He resides and holds "court" in a manor house in the western area of Elder Daven. He does command a few fighting cavalrymen (which he refers to as Driddaren, though their fighting prowess pales in comparison to the ancient holders of that name), and an infantry used to police the city following the old laws of Daven. These men are as vulnerable to attacks of the night as are peasants of the city, though, and chaos reigns after dusk. Thus like king Godric's supposed ancestor, Magnus the mighty, none care enough to dispute his rule as their lives are in enough danger without adding further enemies to the list.
The native people of northern Daven probably descended from nomadic tribesmen. There were a small number of extended families that were the ruling families. As these people gave up their nomadic lifestyles and turned to agriculture, fighting men became more important as protectors of landholdings. Every man of fighting age sought to own at least one good weapon. More wealthy men owned better weapons and some even armor and horses. Men from the leading families were more likely to be wealthy. Thus these men were usually better fighters, being better equipped. When Daven I arrived to found the kingdom of Daven, he found these people already established in a feudalistic society where might makes right. In an effort to unify the kingdom, he established a system of knighthood, and many of these men were to remain loyal to him and his line. These new knights Daven called the Driddaren, ("riders" in Kelevan), and it was proclaimed that to become one of the Driddaren, one must command at least ten men and own at least one horse. Many of the heads of these original families became leaders of large areas of land and great numbers of men. Daven I rewarded his highest ranking generals with large estates in the areas of today's cities of Gryphon, New Daven, Arden, Irrol, Zeel City, and Victoria. These generals had come with him from Farland and were intensely loyal to Daven I. Daven I himself presided over the area of present day Elder Daven. In the early days of the kingdom of Daven, barbarian natives that didn't succumb to Daven I's rule were captured and enslaved. Early contact with seafaring pirates from islands to the south of Daven also helped keep a ready supply of slaves available. Many of the aforementioned estates were founded on slave labor. Though never outlawed, slavery hardly exists in modern Daven, for Daven I also brought with him from Farland the concept of slaves buying their freedom. Having seen the boost to morale this gave slaves in Farland, he instituted this practice in Daven. Thus after a few generations, these slaves' ancestors had become freemen and most citizens of Daven were semi-free serfs. The main duty of the Driddaren was usually to keep the serfs under control. The leaders of these estates came to be known as Barons. A Baron typically had between 50 and 200 knights in his service. Elder Daven however, has boasted as many as 3000 knights in times of prosperity. Thus the hierarchy of Daven was first king, second Baron, third knight, and lastly serf. There was also a class of artisans including jewelers, blacksmiths, armorers, weaponsmiths, etc., who owed loose allegiance to a Baron, but enjoyed more freedom than the average Davenian. An established weaponsmith for example usually enjoyed more freedom and renown than did your average knight. Barons paid taxes twice a year to the king and were required to supply Elder Daven with fighting men in times of war. Otherwise, there were few laws that existed uniformly across all of Daven. Laws usually were specific to the way of life in each barony.
Historically Davenians have all been human and other races are little known in Daven. Goblins and Orcs have been a problem, however, as the forces of evil have pressed the kingdom. Since the dark occupation, there have been other evil beasts living within the borders. There are craftsmen of many types in Daven and their lives are that of backbreaking labor, though many peasant farmers envy them for their ability to earn coin. To become a craftsman, a boy or girl becomes an apprentice to an established craftsman for a fee usually paid yearly. In return for this fee, this boy or girl learns the trade of the craftsman. However, in reality he or she is little better than a slave. Most Davenians are semi-free serf peasant farmers. In the feudal society of Daven, a farmer is allowed to farm a plot of land and keep 50 percent of the crops to feed his family. The remaining 50 percent of his crops go to his lord to feed the peoples of the lord's city. In good years, a farmer may have enough from his 50 percent share to sell some of the harvest at market for a little coin. For the most part though, he is a subsistence farmer unable to escape his plight due to the heavy taxes imposed on him by his lord. A farmer is considered wealthy if he can save enough to buy a sow and boar and start raising pigs. This is really a farmer's only hope of escaping the cycle of subsistence living that an agriculturalist lives within. Beasts of burden are also desired to improve crop yields, but it is believed that it is foolhardy to purchase a horse or oxen before one has many pigs. It is said that if your horse dies you have nothing, but if your pig dies, you have a feast. A farmer does enjoy more leisure time than a craftsman does, and Davenians especially love to sit around a fire with a mug of beer and swap tales. Legends abound, usually telling of the glory and superiority of Davenians. To hear the storytellers, the people of ancient Daven were superhuman. Foreigners beware, for a Davenian with a mug or two of beer in him is a passionate fighter when defending his homeland's honor.
Daven, located South of Kelerak and West of Orland, used to be a powerful kingdom. Her people were fierce fighters and ardent sailors, with a navy second only to Farland herself. Now, however, she has fallen far from her former state. In fact, many have said that she is only liberated in name, as her citizens still cower in their homes and meekly fear the darkness. They can hardly be blamed for this, for the chaotic Lord of Gluttony basically let the undead he spawned prey on the hapless citizens of Daven. Since the Lords of the West slew Saithith in 8163 F.R., the plague of undead has worsened as the little control Saithith held over his spawn was removed. The kingdom is quickly becoming a wasteland as her people stream into Kale or are lost in the night. As if the terror of the night wasn't enough, orcs still terrorize Davenians to the northeast. Many in the east have even chosen surrender to the oppressive rule of the Lord of Envy rather than face the dangers of present day Daven alone. Others have escaped to the north and into Kelerak, though few have made it past the enemy armies there and into liberated lands. The Davenians to the west have fared the best as they have the free kingdom of Kale at their backs and an attempt to release the power of the Misty Head River has kept some of the walking dead at bay. Rumors of the legendary group The Slayers gives people hope, though many believe this group only exists in people's minds.
The average peasant in Daven eats soup daily. Soup doubles as both food and drink and is consumed both hot and cold. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, salt and perhaps some pork or fish bones are usually the staples. The soup pot is usually kept going almost constantly and whatever is available is added each day. Thus the flavor never changes too much and varies little between households. An offer to come have soup is often included in daily greetings. Soup is usually thickest and most flavorful in the morning as it usually simmers all night. After breakfast, water is added and the remaining meals are usually a watered down version of breakfast. Lunch and dinner servings of soup usually are accompanied by coarse dark bread if the family can afford bread. Beer has always been a staple of the diet in Daven. The lands of central Daven around the area of Great Daven Lake are very fertile and farmers reap a rich harvest most years of wheat, barley, and hops. Arden and Irrol are famous brewing centers. Pigs are the animals of choice for livestock owners and every peasant farmer aspires to own at least one pig. In fact it is said that a man who doesn't own a pig is little more than a pig himself. This isn't much of an insult though, since the people of Daven realize that pigs are one of the smartest animals. Richer Davenians will often keep pet pigs as well as pigs kept for food. While pork and especially pork sausage is prized throughout the lands, pork is more commonly found in the north, as fish is common and prized in the south. Carp and herring are favorites. One of the traditional dishes found at any feast in southern Daven is herring salad. The basic ingredients of herring salad are available greens, pickled cucumbers and beets, and cooked herring all chopped up and tossed together and served cold. From pickling fish in Elder Daven for shipment north to the famous pickled cabbage from Necrovia (i.e. sauerkraut), pickling is commonly used to preserve foods throughout the kingdom. Pickled cucumbers are also prized throughout the land, and it is these that were first pickled and gave the process its name. The Zeel Flats have rich salt deposits used for this purpose and are also shipped north and for use in cooking as well as salting pork. Aside from the liberal use of salt, spices are used sparingly in Davenian cooking, as they are rare and expensive.
One of the most notable guilds and one that gives Daven great fame is its Seaman's Guild. Daven's navy once rivaled the royal navy of Farland, though hard times have fallen on the kingdom of late. Similarly Daven's' Shipbuilder's Guild in years past was responsible for some of the finest ships that sailed the seas of Farland.
A small thieves' guild operates out of Elder Daven, though they are really more of an extension of the island pirate colony to the south rather than an independent group. Obviously, under the penalty of death, the members of this group remain secret, although since liberation there have been some brash raids on some of the richer districts in Elder Daven.
Victoria and Necrovia boast offices of the Logger's Guild. The job of the lumberjack has been much sought after in Daven as wood is required for the ships and houses in Elder Daven and lumber can be had only far to east and west. Thus the logger's guild has always done well, and they enjoy a lot of political power in Victoria and Necrovia.
Another unique group that exists in Elder Daven is the guild of scholars. Daven has long been famous for having one of the few universities in Farland. The guild was founded in 7023 F.R. The university was founded a year later after first contact between the mage Seldorius the Wise of the wizard's isle to the south of Daven and founder of the University of Daven, Ewald Von Meinhart of Elder Daven. Seldorius needed resources available on the mainland and during this time of war and uncertainty, Ewald and his friends felt unable to help their king in fighting the enemy and therefore felt useless. They had always been men of brain rather than brawn. At Seldorius' suggestion, they approached the king and were granted permission to start a library and classes in the history of war. In return Seldorius required resources available in Daven to be delivered to him. Seldorius in turn would teach Ewald and his friends the methods of scribing histories and researching past histories. Seldorius also taught Ewald and his friends some rudimentary knowledge about magic. As the years passed, degrees began to be offered by the University of Daven in History of Warfare, Ancient History, History of Religion, and History of Magic. Due to this last course, knowledge of magic in Daven is much more advanced than in many of the other kingdoms. While the use of magic is still rare, magic is venerated rather than feared. Those who do have some ability in the arts guard it jealously, reveling in the fame it brings them.
In the last year, there have been rumors of a new group operating without the king's decree. They call themselves the Guild of Slayers. Little is known about them and it is said that they operate only at night, but at least one vampire troubling farmers east of Necrovia has ceased its attacks. Some people say that the gods have sent another group from the West to fight the living dead that plague them. Others say that the Lords of the West have returned. But most people in Daven still cower in their houses come nightfall and take little heed of children's stories.
There are many clues that an ancient kingdom existed to the south. Though no ruined towns are known of, the most obvious clue is the existence of odd monoliths delineating the course of the Road of Souls between Elder Daven and the Misty Head River. These monoliths are extremely large and appear at exact intervals of one mile. The very size of these stones makes it impossible that ancient men erected these without the help of very complex machinery of a type unknown in modern day Daven. It is a common peasant belief that long ago dragons were quite common in southern Daven and they placed the monoliths there. A popular fable tells that in ancient times men and dragons lived in harmony. The famous king Franz of the ancient kingdom of Davelon once took a long journey from his mountain homeland to the sea. In those days men took many wives, and King Franz, being a great king, had 200 wives. Along the way, the vile tongue of his court wizard, Adolf, led King Franz to believe that each of his wives in turn had committed adultery. As King Franz was a very large man and loved to eat and feast and spend time with his wives, more than to exercise, his party made slow progress covering only one mile per day. Each night, Adolf spoke poison into King Franz's ear and each midnight in a murderous rage, he killed one of his wives. She was left there to die and for her body to rot, 'til only her soul remained. It is from this tale that the road acquired its name. Dragons in the area witnessed these atrocities, and having loved the wives of King Franz as wonderful and virtuous women, the dragons raised cairns of pure stone in each of their resting places. Having seen the horrors men could commit, dragons withdrew from the lands of men ever after and the friendship between dragons and men thus died. Some also say that the monoliths contain the corpses of dead dragons and it is dragon souls that gave the road its name. Another theory has recently been offered when historians from the University of Daven discovered evidence that long ago Daven was inhabited by a powerful Druidic society. Indeed, the ancient Farlandish scholars used to call the lands of present-day Daven Druidia. The theory goes--and it seems a more likely one--that the Druid inhabitants used powerful magic to place the monoliths along the Road of Souls. These were used to ward travelers along the road. These historians have suggested that while not proven, many of the monoliths may still contain this powerful magic, though none have discovered how this powerful warding is activated. Unfortunately, the university is no longer safe in these days of peril, and all eminent historians have vanished in the last year. Daven I, a general of Farland, founded the present-day kingdom of Daven in the year 5915 (F.R.). Daven I was of Lorindish ancestry, an ancient kingdom in the area of present day Dessingrove in Kelerak. However after the fall of Lorindon, Daven's ancestors reverted to barbaracy and Daven I owes his education to the Farland military where he spent many years. His rule lasted only 16 years, as in 5931 goblins from Goblin Bay attacked what would become Elder Daven and slew Daven I. His eldest son Dortmund succeeded him.
Daven has a long history of warfare. Only 35 years after the kingdom was founded, Orland started a civil war and in 5952, Daven was drawn into the conflict on the side of Lord Iain revolting against King Tomas II of Orland. Lord Iain eventually seceded from Orland with Daven's help and founded the kingdom of Cairn Kelsh. Many centuries later Orland convinced a force from Cairn Kelsh to invade Daven and the town of Kestrel was taken. Some years later the town was retaken and renamed Victoria. Then in 6485, Daven and Kelerak formed an alliance and invaded Cairn Kelsh. Orland aided Cairn Kelsh and the Plains War began. Five years later, Orland refused to help Cairn Kelsh and Daven annexed the lands of Cairn Kelsh. Five years after its capture, this land was sold back to Orland at an outrageously cheap price. After about one hundred years of relative peace, the citizens of Daven were once again called to arms as Kale and Daven entered into a minor war over a border dispute. This ended in 6635 with Daven expanding its territory west into Kale. Peace was again known in the south until in 6850, raids from an island pirate colony to the south became too troublesome to ignore. To combat this threat, a corsair, Robert the Blue, was commissioned and successfully destroyed the pirate colony. However, Robert the Blue then turned traitor and became a pirate himself, taking up raids from the Selfhaven Archipelago. In the year 6888, Farland responded to Daven's request for help and destroyed Robert the blue's fleet in a pitched naval battle. Then in 6900, Daven again became involved in a continental war as Kale and Daven attacked Orland, beginning the Decadion War. Three years after the start of this devastating war, the Orlandish assassin Roche assassinated the king of Daven. Daven was invaded by the combined might of Orland, Zeland, and Farland in 6981, and fell in 6983. Daven was annexed as Western Orland. Then in 7010, Abelard Von Basil, of the royal family of Daven, led a successful revolt and the kingdom was reestablished. Twenty years later Daven joined forces with Kelerak and invaded Orland unsuccessfully at the Battle of Greenhill. Then in 7045, an unheard of turn of events came to pass. The Elves of the Summervale decided to interfere with the humans' war using the powerful artifact, The Stone of Silence. The war was ended using this artifact and both sides made peace. Eight years later, Farland militarily coerced Daven to pay yearly tribute. In the years thereafter, Daven enjoyed many centuries of peace. Unfortunately, this long period of peace led the kings of Daven to divert money away from the military and the once mighty navy and fighting men of Daven dwindled and became less able. Thus Daven was caught unawares and unready when the scourge of evil reared its head in the east. In 7744, the king of Daven, Dakor V was mysteriously slain by an evil creature of the night. Orc sightings became frequent. The leaders of Daven were thrown into turmoil, as war had been unknown in Daven for so long. While bureaucrats argued in Daven as to the best course of action, the forces of evil attacked simultaneously with a fleet of ships and a frightening army led by the Lord of Gluttony. Aminas the Shadow Walker, of the Elhil, came to Daven's aid and mounted an attack on the forces of evil, taking the mighty Elven artifact the Stone of Silence with him to use in the attack. This was against the original warning of Galadhel, (the Elven smith who created the Stone) only to use the Stone in defense. The artifact disappeared and Aminas was slain outside Elder Daven. Elder Daven fell, and the forces of Zeel hurrying to reinforce Elder Daven were struck down by an evil plague. Thus the occupation under Saithith, the Lord of Gluttony, began.
In 8163 F.R., the Lords of the West entered Daven and were able to defeat Saithith as well as many of his henchmen, thus freeing the people of Daven. Unfortunately, not all of the vampire spawn were dispatched and today roving undead overrun the kingdom of Daven. Those of the populace that have chosen to remain cower in fear once night falls within tightly boarded up houses. Many have chosen to flee the cursed walking dead and Kale has its hands full with refugees emigrating from Daven.
To become one of the Driddaren, one must own at least one horse and command at least ten men.
A member of the Driddaren in direct service to the king may forego the requirement of commanding ten men.
A Baron may set his own laws and his subjects must follow those to the letter of the law. However these laws shall not be contradictory to the king's edicts.
A Baron must furthermore pay the king the required tax twice a year.
A Baron must furnish a militia and respond immediately to the king's appeal for troops in times of war or peril.
A slave may purchase his freedom at the price of 60 sp for any man and 30 sp for any woman. The price for a child under the age of twelve shall be half that of an adult.
Piracy is punishable by death.
The citizens of Daven had the misfortune to have been conquered and ruled during the Dark Years by a ruthless vampire, Saithith the Lord of Gluttony. While Saithith brought along an army of orcs and other fell creatures from the enemy lands to attack Daven, he always had an affinity for undead warriors. During his rule of Daven, a patrol of orcs or humans under his control usually had an undead commander. Vampires and vampire spawn became all too common in Daven during the dark occupation. New laws were added during Saithith's rule to limit humans' power against this growing force of vampires. All religious temples worshiping any gods other than Vornoth were declared illegal. Holy symbols (except that of Vornoth or the Dweller) and especially Heshtail's, were illegal. Garlic was declared illegal, as was holy water. Throughout the land waterways were dammed and altered so that patrols could easily move about Daven without having to cross any running water. It was mandated that whenever anyone opened his or her door to anyone displaying the Lord of Gluttony's insignia, he or she must be invited in at once. Finally, any official or legal inquires into the whereabouts of an individual was forbidden, and even asking where someone was was socially discouraged. Anyone caught disobeying these mandates was brought to the castle in Elder Daven under cover of night to face justice at a midnight hearing. Never were these unfortunates seen again in the light of day. Saithith kept the system of Baronies intact during his rule and awarded control of these baronies to his most trusted vampire generals. A tax of 1sp each three months was levied on every family. If the tax collector was not paid, the head of the family would be brought to a midnight hearing. If the family was unable to afford the 1sp, it was permitted instead to send a family member with the tax collector to serve the Baron. Many of those who were sent into service vanished mysteriously, while others became little more than slaves diverting and damming waterways and doing other menial and backbreaking labors. Perhaps most dangerous to the average citizen of Daven, though, were the mindless vampire spawn that roamed the countryside feeding on human flesh. Peasant farmers no longer had the protection of their lords against this terror as their new lords were creating the fearsome problem. Thus it was common for families to crowd cowering into their houses after dark whispering prayers under their breath all the long night.
Major towns and cities in Daven are often capitals of Baronies. Many towns have foreign names due to Daven's having been affected by nomenclature from its natives, Kale, Kelerak, Farland, ancient Lorindon, and the cultures and languages from the islands to the south. The main centers are Gryphon, New Daven, Arden, Irrol, Zeel City, Victoria, and the capitol of the kingdom Elder Daven. Elder Daven is the largest city in Daven and once boasted more than 30,000 inhabitants, though now it has shrunk to less than a third of its former size, boasting barely 8,000. This number dwindles daily as refugees flee the terror of the walking dead of Daven. Smaller and less important cities and towns are Crossways, Endless Well, Necrovia, and Baronsdoom.
The total area of the wasted land that used to make up the Kingdom of Daven is 40,000 square miles.
The total current population is approximately 100,000 persons because of the harsh realities of the dark occupation. This population is much less than the approximately 1,000,000 inhabitants the Kingdom can and did support in its heyday. Roughly 90% of the current population is human. The remainder are dark folk, like orcs and goblins, or, more ominously, creatures of the night. The living population is dwindling fast.
- 11,100 residents are isolated or itinerant; many of these are dark folk.
- 69,000 residents live in 170 villages.
- 11,900 residents live in 4 towns (Zeel City, New Daven, Victoria, and Gryphon).
- 8,000 residents live in 1 city (Elder Daven).
- Daven currently supports 220,000 head of livestock:
- 149,600 fowl (e.g. chickens, geese, ducks).
- 70,400 dairy and meat animals (e.g. cows, goats, pigs, sheep).
**partially adapted from: http://www.hyw.com/Books/History/Invading.htm and http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-BY-REGION/fd-Germany-msg.html