Velitrium Part II
scouts had reported that there was a population of savages in the new
land. A strong force, some three hundred soldiers, were moved up to the
cliff top by magic. There they built a small fort above the work site.
From this base they hunted game to feed the clan and protected the work
parties that labored to build the road. At first the natives kept their
distance, watching and studying the Velitar. But as time passed and it
became obvious that the strangers weren't moving on and the hunting
parties took more and more game, the natives reacted.
A force of
seventy or eighty savages came out of the forest one morning and formed
a line. The Velitar leaders on site rode out with a hundred heavy
infantry and thirty or forty mounted troops to meet them. The savages
wore armor of layered leather reinforced with bone. They carried
shields of wicker and leather and were armed with bows, spears, slings,
clubs, stone maces and a few bronze war axes. The Velitar heavy
infantry, then as now, consisted of troops in knee length hauberks of
mail, concial helms, and large rectangular shields. They were armed
with broadswords, hand axes and crossbows. The Velitar infantry was
renowned for its crossbow tactics. Traditional tactics called for
placing troops in a defendable position and using skirmishers to goad
the enemy into attacking. The shields employed by the heavy infantry
were rectangular and a good three feet long and almost two wide. Inside
the shield was a hinged prop of wood or iron that allowed a soldier to
stand it up in front of him. The infantry would form two lines,
shoulder to shoulder with their shields standing in front of them. The
first rank would shoot a volley at the charging enemy then kneel down
behind the cover of the shields and reload while the second rank shot
it's volley. The lines fired by platoons, not all at once, this ensured
that there where always loaded troops ready to shoot. Normally there
would be a third rank of pike men behind the lines of crossbowmen. If
the enemy had cavalry the pike men would present their weapons and form
a barrier of steel that horses were reluctant to charge home against.
In this encounter with the savages, the enemy had no mounted troops on
the field. It would later be learned that the savages had no mounted
troops at all.
As the Velitar
formed their double ranks the natives began to chant and sing.
Individuals came forward and began to sing solos in counterpoint to the
group. The Velitar were at first puzzled, then amused. The troops began
to guaff and finally laugh outright. One of the individuals, a young
warrior by appearances, grew enraged at the laughter and charged the
Velitar. At this the mass of the natives cheered but made no attempt to
advance. The Velitar officer didn't hesitate. The order was given and
the bolts began to fly. The crossbows greatly out ranged the short bows
used by the natives, who were well within easy shot of the Velitar
infantry. These men were experienced soldiers, veterans of a dozen
bloody battles, their disciplined volleys had mowed down thousands of
heavily armored opponents and they made short work of the eighty or so
natives in front of them.
No sooner had
the last bodies hit the ground and the troops were reloading, then a
second force of savages, numbering perhaps a hundred, charged screaming
from the woods. The Velitar cavalry, which had been drawn up in
reserve, charged the savages with lance and sword. The attacking
natives slid to a halt at the sight of the mounted men, paused to
stare, then turned and fled. The natives had never seen mounted men
before and the shock of that alone was enough to route them. Most of
the natives made into the forest, but about thirty were skewered by the
horsemen. When the battle was over there were a hundred and sixteen
dead natives with only one Velitar casualty, a broken arm from a fall
from a horse.
Over the next
nine months there were repeated skirmishes between the natives and the
troops. The savages soon learned that in a face to face encounter on an
open field the strangers would shoot them to bits. Velitar horse
archers were particularly devastating. But in the deep woods, where
visibility was limited and movement restricted, where ambushes could be
laid and rapid retreat was easy, things were different. The natives
knew the ground and were masters of stealth and concealment. Using hit
and run tactics they tormented the Velitar, restricted their hunting
and harassed the work parties.
responded violently. Their wizards located native villages and working
with the troops attacked them from the air and the ground. The savages
had shamans and witch doctors, but they were outclassed by the
sophisticated and powerful magics of a people long used to warfare on a
massive scale. For every Velitar the natives killed, the clansmen
killed ten or more of them.
So it was that
when the clan finally reached the top of the cliff they had another war
on their hands. Some eighteen thousand Velitar and perhaps a thousand
Katalla finally climbed the road. The rest had died or left with
Menakem Kudrun. Though the native population out numbered the Velitar
at least three to one, they were divided into dozens of different bands
and tribes, many of whom had ancient feuds of their own. Unable to
present a united front against the invader the natives were driven back
foot by bloody foot. There were native victories, but they were far too
few to halt the Velitar, the end was inevitable.
The Claiming of the Land
Velitar finally reached the valley, their new King ordered the
temporary fort at the top of the road to be strengthened and enlarged
to defend the road. With the population still living in tents many
thought that a waste of resources, but Wingstan was very aware of the
vulnerability of the clan to attack from two directions. Not only could
the ever present nomads attack without warning, but there was always
the possibility that the army of Calbazar might come marching over the
horizon. Many believed that Calbazar had given up on them, but
Wingsten and the High Priest Calpernis knew better. The religious
artifacts that were in the clans possession were enough in themselves
to ensure an attack if the Empire ever learned of the clan's
settled into the task of claiming the valley. The area known as
Gemmatus, or more commonly, `South Gate' was the first land settled by
the clan. Drunmore was the first city and capital of Velitrium. Here
was built the first Temple to Mitra and the first monastery, the first
College of Learning, and the first library.
As the clan
pushed steadily north, contesting with the Jhensari for every yard,
more and more towns and villages were built. Eventually the present
capital, the city of Velitrium was constructed. The capital was moved
here because it was a more central location and it was able to take
advantage of the easier communications possible with Lake Aldin and the
rivers flowing into it. Gemmatus became a Duchy along with two other
areas, `Ferramentum' and `Argentatus' so named because of the gems,
iron and gold found in each area.
In the reign
of King Barren, in 149 the Jhensari were at last pushed out of the
valley and into the northern forest. To keep them out King Barren
ordered a great wall to be built across the narrow point of the valley.
The King also created an order of Knighthood, called the Knights of the
Wall, to defend the wall. The wall, called `Barren's Wall' still stands
today, and the Knights still guard it.
province or Duchy of Velitrium, extends from Lake Aldin north to
Barren's Wall. It is called the `Frontier' and is still the poorest and
least developed of the Duchies.
The next great
crisis for the Velitar came in 211, when for seven years, during a
period called `The Dark Years', death stalked the land in the guise of
a horrible and deadly plague. Thousands died, including the King, the
royal family and the last descendants of the Lords of the Velitar.
A crisis of
succession was upon the kingdom. Fear of civil war gripped the nobles.
Across the land nobles began arming themselves, gathering troops and
negotiating alliances. As the country girded itself for war other
nobles, along with Church leaders and representatives of the people,
met to find a peaceful solution. After weeks of negotiations a solution
was hit on. A council of Nobles, Dukes and Counts, elected a new King.
The man, Lublin Andorra, was an extremely popular individual, well
educated, a proven warrior and with some noble blood. Andorra was
elected king for life, upon his death the Council would elect a new
king. It only remained for the Church and the people to approve the
decision. The Church had been involved in setting up the process of the
election so the Arch Bishop was expecting the delegation. He blessed
the King-elect and went with the delegation to the Great Temple to
present the King to the crowd. There was much trepidation on the part
of the nobles. This was a novel solution to the problem of succession
and they were uncertain how the people would respond.
everyone's relief the crowd cheered and acclaimed the selection of
Andorra as King. Lublin Andorra was crowned the first elected King
three days later. There were a couple of little issues to be resolved
first. Traditionally, since the days of Vathak Wingsten, the King of
Velitrium was also head of the Ancient Order the Knights of the
Velitar' (some times called the Knights of Velitrium). Andorra wasn't
even a member of the order, much less in position to become it's
leader. A day of hectic negotiations followed and finally culminated
with Andorra being knighted and invested two days before the
coronation. During the coronation he was also elevated to the head of
the Knights of the Velitar.
Since that day
in 218 when Andorra was elected King, the procedure has remained
essentially the same. The Council elects a candidate, the Church
approves him and the crowd acclaims him. He is knighted, if he isn't
already, and is crowned three days later at the same time assuming
command of the Order of the Knights of the Velitar. The present King,
Urien Gore is the twenty sixth elected king of Velitrium. The only
times there has ever been a problem was in 507 when the then King
Garatu Rostov attempted to change the system to a hereditary dynasty.
He was known as `The Despot' and was officially deposed by the Council.
A new king was elected and a short but bloody fight followed. The new
king, Soche Agata, hence forth called `King Slayer' ruled until his
death in 529. The other difficulty occurred in 621 when Aslon Klamath
rigged the vote in Council and bribed the Arch Bishop to Bless him. The
crowds acclamation was half hearted at best and when word leaked out
that Klamath had bribed key members of the Council, civil war broke
dragged on for nine years, Klamath was killed in the third year and a
new king, Valdesta Wofford, was elected. It was another six years
before all the guilty nobles had been brought to justice and the new
king was officially crowned. During that period Wofford ruled as
The Great Rebellion
ruler, King Urien, has ruled since 740. With a reign of fifty nine
years he is the longest ruling of any monarch. Forty seven had been the
record prior to this. Urien's reign has been both long and
The Great Rebellion began in 765 and lasted till 768. Led by Duke
Mulgrave of Gemmatus, it was an attempt on his part to seize the throne
of Velitrium for himself. To that end he employed his own hauscarls,
local militia troops that he duped and drafted into service, mercenary
scum from the back alleys of every city and town in the valley, and
most importantly, forces from Khun Dagra. Human mercenaries from the
towns of Khun Dagra as well as hordes of Goblins, Hob-Goblins, Giants,
Trolls and armies of undead zombies.
Mulgrave was a
secret follower of the Dark Lore and particularly the powerful and
dreaded `Scarlet Cult'. Using his connections with the Cult he began,
in 745, a campaign of terror and intrigue that built up his own wealth
and power, while at the same time laying the seeds for the battle to
of weapons and supplies were placed in strategic areas. Bribes were
paid, nobles and officials were corrupted. Those that couldn't be
bought or controlled were assassinated. As the time grew close bands of
troops and Goblins were secreted across the countryside. Counterfeit
money flooded the cities and towns in an effort to destabilize the
In 765 the
battle began. Mulgrave's forces moved north across the Lendalfoot River
into Ferramentium. They seized the town of Leedale in the County of
Leed, as well as the villages of Soubridge and the town of Girvan in
the County of Girvan. Simultaneously a combined human and humanoid
force struck north out of the Palood into Argentatus and seized the
town of Lendale in the County of Lendale. From the Monar Mountains in
the east three columns of humans and humanoids out of Khun Dagra
marched on Argentatus. Two entered the County of Neuchatal, north of
the Mingulay River, while the third stayed south of the river in the
County of Lendale, seeking to unite with the force out of the Palood.
In the west a
huge horde of humanoids out of the Mondalaith Mountains headed for the
city of Glenluce and the Iron Hills and Dwarfdale. In the south
Mulgrave's troops besieged the Gates of Nygg.
Cult had succeeded in stirring up some of the Jhensari tribes and these
attacked the Wall. Though these attacks were unsuccessful they did tie
up reinforcements that the King badly needed elsewhere. Small bands of
Jhensari infiltrated the forests in the east of the Frontier and caused
much damage in hit and run massacres.
Hauscarls had, in the early morning hours of the first day, seized the
barracks of the Royal troops stationed in Drunmore and other towns of
Gemmatus. Denied these forces as well as reinforcements from the
Frontier, King Urien was in a bad way. Scraping together every man he
could find the King organized two scratch armies. The smaller one was
sent to Ferramentium to aid Duke Glendall's forces, the larger, under
the King, marched into Argentatus.
marching and counter marching followed. Village after village was
sacked by the invaders and refugees streamed into Velitrium. The walled
towns were besieged. Some would hold out for months but no relief was
in sight and they fell one after another.
bright spot came from the Iron Hills. Despite overwhelming numbers the
humanoids had been unable to break the defenses erected and guarded by
the Dwarves. That siege would last for well over a year. Next was
Glenluce. Over a period of sixteen months the enemy besieged and
assaulted it on three separate occasions. Not only did the city hold,
but on each occasion the forces inside the city, combined with the
Royal army in the countryside, broke the siege with heavy losses for
By the end of
the first year the west was contained. The Frontier was also stable and
the King was able to bring troops by ship across Lake Aldin. But the
center and the east were a different story. Mulgrave's army had
succeeded in uniting with the Palood force and now held several bridges
and fords across the Varsol. They occupied all of County Girvan, and
most of Leed and parts of Corruna. The Palood troops held all of County
Lendale and County Neuss. The Khun Dagra horde south of the Mingulay
controlled County Auratas and was in contact with the Palood troops.
They also held bridges over the Mingulay and were in contact with the
two armies occupying County Neuchatal.
As the enemies
settled down in their winter strongholds there began a six month
campaign of small unit commando style raids and attacks. This was when
the King's Avengers really paid for themselves. Midnight attacks,
firebombs, poisoned supplies and assassination were used by both sides.
All the while the King rebuilt his forces.
Velitar cavalry in action against Khun
In the spring
of 766 fighting began again with a fresh round of Jhensari raids in the
north. A column of goblins in Ferramentium attempted to thrust north
through the County of Minfolin to take the Frontier from the west and
give the Jhensari an opportunity. Somewhere in the Minfolin forest a
force of several hundred Elves, Avengers and Knights of the Wall,
ambushed the three or four thousand Goblins. The Royal force was aided
by the King's wizard, Mog-Sur and the carnage they wrought was
gratifying to behold. A couple hundred Goblins made it back to the
Mondalaith Mountains. They didn't bother returning to the main horde in
Ferramentium, they had lost their stomach for the war.
his troops in a successful attack on the town of Varsol. The enemy was
less than fifteen miles from Velitrium. Though no one realized it then,
the Rebellion had hit it's high water mark. Mulgrave was as close to
Velitrium as he was ever going to get.
months after the fall of Varsol the King played a protracted game of
hide and seek through out Argentatus. Mulgrave's personal force was
roughly equal to the Royal Army, but the humanoid hordes were almost
twice the size of the King's army. King Urien sought to trap Mulgrave
or a portion of the humanoid horde in some favorable position in order
to destroy it or at least maul it heavily. Mulgrave sought to pin the
King long enough to bring all of his forces to bear and annihilate the
Royal Army. It was during this period that the King and his Wizard
conceived the following plan.
that the only remaining source of reserves available was the garrisons
on Barren's Wall, the King sent most of his Avengers, divided into
three groups, deep into the Jhensari forests. By attacking village
after village they were able to draw hundreds of warriors north, away
from the Wall. Employing hit and run tactics and expending carefully
hoarded reserves of magic, the Avengers kept the Jhensari war bands
hunting them for weeks. Meanwhile the King stripped the Wall garrisons
down to skeletal strengths. He had the Knights and soldiers brought
across the lake in ships, barges and hastily built rafts. All together
the force consisted of two hundred and seven armored knights and eleven
hundred veteran heavy infantry.
secretly assembled this force the King at last allowed himself to be
trapped along Lake Aldin. Near the village of Tralee in the County of
Oesel the armies met. To Urien's left and at his back was the water, to
his right was an almost unscaleable rocky knoll which was held by a
mixed bag of Dwarves, elves and human archers. In front of the King was
Mulgrave's entire force. All of his hauscarls, mercenaries and goblins
together, over twenty two thousand strong. Against this the King's army
was around eight thousand, swollen by two regiments of green troops
from the Frontier.
his line on the hill and the lake, then had the center bulge outwards
like a bent bow. The best troops were massed on the ends, the green
recruits held the center.
leavened with veteran soldiers they would bear the brunt of the attack
and the King planned for them to give ground.
hours the enemy hordes threw wave after wave at the Royal Army. Though
the shock of the attacks drove the recruits back step by step they
failed to achieve any penetration. As the troops retreated before the
waves of howling goblins the defensive line grew shorter and actually
got deeper and stronger. More and more of the veterans were able to
come to grips with the enemy.
deciding that the Royal forces were sufficiently weakened, Mulgrave
committed the bulk of his reserves. These were his Hauscarls and the
best of the human mercenaries. Behind this assault force Mulgrave threw
all the remaining goblins, holding back only a couple squadrons of
light cavalry for the pursuit when the Velitar were routed.
This is what
the King had been waiting for. Once the armies were fully engaged he
signaled Duke Sommel, ruler of the Frontier. From a concealed position,
where they had waited all day, the reserves attacked. Mog-Sur had used
his wizardry to conceal the reserves and he kept up the camouflage
until the lead elements were less than a hundred yards from the rear of
Mulgrave's troops who were in position to see, were shocked at the
sight of four hundred and thirty five heavily armored knights mounted
on heavily armored war horses, charging stirrup to stirrup with lances
lowered. All two hundred and seven Knights of the Wall plus two hundred
and twenty eight Knights of the Velitar, fighting side by side in
formation for the first time in their collective histories. Behind them
were some fifteen hundred crossbow armed heavy infantry.
armored knight on his battle steed weighs in at well over a ton. The
war horse, specially bred and trained just for this purpose, can charge
at around twenty eight miles per hour. The cumulative effect of some
eight hundred tons of steel, moving at just under thirty miles an hour,
is utterly devastating.
tipped avalanche slammed into the packed ranks of men and goblins and
rolled over them like wind in wheat. Two thousand or more were
trampled, impaled or hacked down before the charge lost it's momentum.
The shock wave of the attack spread outwards causing confusion and
bringing the enemy attack to a halt. Mulgrave tried to recover.
Humanoids lapped around the Knights in an effort to cut them off and
isolate them. At this point the heavy infantry went to work.
few squadrons of cavalry in Mulgrave's reserve, the infantry formed two
ranks and began to give the goblins a painful lesson in the bloody
effects of disciplined platoon volleys. Like clockwork the crossbows
snapped and hummed and the enemy was mowed down in rows. Two charges by
Mulgrave's cavalry were shot to pieces before they got within two
hundred feet of the crossbowmen. For fifteen minutes they shot into the
roiling mass of confusion. Urien's troops went on the offensive for the
first time that day. Pushing back the fiercely resisting Hauscarls
until those troops could feel the breath of the Knights steeds on the
backs of their necks. The Knights were charging back and forth in small
groups throughout the center of the horde. Sometimes breaking through
to open ground only to wheel about and charge in again. A few had the
misfortune to break out at the wrong place and were cut down by the
crossbow volleys, but most had a wonderful time of it. The enemy was
helpless against these mountains of armor, they were unable to organize
an effective defense and they were completely demoralized by the
apparent invulnerability of the Knights.
between the crossbow hammer and the anvil of the King, with their guts
being torn apart by invulnerable opponents, the horde routed. The line
of heavy infantry was not long enough to block the enemy in completely,
so the fleeing goblins and men broke into two groups, one slipped out
between the infantry and the lake, the other between the infantry and
the hill. Once free of the death trap the routed troops spread out in a
wide fan. Only the Hauscarls and the best of the human mercenaries held
together and conducted a fighting withdrawal.
Mulgrave's command this force, some four thousand or so, withdrew along
the lake. This secured their one flank while their remaining cavalry
screened the other. About half of the Knights and most of the heavy
infantry pursued this force for hours, harassing them and trying to
keep them off balance until the King could get organized enough to
finish Mulgrave off. The pursuit was cut off by a sudden and extremely
violent summer storm that gave Mulgrave cover until darkness allowed
him to fully break contact with the Velitar.
The balance of
the Knights and most of the remaining heavy infantry, along with a
thousand or so of the King's fitter troops, fanned out in pursuit of
the humanoids. Until the storm brought a halt to it they rode down and
slaughtered hundreds of Goblins, Hob-Goblins and renegade humans. To
the Knights it was little more than a glorified fox hunt in which they
rode down scarecrows. Thirty years later those that rode in the pursuit
still refer to it as `The Great Hunt'. The Knights rode until their
horses were blown, and then after a rest they went on again. For their
part the enemy ran until they couldn't run any more. After that they
walked till they collapsed, then they crawled until they died. Such was
the terror that the Knights inspired.
was over. Though it would sputter on for many months and it would be
two years before Velitrium was completely scoured of humanoids,
Mulgrave's hopes were dashed. The Duke left eleven thousand casualties
on the field at Tralee, another eighteen hundred were killed or
captured during the `Hunt.' Mulgrave withdrew with about forty five
hundred men, and over the next two or three weeks managed to gather up
another four thousand or so from the scattered survivors. But there was
no question of capturing Velitrium, the `Dream' was finished. The Duke
led the survivors of Tralee back into Gemmatus.
Pursuit by the
Royal forces was slow in coming. Urien had shipped the Wall Knights and
garrison troops back across the lake within two days of the battle. He
was afraid to leave the Wall unguarded any longer. Mog-Sur had reported
that one of the three Avenger teams had been destroyed and that a
second was heavily beset. Further, the Royal Army was in tatters. The
Velitar's victory, though decisive, was costly.
Of the eighty
five hundred troops that had held the line at Tralee there were forty
three hundred casualties. Further there were thousands of humanoids
wandering the countryside through out County Oesel. Singly and in small
groups they spread across the land, attacking small villages, burning
farmsteads and terrorizing the countryside. A mounted force consisting
of a hundred Knights of the Velitar, two hundred light cavalry and some
two hundred mounted infantry harassed Mulgrave's rear guard until he
crossed back into Gemmatus.
Mulgrave began to organize an evacuation. He knew that he could not
hold South Gate against the Velitar, at least not indefinitely. His
only option was to get out. The nobles that had supported
gathered their families and loyal supporters, and began packing
everything they could carry, and burned, buried or hid everything else,
and then set about putting as much distance as possible between
themselves and vengeance.
At the start
of the Rebellion Mulgrave had bribed, deceived and bludgeoned several
regiments of Militia into his service. Recognizing the unreliability of
these troops he had left them in Gemmatus as part of the garrison
defending the Duchy. King Urien offered an amnesty to any militia that
deserted the Duke and they did so in droves
The siege of
Nygg was lifted and a force of two or three hundred goblins skulking
along the edge of the Palood near Alfan, was destroyed.
Neuchatal the northern most Goblin horde suffered a humiliating and
demoralizing defeat from a small band of farmers backed by a group of
Druids. The `attack' took place just before dawn and was conducted with
the aid of a dust storm and two herds of sheep, a herd of cattle and a
brush fire. Though the action inflicted few casualties amongst the
goblins the effect, combined with news of Mulgrave's defeat, caused
mass desertions from both Goblin armies. Despite this there were still
formidable enemy forces in the valley.
after crossing into Gemmatus with his defeated forces, Mulgrave again
entered Argentatus. The army that Mulgrave now led numbered over twenty
one thousand. But some twelve thousand of these were noncombatant
dependents. He had only seventy three hundred combat effective. The
refugees headed east into the Monar Mountains, their goal was Khun
Dagra, where they were guaranteed safe haven.
As he moved
east across Argentatus Mulgrave's force picked up hundreds of humanoid
stragglers which he used to screen his column from harassing Royal
cavalry. By coordinating efforts with the priests of the Scarlet Cult,
the Velitar's attention was distracted from the column by several
attacks by the other Goblin armies. Several small but bloody holding
actions were fought by Mulgrave's Hauscarls and the combined efforts
were such that the column of refugees ultimately reached safety in the
narrow passes of the Monar Mountains.
Mulgrave's evacuation large Goblin and humanoid forces still remained
in the valley. Over the next three or four months most of these
withdrew also, but many bands of Goblins, Hob-Goblins, Giants and
Trolls remained. It would be another year before these were destroyed
or driven out.
With the Great
Rebellion over and the invaders driven out, the Velitar set about
rebuilding. Three fourths of the valley had suffered the effects of the
war, tens of thousands had been killed or carried away to Khun Dagra as
slaves. Tens of thousands more were homeless and hungry. Argentatus and
Ferramentium had suffered heavy damage and much looting. Gemmatus,
though only lightly damaged, had been extensively looted by Mulgrave's
forces. But the damage to Velitrium went far deeper than these physical
Some thirty or
forty thousand of the Velitar had revealed themselves to be secret
practitioners of the Dark Lore. This from a total population of just
under two hundred thousand! Included in this group were hundreds of
Priests, Friars and Monks of Mitra. To a people that had long prided
itself on its piety and mysticism this was a shattering blow to the
collective psyche. Buildings could be repaired or rebuilt, even the
lost population, some forty thousand either killed, carried away or
fled, could be replaced. But pride of Faith and the Honor of the
Velitar were irretrievably damaged.
other damage as well, less obvious perhaps but still severe. There was
an enormous loss of trust and cohesion amongst the people. The citizens
of Gemmatus, even the honest Faithful, of which there were many, have
since been regarded with suspicion. The Church of Mitra lost much of
its prestige and respect as well. This was somewhat retrieved by the
Ecclesiastical Courts of Inquiry that thoroughly investigated each and
every Priest, Friar and Monk, along with the Sacarium Guards. Several
dozen secret followers of the Dark Lore were discovered and executed as
a result. Today, thirty years later, these effects are finally being
mitigated. It has taken two generations to ease the worst of these
problems, but according to some authorities a new and perhaps more
insidious effect of the Rebellion is only now bearing fruit.
According to Church and Secular law
no man or woman may be bought or sold as a slave. The only exception to
Captives of War.
By `Captives of War' the law does not mean raids for the purpose of
taking captives, but rather captives taken from a `legitimate and
recognized Enemy of the Velitar during the course of regularly
conducted military activities.'
Velitar arrived in the valley they had no slaves. The few captives that
they had brought into the desert had either died, been killed or went
with Menachem Kudrun's group after the Revolt. The Jhensari have long
been acknowledged as a, `legitimate and recognized Enemy of the Velitar
as a whole' but as a race they have proved resistant to enslavement.
Any Jhensari above the age of five taken as a prisoner invariably
suicides, escapes or attacks until killed while the very young quickly
sicken and die. As a result of this the Velitar had no appreciable
number of slaves at the start of the Rebellion. Following the Rebellion
humanoids were captured during the fighting, especially after the
Battle of Tralee. By the time the fighting wound to a close some twelve
thousand Goblins and Hob-Goblins were being held in prison camps. These
were used by the Crown as laborers to rebuild and repair much of the
Rebellion's damage. Eventually many were sold to Nobles, land owners
and wealthy merchants for a tidy profit. Others were handed over to the
various towns and cities and used to establish `Labor Chains' to work
on the nastier public projects. Several thousand were handed over to
the Dwarves of the Iron Hills to become slaves in the Dwarves' mines.
Most of these
slaves have long since died off, but the war between Velitrium and Khun
Dagra has never ended. As a result fresh captives are being constantly
added to the slave population. Included in these captives have been
many female and young humanoids, which were absent in the original
captive groups. This has allowed a breeding pool to be established and
has resulted in a permanent population of slaves in the valley. Today
there are probably fifteen to eighteen thousand humanoid slaves in the
valley. There is a small but thriving market for this population.
philosophers and religious leaders have decried this practice of
breeding slaves. They say that it goes beyond the spirit of the law if
not the letter of it. What bothers them even more is that not all the
slaves are humanoids. Many humans were taken prisoner during the
Rebellion and more have been taken since. Though the human slave
population is not as large as the humanoid population, four to six
thousand, it is growing. The antislavery people, a minority to be sure,
argue that by promoting slavery the Velitar walk in the Shadow of the
Dark. And it is only a small step from there into greater evil.
Further, they argue that by allowing the captives to live as slaves the
Velitar are fostering the Dark Lore rather than stamping it out as
with the support of the Crown, has decreed that a child born of a human
slave must be raised free. The slaves are of the Velitar and though the
parents are followers of the Dark Lore the child is innocent of this
stain. The law commands that the infant be taken from the mother and
raised as a free born Velitar in another County.