Durance is one of the oldest of the modern states of Estermarch, and the most populous of them.
It is a semi-constitutional feudal monarchy, in which the royal family acts as the prime minister over a House of Lords that write most local legislation.
Durance is currently ruled over by King Jordan Worth, 47. The House of Worth has ruled Durance for more than three centuries, though most histories claim they have ruled it since its founding.
Durance was founded in roughly the year 1052 Z.R. by a political and military body from the Empire of Zayathine. Though the name of the original ruling house has been lost to history, it is known that the then-Duchy of Fallcrest in northern Zayathine had risen in rebellion against the Emperor and had been beaten badly. Rather than face execution and humiliating steps to reconciliation, the Duke took the shattered remnants of his military on ships and sailed east to Estermarch, settling in the area that would become Capital City, and proceeding to make use of the Empire’s far better knowledge of weaponry and tactics to conquer the fractured barbarous states in the immediate area.
The exiles quickly integrated with their new subjects, intermarrying and, within a century, adopting a form of the eastern language. Durance stood as a dominant power in the region despite a poor economy and largely agrarian society for more several hundred years, becoming a founding member and oftentime prime minister of the original Estermarch Confederacy.
However, inherent flaws in the original Confederacy would lead Durance to stop attending annual meetings of the council by 1750, and withdraw entirely by 1832, when war between Nordenfell and Durance made the prospect of continental partnership ludicrous.
This, however, also signaled the beginning of Durance’s 150-year decline. Durance was forced to sign a humiliating peace with Nordenfell in their original war, ceding ancient claims to the throne of Nordenfell (which, by this point, was no longer in existence, having given way to a sort of tribal republic) and paying enormous reparations to the state. By 1900, an isolationist attitude was prevailing, and Durance closed its borders entirely just in time to bear witness to the final dissolution of the original Confederacy.
This state of affairs would change in the 1970s, when a burgeoning Castamere that had been swallowing its neighbors for decades turned its eye finally to the east and Durance. Through the arrival of the deposed Castamerian Prince Aelric, Durance was able to secure an alliance with its former enemies in Nordenfell, and spearhead an assault that would see regime change in Castamere, turning the enemy state into an ally under King Aelric.
Durance proceeded to become a charter member of the young King’s New Confederacy, and was on the front lines of battle against the southern King of Ymirholme, Valmav Dravothrak. Following the war, Durance’s service was rewarded with spoils of land in what had once been freeholds of Mount Triton, nearly doubling the country’s size and changing its economic fortunes almost overnight.
However, before Durance had much chance to settle in to their new role, the Last War all but shattered their government, along with most of the Estermarch states. Invasion by forces from the Shadowfell and from the eastern continent of Welskorn were at first resisted, and then fully fled from as armies fell upon Durance like locusts, burning and killing everything that stood in their way. The nobility of Durance fared better than most nations in this assault, as Durance’s quick and defensive posture bought time to evacuate much of the population to sea and to neighboring Castamere. However, most of the nation’s infrastructure was left in ruins by the conclusion of the conflict.
Since 1984 and the beginning of the resettlement, Durance has rebuilt itself as a major regional power. The serf population, while still far and away the majority of the population, has begun to shrink as a percentage of the total for the first time in Durance’s history, making way for a new freeman merchant class. The lords of Durance sit now at Castamere’s right hand, recognized by all as a strong lieutenant in Estermarch.
Cities of Durance
Estates of Durance
Landmarks of Durance
Landmark text for Durance.