"The main mast creaked, the rudder groaned,
against the railing I was thrown.
The ship was tossed about the sea,
saving us all was up to me"
-from a Popular Harbor Alehouse Song
|Proper Name||The Imperial Protectorate of Mercia|
|Ruler||His Most Noble Majesty, Master of the Sapphire Main, Scourge of Piracy on the High Seas, Anchor of Storms, Rudder of the Nation, King Alfred II, the Wise, Commander of the High Seas|
|Population Density||17 people per square kilometer
(43 people per square mile)
|Demographics||Human 65%, Grum 14%, Saurian 9%, Ogre 6%, Elven 3%, Orc 2%, Baenite 1%|
|Languages||Southern 50%, Rukemian 50%|
|Capital City||Freeport (Population: 47,200)|
|National Colors||Blue and grey.|
|Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods||Lumber (especially Mercian Red Oak), wide variety of boats and ships, corn, rice, fish and other seafood, oranges, bananas, apricots, bloodroot, podmoss, sunfish|
|Government Type||Constitutional Monarchy|
|Allies||Rukemia, Ormek, War Vale|
|Technology Level||Dark Ages|
|Other Religion||Daramis, Lyris, Sarreth, Strath|
|Total Land Area||351,500 square kilometers
(135,700 square miles)
Mercia is primarily a seafaring nation and one of the oldest countries in existence. It is culturally and financially dependent on the sea. Its capital, Freeport, has grown up around its large harbor. The city has several buildings on islands and bridges connecting these islands to the main land, giving the city a spider web look on one side. Freeport is a major trade center and port. Many hundreds of small fishing vessels that sail the Sapphire Main call Freeport home.
Mercia is a peninsula with rough hills in the west, heavy forest in the north and center and fertile plains in the east and south. Most communities in Mercia are on the coast where they can fish and sail. Mercia has hot summers and moderate, rainy winters. It is known for plentiful orange trees.
Mercia has wetlands to the west wherein may be found both ebrin and red asps. Erriku groups are commonly sighted on the southern coasts while sunfish and black razor fins are plucked from the rivers. The harbors are home to seals and the occasional whale. Out to sea the huge fine of a megalodon is spotted on rare occasions. Mercian ports, especially Freeport, inspect incoming cargoes carefully as blood roach infestations are greatly feared. So far, Mercia has done a good job keeping the blood roach out, despite the fact that Ormek, its neighbor, is heavily infested. Mercia harvests a great deal of lumber from the land, but has few useful herbs besides the occasional patch of blood root. Several deathgrip trees grow in the western wetlands of Mercia.
Mercia has remained relatively unchanged by history and untouched by the ravages of war. It is a peaceful nation that coalesced from many fishing villages that survived the Great War. Mercia's first king, Frederick Mercan I, was named from the nobles in the summer of 184. The stability of this country is evident in the fact that it has been ruled by a single line through out its entire history. Mercia began as a very small kingdom (which probably helped it survive the Great War). During the Age of Sorrow it slowly expanded and strengthened its naval forces. In the year of 1352 during the Age of Rebirth, Mercia officially united with the Rukemian Empire and became a subordinate kingdom. This was a controversial decision at the time, but the current King, Alexander Mercan IV, saw the economic and military benefits of allying with such a powerful nation. Mercia was having financial difficulties and was losing the war against pirates. Several nobles were eyeing the throne and Alexander felt that a political coup was not far off. His decision saved Mercia and with Imperial help, piracy was brought under control. The nobles backed down and Alexander held on to the throne. Since then, the Empire has extracted a heavy toll with Imperial taxes and certain modifications to Mercian law.
Mercia's government is a standard monarchy. However, it is a subordinate kingdom to the Empire. Mercia walks a fine line between being an ally with Rukemia and little more than a province. The Empire taxes Mercia and demands the application of certain Imperial laws. King Alfred II is an experienced sea captain and a valiant man-at-arms. His shrewd politics and cunning have recently helped his small kingdom develop a stronger economic foundation and a superior naval force. This has gained it much Imperial favor. Mercia now builds all Imperial ships.
There exists a definite "class" system in Mercia. The vast majority of the citizens of Mercia are simple farmers, fishermen and woodsmen who are quite poor and taxed heavily. The royalty and nobility of Mercia own all the land and rent it to the laborers. Most of the wealthy familiers live along the coast and many own their own private islands. The commoners work the docks and live in the city.
Despite its divided class system and ueven distribution of wealth, Mercia has a very fair legal system. Compared to many other kingdoms, Mercian laws are lenient and punishments are soft. To supplement the high taxes, most criminal punishment takes the form of large fines. In Mercia, a criminal faces a royal judge who listens to evidence and witnesses and then passes judgement. In addition to fines, seizure of property and indentured service to the crown are common sentences. Only the worst crimes: treachery to the crown, breaking an Imperial law, murder of a nobleman, etc. warrant real punishement.
Mercia has a strong fleet of nine royal warships that patrol the Mercian coastal waters. These huge war vessels protect all ships in the water from pirates. This fleet is led by the flagship Pride of Mercia. Freeport itself has a group of twenty Port Defenders which constantly patrol the harbor. Port Defenders are small, fast heavily armed row boats with a crew of 8 rowers and 4 archers. Within Freeport, a small force of 2,500 city guards exists. These guards patrol the city and also serve as the city militia when needed.
Fishing and other sea related crafts are the backbone of Mercia's economy. Over three fourths of the food in this nation is plucked from coastal waters. Some larger Mercian vessels conduct whaling. Huge ship yards which build and repair a variety of large sailing vessels comprise a major industry in Mercia and employ thousands of people. Mercia builds ships on contract for Rukemia, Ormek, Kitar and the Drakkellian Alliance. Wood carving, farming, whale products and lumber supplements the economy.
Ships from all over the world stop here. Mercia is considered politically neutral with regard to naval conflicts. The authorities strictly enforce this. No conflicts between ships are allowed to be brought into the harbor. All ships and mariners are considered brothers when in Freeport.
Almost everyone derives their livelihood from the sea. Much of the wealth in Mercia ends up in the coffers of the nobility, who waste much of it on fashionable clothes, jewelry, art from Vogue and fine tobacco from the grumman lands.
A common Mercian way of saying Hello or Goodbye is "Fair Winds!". A common Mercian curse is "Woe betide you." Another common saying is "Tight Lines!" referring to ship riggings and fishing lines.
It is tradition that fishermen and sailors of Mercia wear a gold ear ring in their left ear. This gold ring is to be used to pay for funeral expenses should they die at sea and their body be washed up on shore.
The manatee or "sea cow" is a large, peaceful aquatic herbivore which is very common in the warm waters of the southern coast. These beasts have been adopted as the unofficial mascot of Mercia. It is considered very bad luck to kill one.
Mercia has a fair number of mages including a group of specialty wizards called "sea mages". These wizards specialize in magic associated with the sea. They can predict weather, calm rough seas, summon wind, lure schools of fish and banish clouds for stellar navigation. Sea mages find a great deal of work in the busy port city of Freeport. Beyond this, there are naturalist wizards, a few hedge wizards and some traditional mages in the larger towns and cities.
|Daven's Port||24,800||Davens Port is a scholarly community with a population of herbalists, alchemists, sages, scholars, mages. Davens Port has a very good wizards guild along with an excellent museum, library and a small school of which the townsfolk are quite proud.|
|Fishbaugh||17,200||Fishbaugh is a fishing community named for the unique method of capturing fish which the local fishermen have developed called baughing. Baughing involves harvesting fish caught in the underwater webs of a local variety of marine spider. Several variations of baughing have developed. One involves dragging the waters with special nets woven from the silken threads of the water spider. These nets are virtually invisible in the water and have proven quite effective at capturing large groups of fish. Fishbaugh is a quiet community ruled by a benevolent paladin lord who left Ormek long ago when he could no longer endure the corruption he found there.|
|Willow Bay||16,300||Willow Bay is a small peaceful community built upon a small bay and named for the many dozen weeping willow trees which grow here. With incredibly blue water framed by distant mountains, Willow Bay is considered one of the most picturesque places in all of Mercia.|
|Thykara||15,400||According to legend, Thykara is named after a beautiful princess that took her own life when an ancient god cursed her for some minor transgression. There are several variations of the legend which often conflict as to the nature of the curse or even what deity was involved. It is doubtful that there is any truth to the story, except perhaps that there was once a woman named Thykara. Thykara is the agricultural center of Mercia and has several hundred small farms about it.|
|Inserra||13,000||Inserra is primarily a logging town and harvests the plentiful local forests. The lumber is traded to the coastal villages for the production of boats. Most of the town's population is actually woodsmen who live near the city. In addition to logging, Inserra has a small iron mine and quarry.|
|Sandy Shore||11,300||Sandy Shore is a quiet town of farmers and fishermen. Besides a few excellent fishing spots, there is very little of interest in this sleepy little town.|
|Brian's Port||9,200||This is the best place to make contact with Mercia's underworld. A fence can be found for almost any illegal cargo. Although Freeport has a large chapter of the Mercian thieves' guild, the actual headquarters is here in Brian's Port.|
|Three Docks||6,600||Noted for its three large docks that stretch out into the harbor, this prosperous town sits heavily sheltered by high cliffs and tall trees inside the deep Saleng Bay. Mariners agree that Three Docks is the best place to wait out a storm if you happen to be nearby, off the southeast coast of Mercia.|
|Oakbridge||4,100||Oakbridge is named for the massive timber bridge that spans the mouth of the creek which flows through town. It boasts a very strong militia for a town its size, run by an ex-Rukemian military officer named Gorran. Gorran has a 17 year old daughter of whom he is very protective. He can often be found threatening sailors who try to talk to her. Gorran has a widely known vendetta against the ship captain Callister Drabbyn, though no one knows exactly why. Perhaps it has something to do with his daughter.|
Ballerus, Baywater, Fodin, Greenfield, Helm, Henebry, Jaffer, Jan's Port, John's Landing, Kelguard, King's Town, Kothal, Leyland, Medura, Reedy Way, Rugan, Turtle Cove, Wake
This website was last updated July 28, 2014. Copyright 1990-2014 David M. Roomes.