Leadership: Beranok is ruled by a High Lord from its capital in Sky-Tower Hold, elected by a majority vote of the High Jarls, who are in turn elected by majority votes of the Jarls of their region, who are the landowning heads of large extended families of warriors, farmers, and hunters. Jarls act as legal authorities in their area, governing the taxation and law to the freeholders within their jurisdiction.
Beranok has suffered several leadership changes in the last three months. With the deposing of High Lord Kurdis, the ascension of the newly appointed High Jarl Avis to HIgh Lord in his stead, the deaths of the High Jarls of Lake Town and Two Rivers, the civil war between the north and the south, and the return of High Jarl Reinn the leadership is currently in flux.
Location: Located in the northern middle mountain ranges of the continent, the country of Beranok primarily occupies a large series of valleys in between the two maintain ranges that border the east and west of the country. It is segregated from its neighbors and lies relatively isolated, with only occasional traders and travelers making the long journey into its interior. Holds and freeholders cover the region, farming grains, tending orchards, shepherding sheep, pigs, goats, and cattle, and hunting the vast mountain ranges and forests. The grasslands in the southern reaches, below the great mountain ranges has also been settled more recently as the population has grown.
Terrain: Much of Beranok is hills and mountains, with small valleys hidden away between them, and with forest and rivers cutting paths like serpents through the land.
Foreign Relations: Beranok tends to be somewhat isolationist and is not very hospitable to outsiders. Foreign merchants are viewed with much suspicion and it often takes decades of residency for immigrants to began to be accepted. There is also some discrimination between northern and southern residents who encounter some competition and resentment between themselves. The north sees the south as soft, weak by association with outsiders and easy living, and believes they have turned their backs on their peoples traditions. The south views the north as stubborn, set in their backwards ways, and belives they are the future of the Beranok people.
Mal’tara: indifferent, (Paratus and Consortium friendly (trade partner))
She’Sua: indifferent (limited interaction)
Fleid: indifferent (hire mercenaries and trade), Lerwein and Reslin strained from recent wars
Raul’zil: indifferent (limited interaction)
Population: ~20,000, The system of governance of Beranok limits the knowledge of its leaders to the essential numbers of its population. Slaves, surfs, children, hirelings, travelers, merchants, freeholders and their families, and other less important groups being counted or not counted at the whims of their Jarls make determining the the population of Beranok difficult at best and a logistical nightmare at worst. Thanes know the general population of their Holds, the number of freeholders who owe them allegiance, and the number of warriors they can call up if needed.
Economy: The economy of Beranok is mostly a barter economy, farmers, hunters, and craftsmen exchanging their goods for its trade value or credit. Coins exist, mostly brought into the economy by foreign merchants or used by the High Thane to pay for national costs.
-Trade: Beranok provides high quality lumber, rough ore and minerals, stone, furs/hide/pelts, dried fruit and meat, grains, weapons and armor, well made metal and leather goods, and is one of the few places one can even attempt to purchase rune-crafted or shifter-made items. Much of these goods are floated down the rivers on barges, themselves made up of large flanks or small trees on their to market.
-Production: Beranok Smiths are the best in the land, many knowing the secrets of working the rare and valued ores of Mithril and Adamantine. With few exceptions these secrets are known only by a handful of Beranok Smiths and the Dwarves. Beranok craftsmen produce all the necessities to their way of life, and are known for the quality if roughness of their work.
Military: More than any other country in Keldren, Beranok is a country with a martial culture. Almost all men and many women receive training with Longbows, spears, and sword and shield. Each Jarl is responsible for the safety of his family, freeholders, and anyone else in their domain. They also are responsible for supplying a tithe of armed fighters (Thanes) to serve in their High Jarls forces. Most Jarls also have at least a handful of hunters or rangers as well that can be called upon at need. High Jarls maintain armies to keep safe their lands, guarding their towns, patrolling their roads, and scouting the wilderness around their borders. The High Lord maintains an army in the capital of Sky-Tower Hold, ready to answer the needs of the High Jarls or any other threat to the country. He may also call upon the High Jarls to bring large portions of their armies to meet large threats, such as the barbarian horde that was recently defeated.
Sky-Tower Hold :Capital of Baranok, ruled over by the current High Lord Kurdis Braatan, a large town nestled in the mountains surrounded by a high wall and built around a great black Keep. Sky-Tower Hold serves as a military bastion, protecting the interior of Beranok from invasion by its neighbors, Raul’Zil, Fleid, and Mal’tara. It also serves as the meeting place for the Countil of High Jarls, houses Churches for the gods: Gargerot, Revel, and Mi’an, and serves as a overseer of all the trade both into and out of the country.
Lake Valley Hold :Ruled by High Jarl Ludin, Lake Valley Hold is a small fortress surrounded by a prosperous fishing and trading town. It is located in the southern areas of Beranok, and borders Mal’tara and the Fleid Dukedom of Lerwin. This land has been fought over many times over the years, and it maintains many watchtowers and its Jarls maintain the largest armies in Beranok.
Two River’s Hold :Ruled by High Jarl Kaldin, the lands around Two Rivers Hold contain the best farming land in Beranok, and provides most of the gain and dairy goods for the country. It also offers port for the trading barges heading up and down the two rivers of Essrel (Western Tears) and Kressrel (Eastern Tears).
Black Mountain Hold :Ruled by High Jarl Thord StoneShield, the land of the Black Mountains contains great mineral wealth and ancient forrests. It is a harsh cold land, with little game and hard ground, but they are able to trade their ore, gems, precious metals, lumber, and other goods for food and other goods. They depend on their trade with Two River’s Hold, and their are strong bonds between the two areas.
Red Valley Hold :Ruled by High Jarl Reinn Braatan, son of the current High Lord Kurdis. Being the lone trading hub with the Shifter Clans and the Dwarvern Nation has made for a rather unique blend of customs, craft, culture, and attitude. Red Valley Hold is largely self sufficient, with rich farmland, access to lumber and rich mines, and many craftsmen. But the trade flowing through it has left the people of Red Valley Hold very wealthy.