The Valen Hegemony
The city of Valen was once a part of a larger, forgotten, kingdom that spanned many hundreds of miles through the south western flatlands, the Caleon foothills to the Dawning sea. During a time of instability, the Duke of Valen, Maximillian the First, seized political control of the unaffected regions and instituted a mutually beneficial trade and protection agreement with his neighbours, becoming the de-facto leader of a small alliance. The alliance was successful in keeping order in the region under his benign leadership.
Over the hundreds of years since the collapse of its former parent state, Valen has reformed itself, formalising its agreements and annexing the client states it had acquired. The most prominent is the institution of a council of electors to determine the next Duke of Valen from the patrilineal line of Valen, rather than designation of an heir by the monarch or regent. The second most prominent was the emphasis and importance placed on the arts and its masters. Culturally, Valen has an almost religious devotation towards self improvement and mastery of crafts.
Rather than worship the gods, the Valenic have adopted a form of worship of a pantheon of paragons of the arts, not terribly dissimilar to the Dwarven Khareich's ancestor worship. Worship of gods is frowned upon as investment of energies in something not thought to actually exist or at best to be long dead. Worryingly to the theologians of the other faiths is the abilities displayed by the knightly orders of Valen, known as "Acquedors", who are able to draw on powers that can only be described as divine in origin. This, coupled with the insistence and denial of the gods, whilst simultaneously using divine power provokes more questions than it answers.
Rich in resources and effectively a theocracy with the importance of the guilds in every day life, Valen itself has undergone a transformation of a city of shephards and miners, to a city of artists, workshops and cathedrals. Adventurous, cavalier and hungry for political conquest its people are vibrant and devout.
Political System: Dukedom, Hereditary Ducal Elector Council
Leader: Duke Maximilian Serente Valenis XVI
National Colours: Red, White, Yellow
National Emblem: A Cockerel
Religion: Anti-theistic, Paragon Worship
Population: Halfling and Gnomish, some Elven and Human, minor Dwarven Presence.