The Wheel of Time Atlas: Murandy & Illian

MURANDY

Murandy is one of the smallest nations of the modern era, a roughly circular nation squeezed between the larger powers of Andor, Illian and Altara. Like Altara, Murandy is a nation more in theory than fact, divided between bickering nobles who only unify in the face of external threats.

Illian & Murandy

A map of Murandy & Illian. Please click for a larger version.

History

The territory currently occupied by Murandy was originally claimed by Coremanda, one of the Ten Nations of the Covenant.  Coremanda was destroyed during the Trolloc Wars, with the nations of Aldeshar and Nerevan claiming the territory now held by the Murandy. During the War of the Second Dragon, Nerevan was conquered by the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan and later liberated by Artur Hawkwing, who also conquered Aldeshar in FY 963 to bring the entire continent under his rule.

When Hawkwing died in FY 994, his empire collapsed in the many-sided, confusing conflict known as the War of the Hundred Years. The nation of Andor arose to the north-east, but for generations the Queens of Andor were only able to hold small parts of the former province of the same name. Lugard, an important trading city on the main road from Caemlyn to Ebou Dar, became a much fought-over prize, changing hands with startling regularity. In FY 1047 Lady Katrine do Catalan a’Coralle amassed sufficient manpower to seize Lugard in battle and hold it against all comers. She crowned herself the first Queen of Murandy, but was assassinated only a year later. Her successors managed to hold the small nation together despite repeated attacks, eventually forming a confederation of local lords working together with the ruler in Lugard.

By the time the War of the Hundred Years ended, c. FY 1117, Murandy had secured its modern-day borders, which it has held to the modern day.

Murandy has not played a major role in continental affairs, being much consumed by political infighting. It has been, at different times, influenced by Andor to the north and Illian to the south. In 957 NE, the Children of the Light invaded the kingdom of Altara. Fearing that, if successful, Murandy would be next, the Murandian lords joined with the King of Illian in launching a punitive military expedition to drive the Children out of Altara. Despite a middling (at best) military performance, they succeeded and Altara was liberated.

In 978 NE Murandy sent approximately 4,000 troops to help defend Tar Valon at the Battle of the Shining Walls. Due to a lack of obvious military leadership and political intrigue, the army was commanded by a rotating council of nobles. It did not distinguish itself notably on the battlefield.

 

Geography

Murandy consists mainly of hill and river country, some of the hills large enough to be considered low mountains. Its borders are considered to be the River Cary to the south and east, the Splintered Hills in the north and the Cumbar Hills and the River Manetherendrelle to the west and south-west. Then nation is approximately 480 miles across at its widest point. Its major rivers include the Storn, the Reisendrelle and the Cary.

Murandy’s capital and largest city is Lugard, a trading town where, it is said, there are more inns and markets than private residences. The city is noted for its somewhat battered and rude appearance, with apparently little interest in civic pride. Apart from the Royal Palace, there are no real buildings of note in the capital city. The city’s walls are a crumbling ruin, with no-one willing to stump up the coin to repair them. Lugard has a reputation for licentiousness, rude behaviour and crime, with numerous gangs prowling the back alleys and rooftops in search of easy prey. If it wasn’t for the city’s convenient location between the cities of Illian, Ebou Dar, Jehannah and Caemlyn, it would likely be avoided altogether and left to crumble into ruin.

The known towns and city-states of Murandy include LugardInishlinn and Mindea. Villages include Hinderstap and Trustair near the Andoran border.

 

Government

Murandy is ruled by a hereditary ruler based in Lugard. The King or Queen of Murandy holds only nominal power; as in Altara, the ruler is merely the most powerful noble in the capital (and sometimes not even then), with other lords or ladies perhaps holding more power in other cities or out in the countryside. The current King of Murandy is Roedran Almaric do Arreloa a’Naloy, a somewhat cunning man who holds the ambition of uniting Murandy properly as a nation under his rule. The success of this remains to be seen.

 

Military & Population

Murandy’s divisiveness, and the determination of the nobility to keep power out of the throne’s hands, means it lacks any elite military formation as exists in other lands. Each noble instead maintains his own private guard, which vary wildly in quality and discipline. Whenever Murandy has had to muster an army for battle, such armies usually number under 10,000 in strength, often half that. This suggests that the population of Murandy may be just 1 million or less, making it the least-populous nation in the Westlands (bar only city-states like Mayene or Far Madding).

Murandy has sour relations with Andor to the north, due to a history of border skirmishes (skirmishes which Andor, with twenty times Murandy’s population and vastly more in military skill, has invariably won). Murandy has better relations with Illian to the south, with whom it has cooperated in successful foreign ventures (albeit more due to Illian’s forces than Murandy’s) on several occasions.

 

Economy

Murandy’s wealth comes from trade. Lugard, despite being widely regarded as a cesspool of human vice and inequity, is well-positioned for trade between Andor, Tar Valon and Cairhien to the north and Altara, Amadicia Ghealdan and Tarabon to the west and south-west, and Illian to the south. The nation has various natural resources, including mineral wealth under the Cumbar Hills to the west, which add to its relative prosperity despite its small size and population.

 

Culture

Murandians are usually friendly, charming and outgoing…as long as they think you have something they want. They make excellent merchants, well-known for their haggling skills and abilities at negotiation (although Domani merchants are usually known to outwit them). Their dress sense is a hodgepodge of styles, usually in opposition to whatever is in fashion at the time in Andor .

Illian Final

A map of the city of Illian. Please click for a larger version.

ILLIAN

The Kingdom of Illian is a relatively small but extremely powerful nation located on the Sea of Storms, at the mouth of the vast River Manetherendrelle. The city of Illian is one of the largest on the continent. The interior is made up of smaller towns and cities thriving on trade between other powers to the east and west. The nation has a strong sense of national pride, making it almost the inverse of Altara to the west or Murandy to the north.

Illian has a strong, long-running enmity with Tear to the east. The two nations have clashed many times for control of trade along the Plains of Maredo and also control of fishing rights on the Sea of Storms.

 

History

The nation of Eharon arose after the Breaking of the World, securing much of the territory currently held by Altara and Illian. Its capital was Londaren Cor and its major ports were Barashta in the west and Dorelle Caromon to the east. During the Trolloc Wars, Londaren Cor was razed to the ground and Barashta mostly destroyed (later being rebuilt as Ebou Dar). The Eharonian government retreated to Dorelle Caromon which, defended by vast marshes extending around the city (apart from a single causeway), resisted several attacks until the Shadowspawn were driven from the region in abject defeat. After the wars, Dorelle Caromon was renamed Illian and became the springboard for the reclamation of much of Eharon, which became a new kingdom named Shiota.

Shiota fell to the false Dragon Guaire Amalasan in the War of the Second Dragon and was then liberated by Artur Hawkwing. Illian became a great trade port and centre of mercantile trade in the Hawkwing Empire. It was also one of the ports responsible for the building of the vast fleet designed to attack Shara in FY 993. After Hawkwing’s death in FY 994, the continent descended into the anarchy known as the War of the Hundred Years.

Circa FY 1090, a powerful noblewoman named Lady Esmara Getare seized Illian in battle. From there she conquered all of Illian and the Plains of Maredo, including the city of Far Madding. If she’d stopped there, she may have survived and left behind a legacy of one of the most powerful nations in the Westlands. Instead, she overreached and launched an invasion of Andor which was defeated. Getare was captured by Queen Telaisien and spent ten years as her “guest” before her death (apparently by assassination).

Lord Nicoli Merseneos den Ballin stepped into the breach in Illian, declaring himself the first King of the nation shortly after Getare’s capture. He was supported by a populace tired of war, but faced opposition from other nobles, nine of whom were powerful enough to offer a real challenge. To placate them, Ballin suggested the founding of a body to advise him, known as the Council of Nine. To maintain the support of the commons, he also founded a body known as the Assemblage, where common people – although in practice more often merchants and ship-builders – could also be represented.

This tripartite system has been applauded for the system of “checks and balances” it places on the rulers, preventing anyone from becoming too powerful or tyrannical (it has often also been criticised for being slow and prone to political logjams). It has also been a notably petty system: when King Nicoli told the Council they could build a palace in the Square of Tammaz opposite his own but it had to be smaller, they built an exact replica of his residence only 2 feet smaller in every dimension.

Since this time, Illian has become a very powerful kingdom. It proved its military mettle during the Whitecloak War of 957 NE, when it helped Altara and Murandy defeat the Children of the Light and Amadicia. During the Aiel War in 976-78 NE it sent armies against the Aiel on several occasions, most notably at the Battle of the Shining Walls when it sent 26,000 troops to help defend Tar Valon (one of the largest troop contributions, behind only Shienar and Andor).

 

Geography

Illian measures approximately 630 miles from north to south and about 570 miles from east to west at its widest point, although it is considerably narrower in the north. Its borders are held to the the Doirlon Hills on the Plains of Maredo in the east (the so-called “East Wall” of Illian), the Damona Mountains to the north-west and the River Cary in the far north.

Illian is dominated by the mighty River Manetherendrelle, which bisects the nation from its north-western corner to where it flows into the sea. The Manetherendrelle and its primary tributary, the Arinelle, form the greatest river network on the continent (although the Erinin is the more impressive single river), forming an inland transport network extending all the way from Maradon in Saldaea, over 2,500 miles to the north. Other tributaries also provide river-bound links to Lugard in Murandy. Two other tributaries – the Shal and the Cary – are also notable rivers within Illian’s own borders, providing both transport and trade for the nation’s citizens and merchants.

The Manetherendrelle flows into the Sea of Storms via a vast, marshy drainage basin. The city of Illian itself is located on one of the few stretches of flat uplands in this area. The surrounding terrain is virtually uncrossable, meaning the city has no need for walls: even during the Trolloc Wars, the hordes of Shadowspawn could find no reliable method of crossing the marshes to attack Dorelle Caromon (as Illian was called at the time). As a result, Illian is one of the oldest cities on the continent, never being razed or destroyed as Barashta (now Ebou Dar) was. Much of the original Ogier construction in the city is still visible. The city is centred on the Square of Tammaz, with the King’s Palace and the Great Hall of the Council located at opposite ends. Both palaces are identical save the Great Hall, as previously mentioned, is 2 feet smaller in every dimension. Illian is a city of grand and small canals, bridges, raucous taverns and merchant houses, with a bustling port (one of the busiest on the continent), known as the “Perfumed Quarter” for its fragrance.

Located to the west of Illian are the Nemarellin Mountains, a relatively low range of mountains running along the coast of the peninsula on which Illian sites. When the kingdom was founded the border with Altara ran along the northern edge of the mountains, hence the range’s nickname as the “West Wall” of Illian. Since that time Illian has seized significant territory from Altara and pushed the border back hundreds of miles to the north-west. The mountain range helps protect Illian from the worst of the ceranos storms which form over the Sea of Storms to the south-west and tend to blow north and east across Kabal Deep and the mountains.

 

Government

Illian is ruled by a hereditary ruler known as the King or Queen. They wield significant power, particularly in foreign affairs and military matters, but are advised by the Council of Nine. The Council consists of the nine most powerful nobles in the country after the ruler and they act as a check on the their power. Both bodies also have to answer to the Assemblage, made up of merchants and other notable “common people” of the kingdom. The result is arguably the most democratic system of government in the Westlands, but also (even more arguably) the least efficient.

The current King of Illian is Mattin Stepaneos den Balgar, who has sat on the Royal Throne for over forty years. He led Illian to victory (despite being captured and ransomed) in the Whitecloak War and also commanded the Illianer army in person at the Battle of the Shining Walls. Despite his age, he is known for his shrewdness and skill at military command. King Mattin enjoys good relations with Tar Valon and the Aes Sedai, but somewhat colder relations with both Amadicia and Tear.

 

Military and Population

Illian’s army is a source of great national pride. Illian’s army is large, well-disciplined and formidably trained, with great military exercises regularly held on the Plains of Maredo in the east of the country. Great hill forts and castles can be found in the Doirlon Hills and on the borders with Murandy and Altara. Illian’s generals are of a reasonable calibre, including King Mattin himself, although none are considered Great Captains.

Part of Illian’s military success is down to its army’s open-mindedness. Foreigners are welcomed into the military, especially veterans from other kingdoms with knowledge of their ways of fighting. Illian’s army has a tradition of adapting to enemy tactics rather than constantly trying the same thing again and again. Particularly formidable is the military formation known as the Illianer Companions, an elite fighting force known for its bravery and steadfastness. The Companions have been credited with significant victories during the Whitecloak War (where their valour alone allowed the army to escape a trap set by the Children of the Light at Soremaine) and the Aiel War (where a Companion detachment defeated an Aiel force on the very slopes of Dragonmount itself).

Based on the military force Illian sent to the Shining Walls and assuming that was only half of the kingdom’s full military potential, Illian’s population may be roughly estimated at somewhere between 5 and 10 million. The city of Illian is said to be the rival of Caemlyn in physical size and population, putting the city’s population at roughly 300,000.

 

Economy

Illian enjoys mineral wealth from the Damona and Nemarellin ranges, but its lifeblood is trade by land, river and sea. Illianer river boats sail up the Manetherendrelle network all the way to Maradon in Saldaea, stopping at Whitebridge (in Andor), Lugard (in Murandy) and Remen (in Altara) along the way. Illianer ocean traders can be found as far afield as Bandar Eban in Arad Doman. Illian is the greatest naval power of the Westlands, although not as accomplished as the Sea Folk in naval technology.

 

Culture

Illianers come in many shapes and sizes, but most are fiercely proud of their nation and its achievements. They make fine soldiers, excellent merchants and canny politicians.

Illianer fashion consists of long coats with raised collars. Men are known for impressive beards, but leave their upper lip shaved. Women favour wide-brimmed hats held in place by scarves wound around the neck. Both men and women favour elaborate footware.

For reasons that are a subject for conjecture, Illian (and Dorelle Caromon before it) has had a strong historical link to the Horn of Valere, a powerful artefact said to be able to summon the armies of the dead to fight for the wielder. The Horn’s whereabouts have been unknown for thousands of years, so Illian occasionally calls Great Hunts for the Horn, where brave adventurers (or, more usually, bored noble youngsters) gather to take the oath to find the Horn and return it to Illian. Many great adventures have been launched in this fashion, collected together in impressive bardic cycles of heroism, adventure and, the less romantically-inclined may say, foolishness. The last Great Hunt was called 400 years ago, but it is rumoured that the King and Council of Illian are considering calling a new one in the near future.

 

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