Overview of Aldea

         The World of Aldea in Blue Rose is presented in a generic fashion, often from the point of view of the characters in the world. Here I offer a comparative view of the world and peoples of Aldea to Earth history.

Geography

         The Aldean region is a continental region roughly similar to Europe in size -- as illustrated in the map below. There are some rough parallels: Aldis is a temperate, fertile land similar to England or France. Kern is a colder land like northern Germany or Russia. Jarzon to the south appears most similar to Italy or Greece. Rezea's wide plains have no parallel in Europe. Also, it is depicted as less cold than Kern, so there is probably a warm ocean current coming from the south along the coast similar to Europe.


Map of Aldea with scale outline of Europe for comparison

         Note that the Kingdom of Aldis in the center is significantly larger than both England and France in landmass. It is similar to France in that it is a mainland nation with a coast. However, it has strong natural barriers separating it from its three neighbors: Rezea, Kern, and Jarzon. This makes it conceptually more like England or Switzerland in its isolation. The topographic map below (from the World of Aldea supplement) shows the geography in more detail. It links to a larger map image.


Topographic Map of Aldea

         Note that the Icebinder Mountains are enormous, more similar to the Himalayas than the European Alps. To the south, Aldis and Jarzon are divided by the dangerous, mystical Veran Marsh. Because of this, the countries are more isolated than Europe.

Population

         Civilization on Aldea is comprised of four branches of the human species, one offshoot humanoid species (Night People), and nine species of intelligent beasts (the Rhydan). Humans are by far the dominant species, but there are no clear estimates of the populations of the others.

Humans
Humans on Aldea are much the same as they are on Earth. They can interbreed with the Vata'an, Vata'sha, and Sea Folk -- so these four are technically subspecies though they have distinctive features.
Vata'an
These are rare births among humans of the magical bloodline, perhaps between 0.1% and 1% of the population since a birth within a community is seen as a blessing. Their ancestors, the Vatazin, were wiped out centuries ago, but the blood of the Vatazin still flows in some human families, resulting in occaisional births of the Vata'an. They have silvery white hair, arcane affinity, and exceptionally long lives.
Vata'sha
This is another recessive bloodline, a sorcerous corruption of the Vata'an created by the Sorcerer Kings. They are identical to the Vata'an except their skin is night-black and they can see even in absolute darkness (though they are correspondingly sensitive to light).
Sea Folk
A natural offshoot of humanity adapted to life in the water, who have empathy with sea creatures and can hold their breath for an average of 10 minutes. They appear androgynous, but can interbreed with humans (with half such children being Sea Folk).
Night People
A sorcerous offshoot of humanity created by the Sorcerer Kings. They have tusks in their lower jaws, sloped foreheads, and large statures (perhaps seven feet) along with greater strength. They cannot interbreed with humans.
Rhydan
These are intelligent beasts with arcane talents. Four are rare variants of mundane creatures: Rhy-cats, Rhy-horses, Rhy-wolves. The other five are species which are always Rhydan, including dolphins, whales, unicorns, griffons, and drakes.

History

         The Aldean region is post-apocalyptic rather than medieval and developing. There was a highly advanced civilization (The Old Kingdom) which spanned all of the region. The Old Kingdom had advanced technology including shadowgates which connected the disparate realm. It was ruled over by an oligarchy known as the Council of the Wise. However, this turned into an oppressive empire which then dissolved into a devastating civil war among the so-called Sorceror Kings. Eventually, a successful rebellion founded the four current nations: Rezea, Aldis, Jarzon, and Kern. They are all in the shadow of the Old Kingdom, however.

         There are two calendars for marking years (which are 360 days in Aldea). The first measures from the founding of the old Kingdom of the Red Rose (marked as RR). The second measures from the founding of the new Kingdom of the Blue Rose (marked as BR). The rough timeline would be:

RR BR Events
0   Founding of the Old Kingdom and the City of Aldis.
700   Delsha the Dark seizes power, forming the Empire of Thorns. The rhydan are suppressed and the vatazin wiped out.
800   Death of Delsha the Dark. Civil war follows which fragments the Empire of Thorns into the Sorcerer Kingdoms.
900-1150   The Shadow Wars. Various wars among the individual Sorcerer Kingdoms.
1150   Rhaz Tethes, the sorcerer-king of Veran-Tath, invokes a cataclysm to defend against rebelling darkfiends which creates the Veran Marsh. Other darkfiend rebellions follow.
1150-1170   The Great Rebellion. Aided by the rhydan and the Golden Hart they summoned, the Sorcerer Kings are defeated.
1210 0 Queen Seltha founds the present Kingdom of Aldis.
  67 King Valin suffers psychic backlash from destroying a shadowgate. Over the following two years, he is increasingly corrupted until he is deposed and replaced with King Rikin.
  71 King Rikin founds the Merchants Council in the government, in response to a general strike.
  210 Queen Hulja meets with the high priest Kalik Elt of Jarzon in Lysana's Crossing by the Jarzon border.
  310 Present.

The Nation of Aldis

         The nation of Aldis is one of four kingdoms formed by the breakup of the Old Kingdom. It was formed by an alliance of the rhydan and the humans of the region. It was organized as a limited monarchy where the ruler was one of the human races, but chosen by the Golden Hart -- a mystical force representative of the rhydan. Government is implemented by an appointed set of non-hereditary nobles, selected from the candidates based on a series of tests. The nobles are also of human races, but they must be approved by the test of the Blue Rose Scepter, given by the rhydan upon the nation's founding. The scepter senses the intent and demeanor of the person at the time of their test, though it can only do so once in their lifetime. Each candidate must pass the test before being appointed a noble.

         There are two advisory councils within the government. The Noble Council consists of 36 nobles, elected from the set of nobles. The Merchant Council (formed in 71 BR) consists of 36 elected representatives of the Merchant's Guild. Final decisions are decided by a set of four figures: the sovereign, the president of the Noble Council, the president of the Merchant Council, and a representative of the rhydan. The sovereign has two votes, while the others have one.

         So compared to real-world history, Aldis is perhaps closest to the traditional rule of China -- where candidates had to pass complex tests to be officials in the bureaucracy. It is a limited monarchy influenced, but not directly controlled by the rhydan and the Golden Hart.

         Because of this alliance and its central position, Aldis is the most powerful of the splinter nations. It is described as a naturally fertile country, which is relatively advanced via technology and magic (though still primitive compared to the Old Kingdom). It is certainly capable of sustaining greater population than medieval Europe. For comparison, here are some population estimates from Europe:

Country Area Population in the Year
1600 1800 1900 2000
France 547,000 km2 20 million (37/km2) 29 million (53/km2) 41 million (75/km2) 60 million (110/km2)
England 130,000 km2 4 million (31/km2) 8 million (62/km2) 30 million (230/km2) 50 million (385/km2)

         Aldis has a land area of around 650,000 square kilometers. The capital, the City of Aldis, has a population of 500,000 -- equivalent to London in 1700 or so. Based on a similar time period, I would guess it has a population of 30 million or so overall, mostly scattered across the many valleys.

 


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Wed Sep 13 13:50:32 2006