Church of Divine Patronage

Now the only church remaining within Whitehood, the Church of Divine Patronage is the last remnant of the human religion that was at one time dominant in the city.  There are still ample churches throughout Damir, but they would be found in Proudhill and Belvadore.  The Church of Divine Patronage is massive, and is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to 262 ACW, only a dozen years after Whitehood was established.

For a time, the church served as a dwelling for council members to meet and discuss state of affairs, back when Whitehood was governed by a human council.  It is the site where Bandrian married Laurette, where Lord Valimond was coroneted, and where Lady Elayne gave her vows to Chancellor Valan.  Although few go to the Church of Divine Patronage, it is an iconic symbol to old Whitehood and nobody has the gall to suggest tearing it down.

There was a time in Damir history that painted the Church of Divine Patronage in terrible light.  King Valimond II admonished the church because it criticized the borderline worship of the colossus made in his father’s image.  He banished the Archbishop of Belvadore, which angered the priests and priestesses of the church.  Afterwards, it is rumored that members of the Church of Divine Patronage got together and plotted revenge against the king.  But when the king died, they decided to take it out on his heir, King Viktor I.  Viktor was no saint.  He was a womanizer and a hedonist.  The church despised him and his rule.  Some argue that it was the church that was behind the assassinations of King Viktor and Queen Noelle. 

Although it’s never been proven that there was any link to the assassinations and the church, evidence does suggest that some of the women that Viktor had affairs and conceived offspring with came to the Church of Divine Patronage for protection.  They feared Viktor would kill them or their children.  The Church offered succor to them and would use funds to send them into hiding.  Whether or not the king’s death was related in any way to these women or their children remains unknown, but the church’s aid to them is not in question.

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Mt. Whitehood

The highest point in Damir (14,200 ft.), Mt. Whitehood was appropriately named by Lyndon himself.  The snow-capped head of the mountain is visible for well over fifty leagues; even the elves of Merrimont and the dwarves of Chance Rock can see it.  The mountain provides a high ground advantage for the city that would be built at the peak’s base.  In 440 ACW, the attacking dwarves of Duinmire were forced to take a wide angle of approach because of the steepness of the mountain.

The mountain has been mined thoroughly for its salt by the humans who settled under it, and then later, by immigrant goblins.  Some gold deposits have been found, but the mountain’s resources have been partly depleted after four hundred years of continual mining.  It was believed by critics for the unification of the human settlements (which became the kingdom of Damir) that the only reason Whitehood wanted to unite was because their resources were dwindling.  It is said Whitehood needed resources and the rest of Damir needed leadership.

There is a legend of the mountain which states that at Whitehood’s highest point is a cave, where a great mountain dragon slumbers.  The dragon was once believed to be the first ruler of the land, claiming Whitehood as its lair.  It would terrorize the indigenous cultures of primeval Damir, including the cyclopsians, but mysteriously ceased its devastating attacks just before Lyndon arrived in 106 ACW.  The legend was first told to the templars by the native humans, who Lyndon believed were trying to frighten him off from settling in Damir.  However, Lyndon did concede that Mt. Whitehood made him feel “uncertain” and wanted to move on from it. 

Argault the Builder, responsible for constructing the great fortress Gilstad, was commissioned by King Valimond in 564 ACW to make blueprints for a majestic castle built up against Mt. Whitehood.  Argault, having heard rumors, made a point not to build too far up the mountainside in fear of “waking the fabled dragon.”  In 675 ACW, a famed adventurer named Knippler made a daring climb to the summit of Whitehood.  Upon his return, Knippler claimed he came face to face with a sleeping dragon and provided some of its scales as proof.  But two years later, it was revealed that Knippler never found the cave and instead purchased some scales from a traveling merchant prior to the trek.  Knippler was proven a fraud and lynched by an angry crowd.

 

Merrimont part 2

As the years and decades passed, the kingdom of Damir became intensely jealous of the elves and their ability to farm the land and dam the rivers without going through the hardships their ancestors suffered.  With control of Merrimont and the southern farmlands below the city, the elves were enjoying a cultural renaissance in Damir, and they would not recognize King Bandrian or any human king as their ruler.

In 485 ACW, the elves of Merrimont were feeling a bit brave from having occupied the fields and farmlands so successfully that they decided to try and settle on the hills north of Merrimont, on the way to Whitehood.  The Rossi Heights (or so they would be named at a later date) guarded Whitehood from the south and east.  Upon hearing that elves had moved into the area, Bandrian sent his army out to shoo them off.  The shooing resulted in bloodshed and Bandrian’s army pursued the elves by driving south, almost to the gates of Merrimont where they had a short but inconsequential battle with the elven army.  The confrontation became the 5th War of Damir, but it was closer to a skirmish, and later standoff-than a war.

Bandrian had made his point, however, and did not want open warfare (the king was growing old and weak).  He summoned his troops back to the Rossi Heights and made a declaration that the hills belonged to the kingdom of Damir and that any further encroachment by the elves would mean war.  While the elves celebrated Bandrian’s retreat they knew that his army was more than capable of destroying theirs and agreed to his demands.  A truce was called and the humans of Whitehood and the elves of Merrimont had peace.

This truce would be broken when Bandrian’s grandson, Bandrian III, thought it a good idea to attack Merrimont with the full force of the royal army.  In 557 ACW, Bandrian III was beside himself in anger over hearing about the elven prophecy: that a king would spring from their own and likely compete against a human king.  He used the prophecy as propaganda to garner enough initial support to attack the elves, but went overboard.  Instead of demonstrating a show of force against the outlying farms north of Merrimont, he took it a full step further and marched on Merrimont.  But this 7th War of Damir was brief.  Once the elven scouts learned of the human army’s intentions to invade Merrimont, they broke the northern dams of the Paia and Blue Rivers, flooding the land and wiping out the invasion force.  It would take years for the elves to rebuild the farmlands north of Merrimont, but at least their city and people had been spared.  Unfortunately, the elves had no idea what was next to come around the corner.

In early 601 ACW, several elven provinces east of Merrimont were destroyed one by one by an invasion of over 10,000 orc warriors led by the warlord, Phumbaas.  Elves everywhere fled to the confines and safety of Merrimont, hoping the city would protect them from the orcs.  The elven army tried to slow Phumbaas down from reaching the city, attacking him in small clusters, killing off the frontline soldiers, but the warlord always seemed to have plenty of warriors to replenish his losses.  The elven army dwindled, chipped away by these small battles.  They made their final stand just outside of Merrimont, near the Peach Orchards, and slugged it out with Phumbaas.  But the warlord was too strong and the elven lines broke.  The army slaughtered, Merrimont prepared itself for a siege.

Desperate for relief, and surrounded by orcs, the elves managed to send an envoy of emissaries to Whitehood to plead for help from the human king, Valimond.  The purpose of the emissary was for Damir to enter the war on Merrimont’s behalf, and save the elven people from being annihilated.  But King Valimond wanted more than just a war-time alliance against the orcs of Oringard.  He wanted a treaty with the elves and the annexation of Merrimont into the kingdom of Damir.  He wanted recognition from the elven people that they were subjects to a human king and would pledge their loyalty as citizens of Damir.  To ensure this, he stipulated that elves would have to give up their rights to land, dissolve their caucus and reduce their merchant trade.  These demands were unacceptable, but under the grave circumstances Merrimont was experiencing, they rushed through negotiations and agreed to Valimond’s demands.

Armed with the might of Damir’s massive royal army, Valimond relieved Merrimont of its siege just in time.  The ramparts of the city had fallen, half of Merrimont was left in ruin, and Phumbaas had already extinguished thousands upon thousands of elves in his wake.  Phumbaas did not anticipate the arrival of the Damish army and was flanked.  The warlord attempted to thwart their efforts to save Merrimont by dividing his army in two and leading his own side against Valimond’s.  But Phumbaas was cut down in the battle and the orcs were pushed back.  The war was over and Merrimont was spared.

Merrimont was a shell of its old self, and less than half the elven population remained.  Forced to rebuild under the stern laws set forth by the Treaty of Merrimont, the elven city would go through a century of darkness: riots and plagues would become the city’s legacy.  However, during King Valan II’s reign, the elves gained more control of their society and Merrimont began to turn around circa 700 ACW.  Their temple was reconstructed, roads re-built, fountains and archways were erected to mark the return of elven pride and cultural rejuvenation.

Elves part 1

In Damir, the elves first arrived in 350 ACW into Oringard, which was inhabited at the time by the dwarves.  The dwarves were too spread out and disorganized to ward off the elven incursion, and fled northwest.  Claiming Oringard as their own, the elves set up villages throughout the forestland in an attempt to solidify a homeland of their own.  They were led by Iteph, the last remaining member of the old royal family from Jeriko.  The elves, who were almost a hundred percent high elf, discovered they were not the only elves in Oringard.  The wood elves pre-date even the dwarves, but stayed to themselves in small communities within the forest.  The arrival of their high elven brethren either assimilated the wood elves into their society or drove them out.

A hundred years later, the elves had multiplied and were prospering in Oringard.  But in 460 ACW, the orcs of Nubrince invaded and ambushed the elves, slaughtering thousands and killing Iteph’s entire family.  Forced to flee, the elves escaped Oringard and ventured west to the fields of Merrimont.  Led by Iteph’s top advisor, Malthus was promoted to steward prince, and with his guidance the elves quickly built up the Merrimont region. 

Damming the rivers was the first order of business, so any township built could be sustained.  The southern hills and plains were perfect for farming, and the elves began to grow and harvest their agriculture.  In a short amount of time, the township of Merrimont had taken off and was booming in population.  Before either the humans or dwarves knew it, the elves had taken control of southern Damir.  Immediately, the human king Bandrian was outraged over the elves settling in the Merrimont region and damming up the rivers, something the humans had failed at spectacularly in the past.  Envy and distrust kept the humans and the elves from getting along, and for over a hundred years the two would be disdainful neighbors to each other. 

With the Malthus line established as the steward prince line, the elves selected their worthiest families to make up the elven nobility and Caucus.  The elven Caucus serves as the center of politics, law enforcement and justice for the people.  Unlike the human king of Damir, a steward prince does not have absolute power, and is politically an equal member of the Caucus.  Being steward prince gives him the privilege to break ties and to represent them in international courts.

In 556 ACW, the human king Bandrian III tried to have Merrimont invaded and conquered, but the elves had prepared for such an assault by demolishing the dams they had built and flooding the area north of Merrimont.  Drowned and defeated by the rivers, the humans did not try again.  However, in 601 ACW the elves were unable to fend off the orc warlord, Phumbaas, and the massive horde he commanded.  Phumbaas routed the elven army, almost annihilating them, and putting Merrimont in a deadly siege.  Unable to hold out against impossible odds, the elves sent an envoy to King Valimond, the human king of Damir.  Desperate for relief, the elves agreed to swear fealty to the crown of Damir, giving up land rights, their merchant trade, and their Caucus just to preserve their future as a people.  The agreement between Valimond and the elves was known as the Treaty of Merrimont.  The treaty was grossly unfair to the elves, as it reduced their status to serf class, and forced to work for human land owners. 

The annexation of Merrimont and the southern farmlands, all at one time controlled by elves, to the kingdom of Damir was a difficult transition.  Elves who owned farm land were now forced to hand over the deeds to their property to human land owners.  These elves were allowed to stay on, but as workers.  The elves saw this as theft, and the humans saw this as justice.  

The elves have since rioted a handful of times in the past hundred and fifty years of having their land stripped.  The Caucus has been reformed and dissolved several times by the human kings that have ruled over them.  The merchant trade has bolstered the economy in Damir, but for forty years the Treaty prohibited elven merchants to sell their goods outside of Merrimont.  In 619 ACW the elves rioted, as the conditions of the Treaty had proven to be too much.  To punish them for their insolence, King Valimond II had five hundred known rioters (some innocent) put to death.  It became known as the 500 Purge, a dark day in Merrimont’s history. 

The Elven Reprieve Act of 643 ACW gave the elves the right to sell their wares outside of Merrimont.  For ten years, the elves began to clean up Merrimont, which had become a city of slums because of the Treaty.  With merchant trade turning high profits, the elves were blossoming, despite being second class citizens.  But in 653 ACW, the new king of Damir, Viktor II, decided to revoke the Reprieve Act, which prompted a bloody revolt in Merrimont.  That caused Viktor to retaliate, and he executed several noble elves who he felt were behind the riots.  The executions were public beheadings and thus earned the title the “Axe Purge.” 

Finally in 772 ACW, Valimond III came to terms with Mortimus, the steward-prince, and passed the Farm and Riot Act.  The policy was an agreement between the elves of Merrimont and the crown.  In short, the elves were to no longer resort to rioting and violence, but to declare their fealty to the crown.  In return, the law in Damir would recognize elven land owners.  The Caucus would also be allowed to govern Merrimont without a human overseer or magistrate.  The elven Caucus would be permitted to sponsor their own laws for their own people, as long as it did not contradict with the laws of the kingdom.