Styria is a large island located to the east of the Circle of the World. It is controlled by a tapestry of multiple independent Free Cities. It is a land of warring city-states; reminiscent of Renaissance Italy.
Centuries ago, Styria was united and ruled as the New Empire; possible a reference to the Old Empire of Juvens. Ancient ruins still remain throughout the island, including the Senate Houses in Borletta and Talins.
Styria has no centralised government; it is a tapestry of multiple city-states, some independent, and others bowing to other larger city-states. The exception is Westport, which is a Protectorate within The Union. The city-states ruthlessly compete for power with each other.
- Visserine is an independent city, ruled by Grand Duke Salier. It is a founder of the League.
- Ospria is an independent city, ruled by Grand Duke Rogont. It is a founder of the League.
- Borletta is an independent city, ruled by Duke Cantain. It is a founder of the League.
- Puranti is an independent city, ruled by Duke Lirozio.
- Affoia is an independent city, ruled by Countess Cotarda.
- Nicante is an independent city, ruled by First Citizen Patine.
- Caprile is a city in the west of Styria which has now been subjugated by Talins.
- Musselia is a city in the north-west of Styria which has now been subjugated by Talins.
Other major city-states are:
- Talins is the most powerful of all the city-states in Styria, ruled by Grand Duke Orso.
- Sipani is an independent city, ruled by Chancellor Sotorius. It has stayed neutral during the Years of Blood.
- Westport is part of The Union, and is a wealthy port, known as the Crossroads of the World.
Other city-States include:
- Etrea is a small city-state in the north-west of Styria which is subjugated to Talins.
- Etrisani is a small city-state in the north-west of Styria which is subjugated to Talins.
- Cesale is a small city-state in the north-west of Styria which is subjugated to Talins.
- Baol is the region of north eastern Styria inhabited by wild clansmen, who fight on the side of Talins during the events of Best Served Cold
- Muris is a small city-state in the south-west of Styria which is subjugated to Sipani.
- Corontiz is a small city-state in the east of Styria.
Geography, Culture and Religion
Styria is a large island located to the east of Midderland, on the far side of the Circle Sea. The Azure Sea is a major inlet, almost completely surrounded by land. The island has a number of mountain ranges, the most significant being the dramatic peaks of the Urval Mountains, ‘the spine of Styria’. Major rivers include the Capra, Etris, Olba, Visser, and Pura. Styria seems to have a mild temperate climate, though the winters do cause the military campaigns to halt for a time.
Most of the major cities are located around Stryia’s long coastline. The cultures are quite diverse, with different cities known for their major exports and commerce. For instance, Visserine is famous for its glasswork and mirrors, Sipani for its celebrations and pleasure houses, Ospria for wine, and Westport for trade. The people are mostly pale skinned, and speak Styrian, incomprehensible to those who speak the common tongue.
Religion may exist in Styria, but is not particularly important. There is a large temple to the Southern gods in Westports, due to its population of displaced people from Dawah.
For centuries, the city-states of Styria have ruthlessly competed with each other for power. Grand Duke Orso of Talins inherited the Duchy from his ancestor, a mercenary who ascended the throne. Duke Orso is ruthlessly ambitious, and started subjugating city-states including Etrea, Etrisani, Cesale, and Baol.
Last Argument of Kings
Grand Duke Orso agrees the marriage of his daughter Terez and new King Jezal of the Union. After receiving money from Valint & Balk, he sends his fleet and soldiers to support the Union during the Battle of Adua.
In the three years between the books, Duke Orso has tightened his grip on Styria. The city-states of Musselia, Caprile and Borletta have all fallen to his Generals Monza and Ganmark. The League of Eight suffered a defeat at Sweet Pines, when the Visserine forces rashly engaged Orso’s without waiting for the Osprians to arrive. Then, Visserine again suffered a defeat in the battle on the High Bank, despite having three times the numbers. The League of Eight is now close to defeat, with Visserine next under threat, then Puranti and Ospria.
Best Served Cold
A peace conference is arranged in Sipani by King Jezal of the Union, to end the hostilities. However, it fails when Orso’s eldest son Prince Ario is killed by Monza, who survived the assassination attempt.
Visserine is taken by siege by General Ganmark and Grand Duke Salier killed; although Ganmark is himself killed by Monza during the siege. Meanwhile, the Gurkish leader sends his emissary, Ishri, to offer the League of Eight support; Talins is supported by Valint & Balk, and thus this is part of the wider conflict between Khalul and Bayaz.
The decisive battle in the war occurs near Ospria. Orso’s main force commanded by Prince Foscar, engage Duke Rogont and his Affoians allies. As the battle rages, the mercenaries of the Thousand Swords fail to engage for Orso; having been paid off by the Gurkish. Then the Sipanese suddenly appear and flank Orso’s force; Rogont having persuaded Sotorius that Orso would never forgive the death of his son in his city. Rogont is victorious.
With Duke Orso’s army in disarray, they put siege to his fortress of Fontezarmo. Other city-states flock to support Duke Rogont. Rogont is crowned King of Styria, however the crown is poisoned by Morveer. Rogont and four other city-state rules die; only Grand Duchess Monza of Talins survives. Monza continues the siege of Fontezarmo, and eventually takes the fortress and kills Duke Orso.
The war is ended, but Styria is left in chaos. Baolish forces invaded Osprian territory. Osprian remains leaderless; one of Rogont’s bastards may claim the Duchy. Muris declares independence and goes to war with Sipani, while Sotorius’ sons fight each other for the Duchy. Visserine remains leaderless. There are rumours of plague in Affoia, of a great fire in Nicante. Puranti is in uproar. Musselia is in turmoil. Only Borletta is stable, ruled by Duke Cantain’s niece, after suppressing a recent rebellion.
In Talins, Etrisani make incursions into their territory, and Grand Duchess Monza plans to take Etrisani under siege, to demonstrate their resolve. Monza chooses to resist approaches from both the Gurkish and Valint & Balk for support, wanting nothing to do with Khalul and Bayaz’s conflict.
The Age of Madness
In the interim years, Grand Duchess Monza of Talins has tightened her grip on Styria, and had her son Jappo mon Rogont Murcatto crowned king at aged eight. Despite The Union fighting three wars in Styria, only Union-controlled Westport and neutral Sipani remain outside Styrian hands. Monza has stirred-up discord in Westport, enticing the Aldermen to schedule a vote which could see the city secede from The Union and join Styria. In the end, the Aldermen vote in favour of the Union by a landslide, thanks to the intervention of the Inquisition. King Jappo is now in his mid-twenties, and rumoured to be keen to step from his mother’s shadow.