Westphalia, as its name implies, is the westernmost human region in D'hennex. Once, it was the central capital for the unified An-Yneaith's religion, but ever since the fall of the Emerald Dragon, that soon changed. As it came to pass, these core beliefs faded from Westphalia, soon replaced by its own religion which was developed over time. Nowadays, it is something akin to a theocracy, governed strictly by the same individuals that preach their religion. It is also considered one of the friendlier human lands in the continent, often pushing for diplomatic solutions instead of outward battling, unlike some of the other regions around them.
After the invasion of Cassandra Litvyak, whereupon she assaulted Garlan and tore apart the priests' summoning of their three goddesses, Westphalia has seen some exceedingly fundamental changes. Immediately after it saw itself in the throes of a civil war, with many of its denizens clamoring for reform, once they saw their deities being ripped apart by a mere mortal demon summoner. However, with its way of life threatened, the theocracy rallied behind the banners of three of its greatest houses, and soon enough a brief yet bloody conflict ensued. Later texts would call said conflict the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, even if in truth the three great houses organized a massive genocide of every living being they branded as a heretic.
Since then, the country finds itself divided between the Holy See of Westphalia and the lands of those that refuse to leave their home country and seek reform, even through conflict. Their lands have been termed as the Denarian Wastes, even if in truth it is fertile and arable enough to allow small patches of settlers to live in.
As stated before, Westphalia stands at the western edge of D'hennex. In reality it's more of a northwestern location, considering that it's not that close to the borders of the swamp lands that are the undead's domain, the Drovinian Reaches. The name Westphalia can most likely be construed as "west plains", for during the generations when An-Yneaith was united, it stood in the western plains of D'hennex only. But, ever since the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, Westphalia has seen some major changes. Retreating further upon itself, the Holy See of Westphalia has taken a monumental militaristic and religious approach right down to its core. Most of its major cities have been reinforced into durable fortresses. Many of them have been surrounded by a vast chasm carved into the earth by manifold magics, with a massive wall ringing said chasm to ward off invaders. Beyond them are several smaller encampments, and of course the Denarian Wastes.
- Denarian Wastes: These lands are largely unaffiliated. Those rebels that wish to topple the Holy See or at the very least seek a more peaceful reform live in the Wastes. Among them may live true heretics, but all have been branded as such, and have been exiled by the Holy See. Skirmishes spring up from time to time between both factions, remnants of the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, pointing to a conflict that may very well never end. The Denarian Wastes are not badlands at all, and thus many villages thrive in them. Without the protection of the Holy See, they are more vulnerable, and have grown accustomed to developing their own powers and magics in order to defend themselves. The Wastes are largely unaffiliated, yet boast a sizable, albeit spread, population.
- Cuthbert Keep: Several miles on the main road from the Gates of Judgment, Cuthbert Keep stands tall as a city-fortress meant as a staging area for the Holy See's armies. Most of the time the Keep serves as a central hub as it dispatches Overseers and/or contingents of knights against the so-called heretics of the Wastes.
- Camp Vi Castis: Once merely a thriving mining community, Vi Castis has also been fortified and repurposed for the Holy See's machinations. Using its seemingly endless mining resources, the Vi Castis mining community has become a thriving manufacturer of magical technology to fuel Westphalia's war machine. Known as the Holy Manufactury of the Triumvirate, Vi Castis specializes in creating a myriad of airships for the Holy See's use; mostly to serve as small staging platforms in the wall's defense. Otherwise, Vi Castis continues to harvest precious metals and minerals for all manner of uses.
- The Raging Fury: The term that most Westphalians use for the massive chasm that the Holy See's priests carved via magic. While there seems to be nothing raging within, many an urban legend had sprung around the Fury. Most of them tell of how the demon Litvyak's demons will rise from within on judgment day to finally lay waste to the heretics beyond. The Holy See does not endorse such stories.
- The Gates of Judgment and the Steps Toward the Most Heavenly Arcs: The Gates of Judgment stand as a massive and heavily reinforced portal through which any traveler must enter and leave the Holy See of Westphalia. Any that attempt to enter its borders via flight will encounter a warding spell that at best holds invaders at bay, and at worst alerts the guards where and when someone is attempting to enter its borders and to attack them immediately. Entrance via land is a more sensible choice. The Steps Toward the Most Heavenly Arcs are a massive bridge spanning the great chasm that divides the Holy See from the Wastes, possessing several checkpoints and more defensible positions.
- The Wall of Faith: The massive wall that spans the entirety of the chasm surrounding the Holy See. Westphalia has become highly militaristic and reclusive in its nature since then. Massive contingents patrol its borders.
- The Arc of the Humble: The cities and towns closest to the Wall of Faith are collectively located in the Arc of the Humble. These locations have seen the worst of the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, and the subsequent heretical attacks since then. Undead raids, draconic attacks, heretical plots, and even rival nations' insurgencies have hammered the Arc of the Humble for some time. With most of the knightly contingents concentrated in the inner arc, and most of their skilled fighters counted among them, the Arc of the Humble is in a constant state of flux. Thus, faith might be more shaken than in the inner arc, spurring more Overseer activity within its area.
- The Arc of the Worthy: The inner arc, home to the wealthier houses of the Holy See. The Arc of the Worthy has seen its fair share of warfare, yet counts on rapid responses from the defenders of their theocracy. Within the Arc of the Worthy stands the Apostolic Observatorium of the Circle, a secretive tower from which magical scryers and psychic diviners observe much of the goings on of the Holy See. It is oftentimes commandeered by the Holy See's Overseers to aid in the rooting out of heretical factions and questioners of faith.
- Garlan, the Golden City: Garlan stands at the innermost section of the Holy See of Westphalia. It is a sprawling city-fortress that houses many of the Holy See's most important headquarters, as well as the three main houses' own manors.
- House Aringarosa
- House Cuthbert
- House Pendragon
- The First Dicasterial Vault of the Holy See: More commonly known as the Vault, it is an underground fortress from which the Holy See's Overseers operate. The Vault also doubles as a vast repository for heretical artifacts, and even triples as a prison for its more hardened heretics as they await trial in the Tribunal.
- The Sacred Tribunal of Triumvirate Doctrine: The fates of many an accused heretic have been decided within the Tribunal. Priests and Bishops alike perform the tasks of judges, juries, and executioners. Very rarely do the accused meet an end that does not involve fire.
- The Eternal Throne of the Holy See: Easily the grandest and most majestic of all of Westphalia's structures, the Eternal Throne stands as the Holy See's last bastion against heresy. From within, the Three Great Houses administer political, legislative, and executive law, all the while the Archbishop of the Eternal Throne lords over the entire Holy See and its doctrines.
In the past, Westphalia had boasted a thriving economy and a largely happy people. Ever since The Fall, and the subsequent Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, the country has been split in two. Embroiled in a seemingly eternal civil war, the Holy See and the Wastes seem more concerned with battling each other instead of furthering their economy. However, the war machine keeps churning, and thus both the Holy See and the Wastes have become all the stronger, even while poverty continues to rise among the weakest.
To any of the other human lands that would accept this, the Holy See of Westphalia offers trade with them.
The Holy See of Westphalia possesses a split-government administered by the Orthodox Church of the Holy Triumvirate and the Three Great Houses. While the Houses administer most of the day to day tasks, write many laws, and deal with all manner of socio-political situations, it is the Orthodox Church which holds the real power over the people. Thus, advancement within the Holy See may be achieved by being born in one of the great houses, or furthering the honor of a house through heroic and worthy deeds; or by joining the Church of the Holy Triumvirate.
Noblemen and noblewomen are born into their positions, or furthered through feats of honor. They are largely land owners, and administer the day to day grind of the daily lives of the people. Ultimately they answer to the Church, and must yield some of the taxes they collect to the Holy See and its war machine. Every noble house has its own contingent of soldiers and knights. These may be lent to the Holy See in times of need, but otherwise are simply utilized to defend the assets of their own house. The greater the house, the greater its knights. Collectively they are all known as the Circle Blades, even if such a common term is usually scoffed at by them; they are much more concerned with being associated with their own houses, so as to further increase their honor through their deeds.
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Triumvirate possesses a simple hierarchy: the Archbishop stands as both lord sovereign and religious leader of the land; the three Bishops of the Holy Triumvirate oversee the Humble, Worthy and Garlan arcs, including its military and economic assets as well as their religious beliefs; the Priests of the Church administer the Triumvirates' day to day tasks, such as holding masses and leading military squadrons into battle.
The Denarian Wastes hold very little political structure. They are merely comprised of a collection of towns and cities scattered throughout the land. Few of them retain semblances of noble houses, though some exist. Mostly, each town administers itself in its own way, giving each one an individual enough flavor.
The Great Darkness Came
And With Her, The Raging Fury
With A Mighty Swing Of Her Malice
The Earth Was Cleft In Two
Dividing Believer From Heretic
Amassing Her Great Army
Our Most Holy Triumvirate Came To Our Aid
Yet The Circle Too Met Its Match
The Raging Fury Rent The Triumvirate Asunder
All Was Lost
Yet The Three Great Houses
And Our Most Fervent of Priests
Showing Forth Great Faith
Restoring Our Most Holy Triumvirate
Restoring Our Most Holy Faith
Restoring Our Most Holy Three Saviors
And With Great Judgment Did They Strike Back
Driving Away The Great Darkness
Driving Away The Raging Fury
Thus Our Great Church Was Renewed
Thus Was Our Great Westphalia Saved
Thus Was The Agenda Of The Heretic Revealed
Blessed Is He Or She Whom Stands Against The Wicked
Blessed Is He Or She Whom Serves Our Most Holy Triumvirate
Blessed Is He Or She Whom Drives Away The Heretic
Blessed Is He Or She Whom Defends The Holy See
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Triumvirate tells the tale of a dark entity invading their most holy home, pitting her raging fury against the very faith of Westphalia. Because their faith had been weak at the time, the raging fury of the great darkness almost destroyed their very Triumvirate of goddesses. Only by the stalwart might of their most faithful, especially those of the Three Great Houses of Cuthbert, Aringarosa, and Pendragon, did the goddesses renew their strength and drive back the great darkness from their home. Since then, the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful began, where heretic upon heretic threw themselves against the newly reformed Church of the Triumvirate. A Church whose faith was now strong and unshakable, and managed to erect the very Walls of Faith against those damned to live in the Denarian Wastes.
In truth, Westphalia had lived under a lie for a very long time. A lie that the original Church perpetuated by performing a massive ritual which manifested three powerful beings of pure energy controlled by the clergy, meant to pose as the very goddesses of Westphalian faith: Laisha, Azshara, and Illeanya. When Cassandra Litvyak invaded the Holy City and engaged the goddesses, she rent them asunder and left the country with her warning. Civil unrest and chaos soon ensued, and it was only by manifesting an even larger lie that the noble houses of Aringarosa, Cuthbert, and Pendragon managed to eventually entrench themselves in utter seats of power. Instigating the Thrice Song of the Heavenly Faithful, the three houses renewed Westphalian faith under their reformed Orthodox Church, and managed to drive most of the rebels whom now knew the truth out of their walls. Since then, they have chosen the Archbishop from within their own ranks, controlling their country from within and from all aspects, competing with each other for whom will make for a new Archbishop in secret.
The Denarian Wastes mostly host a vastly secular people, all of them realizing that their entire faith system had been naught but a lie. Hoping for reform, in order to advance their nation from the thrall of a bogus religion, they fervently and zealously plot on how best to bring down the Holy See. The Wastes also play host to any previous citizens of Westphalia whom practice any other sort of religion, for all of them were branded as heretics as well. That said, true heretics do reside in the Wastes, such as demon worshipers and undead thralls, to name a few.
Gone are the days of the division between power wielders and Westphalian armies. The Trinity Knights, the Apostle Circle, and the Templar of Sorrow no longer exist. The Holy See has rearranged its forces to suit its newly formed needs.
- The Stalwart Keepers of Faith: The Keepers are the knights tasked with the defense of the Holy See. They serve both as peacekeepers within the arcs, and as protectors of the Wall of Faith. Their main tasks are to protect the faithful from the heretics beyond their walls, though the Priests and Bishops that guide them may prioritize some over others.
- The Manufacturers of Our Most Heavenly Steel: The Manufacturers mostly operate the magitech technology that the Holy See has begun to utilize. Most of the technology is largely unstable, and thus the Manufacturers are widely regarded as being slightly mad. They are deployed in all manner of situations, such as aiding in Wall and camp defense, providing deployment tactics with their rickety airships, or even employing siege engines against heretical foes.
- The Templar Knights: The Templar are a diverse group of knights employed by the Holy See in most of their warfare situations; save for defensive positions, of course.
- The Congregation of Inquisitorial Overseers: What may have been the Redemptionists in the past, the Overseers have overcome their specialization against the undead and the demonic (though the specialization still occurs within a sect of their ranks), and instead have become an object to fear. That fear is shared by both the Holy See and heretics alike. Whenever an Overseer is dispatched, someone's faith has been called into question. Thus do the Overseers watch over the Holy See as a whole, always on the lookout for heretical behavior, keeping the clergy and the nobles in check with the government's wishes. An Overseer deployed in any battlefield, encampment, fortress, or city may immediately assume command of any and all of the Holy See's troops on site in order to ensure that all manner of heretical behavior is excised with extreme prejudice. While the Overseers seemingly answer to the Archbishop himself, not even the Archbishop is immune to their scrutinizing gaze.
- The Twelve Wards of Heaven: As the name implies, a dozen of the Holy See's best and most honorable of knights keep watch over the Archbishop himself at all times. Needless to say, the Twelve count among them the most powerful warriors of Westphalia as a whole.
- The Unaffiliated: While the Denarian Wastes have no official army, the power wielders living beyond the Walls of Faith have been placed into extreme danger. While they are still capable of living off of the land and establishing large enough settlements, they are besieged on all sides by true heretics, undead raids, bandits, brigands, and the Holy See itself. Necessity alone has produced a strong enough breed of power wielder in the Wastes. What they lack is organization and strength in numbers, both of which the Orthodox Church commands.
Minor Population Details
Most Westphalian citizens are low-grade power wielders. Those that are Ki or Physically inclined usually serve in some knightly form or other. Magic is the most prevalent form of power in Westphalia, especially within the clergy of the church. Psionics are rare, but used often and for various purpose within the Holy See. Power wielders that live outside of the walls generally tend to be powerful, possessing a diverse enough blend of all manner of powers.
While its tastes in powers is diverse, Westphalia will always actively pursue and attempt to destroy any kind of craft involving necromancy and the undead. Their beliefs center around the purity and harmony of nature in all its aspects, and anything that disrupts that cycle must be destroyed for the greater good. Even those that live in the Wastes that aren't true heretics themselves frown upon the undead and unclean at best, and will try to kill any practitioners at worst.
Humans and demihumans are the prevalent race in Westphalia. Aliens are frowned upon for the most part, and may be met with minor hostilities if they attempt to live within its borders, but people don't exhibit a rabid hatred for them like they do for the undead.
While openly friendly to any human lands in D'hennex in the past, Westphalia has become a different beast as of late. While the Wastes welcome most any aid with open arms, the Holy See itself has become increasingly reclusive. In the past, it had pushed for a unified front against the Jungles of Ka and the Drovinian Reaches, yet its political turmoil and its reformed religion has turned the Holy See into a tense ally at best for most of the other human lands. It still, however, retains its almost insane hatred of all things demonic and undead.