The Kingdom of Fehrlang is a large, de-centralized feudal monarchy ruled by King Agnen III, comprising the whole of the Oereldian Peninsula. Bounded on the west by the Mezzani Sea, the north by the Western Ocean, the south by the Sea of Anyra, and the east by the Eldian Mountains, the kingdom is one of the largest on the continent of Enland, though it is of only middling power compared to other states, including the more centralized Kingdom of Eostre and the Halyan Empire.
The kingdom was founded about eight hundred years ago, when Aureg I, a powerful chieftain in the Dendall region, gained dominion over the scattered tribes of the Fehr, Stryg, and Eii peoples that populated the western half of the Oereldian Peninsula. The Duke of Eldia, the Count of Prevere, and the Duke of Allaise bent the knee to Aureg I and his successor Aureg II over the subsequent decades, and their territories were incorporated into the kingdom.
Scholars estimate that Fehrlang's people number between 11 and 14 million, though these figures are imprecise at best, since each scholar has only limited and local population records to extrapolate from. The population is densest in the Grand Duchy of Dendall (comprising the lands along and the islands within the Gulf of Dendall) where centers of maritime trade prosper. The Grand Duchy is the only region that is home to anything that could be called a city, but even so there are no settlements on the scale of those found in Halya or the Mezzani city-states.
The vast majority of the population of the Kingdom of Fehrlang are peasant farmers. Craftsmen and other skilled laborers are the next most common group, most sworn to the service of nobles, though freemen are a common occurrence in the towns of the Grand Duchy of Dendall. There are large numbers of fishermen in coastal regions, and miners are common in the ore-rich mountains of the Duchy of Allaise.
Fehrlang is almost exclusively human in racial makeup. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings are present in extremely small numbers. Half-elves are exceedingly rare. Half-orcs are more common, but are largely ostracized from Fehrlangian society. In general, non-humans are tolerated, but are somewhat mistrusted. Non-humans can make a comfortable and pleasant life in Fehrlang, however, especially if they are willing to play to racial stereotypes. Dwarven smiths, for example, do particularly well for themselves by drawing on the reputation of Dwarven craftsmanship.
The dominant human ethnic group in the kingdom are the Fehrs, probably amounting to 40-45% of the population, and the related Stryg and Eii peoples, together another 20-25%. The remainder consists predominantly of the Allasian and Eldian peoples, while foreign ethnicities and non-humans collectively amount to less than 1% of the population.
The Kingdom of Fehrlang recognizes no official religion. Fehrlangian people generally recognize local spirits and deities, as well as notable ancestors. Thus, where some peoples are inclined to recognize a single god of forests, for example, the Fehrlangians recognize the god of this forest as separate from the gods of other forests.
Worship practice consists primarily of ritual offerings and sacrifices at places of power, including graves and natural formations. Fehrlangian religion is an almost entirely oral tradition; scripture as a concept is virtually unknown.
Foreigners and non-humans are typically welcome to keep to their own gods in Fehrlang, but they may find themselves better assimilated if they engage in the religious practice of their local community.
Fehrlang comprises the whole of the Oereldian Peninsula. The Eldian Mountains that form the eastern border are tall, sharp, and treacherous, preventing easy land access to the peninsula from the continent proper. The Oereldian Mountains bisect much of the country, running east and west through the middle reaches of the peninsula. The northern coast is riddled with fiords.
Resting in the northern reaches of the continent, Fehrlang's climate ranges from temperate in the south to frigid in the north, with mild summers and hard winters.
Fehlrang is a heavily de-centralized feudal monarchy. The king, in practice, exerts little control over the country as a whole, and his influence is substantially felt only by his immediate vassals.
The kingdom is a patchwork of small fiefs run by local lords, administrated in turn by more powerful lords to whom they swear fealty. Thus, the political organization of the country is rather like a loose pyramid, with the king at the peak and the lowest ranking nobility at the base.
Fehrlang is divided at the highest level into territories called royal domains, which are the lands of lords who are sworn directly to the king with no intervening liege (or ruled directly by the king himself). The royal domains consist of six duchies, four counties (though one is so insignificant as to be forgotten), and a single grand duchy.
Nobility in Fehrlang is derived largely from the Allasian and Eldian systems that Aureg I adopted when he solidified the clans of the west into his kingdom. The ranks of nobility, in descending order of prestige, are as follows:
- King: The sovereign ruler of all of Fehrlang, from whom all titles gain their legitimacy.
- Grand Duke: A title held in Fehrlang only by the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Dendall, who is traditionally the king. The title is theoretically separable from the king, however, and could be granted to someone else.
- Duke: A title held by the rulers of the six duchies of Fehrlang.
In addition, outside of the official system of nobility, much of Fehr tribal clan standing is still recognized, and lords who possess clan standing will append it to their titles. For instance, the king styles himself not only as His Majesty the King and Grand Duke of Dendall, but also as Chief of the Tiarnag, Chieftain of the Fehr, and Chieftain of Chieftains.
While in the distant past, the Eldian and Allasian peoples were divided into tribal clans, by the time of Aureg I, the importance of clan standing had all but disappeared in the region. Thus, while Eldian and Allasian lords respect the institution of Fehr clanship, they do not themselves engage in such a system.
Fehrlang is largely insular, despite its location. Only the Grand Duchy has any substantial foreign presence, with traders coming through the port towns of the Bay of Dendall from as far away as the Mezzani Islands. The kingdom has few official diplomatic ties, but individual lords along the eastern border frequently strike agreements with the neighboring states, such as the elven Kingdom of Siyalatas and the western provinces of the Halyan Empire.
The Halyan Empire has occasionally looked into expanding into Fehrlang, but has never seriously committed to an offensive, finding the reward unlikely to be worth the cost.
Fehrlang has no standing army. In times of war, the king may call upon his vassals to provide soldiers, who in turn call upon their own vassals. Typically, when a lord raises his levies, every household is required to provide one able-bodied man, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for extenuating circumstances. Thus, the majority of any fighting force raised in Fehrlang is made up of poorly-armed and armored peasant levies.
These men are usually given simple spears and shields, and almost never provided armor. The poorest lords may even require men to bring their own weapons, resulting in an army wielding wood-cutting axes, pitchforks, knives, and hammers.
Supplementing and leading these peasant forces are knights, who are typically well-trained and well-equipped, wearing heavy armor and fighting mostly from horseback. Some lords also employ untitled professional warriors called men-at-arms. Fehrlang's cavalry have a strong reputation beyond the kingdom's borders, as the Fehr have a long tradition of horsemanship.
Just as Fehrlang is politically fragmented in practice, it is equally fragmented militarily. It is not uncommon for lords to war against one another for various reasons, and their lieges rarely interfere unless such conflict is likely to significantly harm their own interests. This state of affairs is the cause of some derision from strong centralized states like the Halyan Empire, who find such internal conflict distasteful and indicative of weakness. One factor does severely limit internal warfare, however: the loss of so many peasant farmers jeopardizes the whole harvest.