The Tabaxi Regiment
This human realm spans over 300,000 square miles, and contains plains, coasts, canyons, swamps, great forests, deserts, snowy mountains, and tundra. With such geographical diversity, Alma may not seem like a unified kingdom, but its diverse people are united by its shared myths and heroes. While there is much to be said of the Kingdom of Alma, its histories and locales, we must begin with Waltz.
Waltz was the largest city on Tabaxi. It was the center of trade and commerce for all nations. It was destroyed in the late tenth century by a cataclysmic event that the folk call the Doom of Waltz. In the embers since, the ruins have overgrown, and the King of Alma, Nordred II, has transformed it into a beautiful memorial park.
The Doom of Waltz greatly reduced the population of Alma from over 7 million to less than 5 million over the course of a few days. The population has since grown to a healthy 6.8 million.
The first portion of Alma to emerge from the ice was the direct center – the survivors of the Frozen Year gathered on a hill and built three walls to divide the great torrents of melt water that constantly rained down on them.
The society stabilized with the god-chosen ascension of the first King, Hubard Skyreach – who was, they say, the first unfrozen. The Sun Knights of Hubard I’s mighty reign never lost a battle, and after the King’s death they went on to form the Church of Avalon.
Hubard’s eldest son, Tommen, abdicated the throne after already forming the neighbouring realm of Peñapesara. Hubard’s second son took the Alman throne, and the Skyreach dynasty continued for six hundred years, counseled by the heirs of the Sun Knights.
The Church of Avalon continued to grow in popularity as Alma extended its reach across the sea to Loslia, bringing civilization to an otherwise savage land. Concurrently at home, the worship of seven Divine Shades of Avalon became prevalent among more adventuresome clerics.
The embers of prosperity and peace could not last forever. Trouble began in 640E, during the reign of the already unpopular Jendril V (known as the Lonely King). The Sun Knights turned on one another, and the Table of the Sun was broken during their first skirmish in Waltz. Thus began a civil war that ripped Alma asunder, and the Skyreach line was extinguished.
Oberon Redcrown took the throne of Alma after personally killing Jendril V. The reign of the Redcrown King was notoriously violent and cruel. It was also mercifully brief, as after merely two decades, a second civil war disseated Oberon I. The merciful Ram King allowed Oberon life under house arrest after taking the throne. House Rambton has ruled Alma since 666E. They are not as uniformally revered as the Skyreaches, but the realm has grown and prospered, especially with regards to the arts, and the church.
The infamous Zealot King (Staphen III) reigned at the dawn of the ninth century. He reformed the Church of Avalon, began the chivalric Order of the Crimson Cross, and saw the first of what would be many Crusades in the southern desert nation of Mudore. While there are many Alman critics of the violence in the south, Almans agree that King Staphen III was a good and pious man.
In 973E, during the reign of Beric II, one such Crusade erupted into the bloody and tumultuous Afdol War. Out of this war, two great knights rose to prominence: Sir Percival the Pure and Sir Lanval Brighthart. Their holiness granted them preternatural abilities unseen since the original Sun Knights.
Sir Percival’s death coincides historically with an event known as the Fiendwar of Waltz, which occurred in 979E, roughly a year before the city’s Doom.
Sir Lanval’s heroics during the War of the Desert Dragon conclusively ended the centuries of aggression between Alma and Mudore. The state of Vascone was founded at the site of the battle, and Sir Lanval was named its Lord.
It was not meant to last, however, for the Doom of Waltz occurred shortly therafter, and Lord Lanval was lost to time.
In the twenty embers since the Doom, Alma’s economy has experienced several feasts and famines. The once-fruitful airship-based trade crashed immediately after the Doom, but heavy investment (both from the Crown and the private sector) has reinvigorated the tradition.
The recent economic boom is partly due to the rise of the middle class, which has created a capitalist marketplace dominated by a mysterious organization known as the Taves.
Alma is a feudalistic monarchy, ruled by a King of holy blood. Its four provinces are each governed by Dukes. Each province is made up of four to six counties, three of which lie along the border (“marches”) and the rest inland regions (“shires”). Each county is ruled by a different ancient noble house, their patriarchs are known as an Earls in the shires and Marquises in the marches. The regions within a county are known as baronies, and they are ruled by the lesser noble houses headed by Barons. The barons appoint mayors and reeves to oversee the activities of the towns and villages.
Alman society is built upon three estates: the Clergy (first estate) the Nobility (second estate) and Commoners (third estate).
“Royal Inquisitors” – special agents ranked above all save the King, who serve as judges on the King’s behalf – are sometimes referred to as “the fourth estate” but there are so few, with no established hierarchy among them, that this label is neither official nor popular.
The Alman military is made up of soldiers, usually commoners answering the call from their liege lord. There are, of course, elites, men and women of high honor and renown, known as Knights.
The term Knight of the Realm designates any person that has an official writ designating them as Knight dedicated to the protection of the Kingdom of Alma. There are presently over 100,000 such knights. Only a Marquis, Earl, Duke or the King himself has the authority to issue such writs and give away portions of their land. Knights, through service to specialized Chivalric Orders, may also become Knights of those Orders.