Protectorate of Jova

Culture: Eastern European w/ Inquisition-period Spain overtones

The Protectorate of Jova is a religious state that has its beginnings in a small revolution within the official Aeryan Church. A young but vocal up-and-coming Priest named Darnislav began putting forth the notion that because Jove was above all, he was truly the ruler of the Gods, and that Gaia and Eurynome were subservient to him, as women should be. In Aerye, a fairly egalitarian view of the roles of the sexes had dominated, following the example of the Elves and the favored organization of the Riddlemark under Baobhan Sithe, and his preachings were not looked on favorably by his fellows, especially in the Gaian and Eurynomian castes. He did, however, find favor in certain nobles on the western edge of the continent, in a relatively defensible section just past the Southren Range of mountains, above the Baronies of Solom. When he was exiled, along with his followers, they traveled to this part of the world, and took up residence in Guliv Islan, the largest of the cities in the area, and the one commanding the defense of the Castle Pass. Castle Pass was at the headwaters of the Castle River as it left the Southren Range, and was one of the few areas into the western Duchies that one could conceivably lead an army through.

In a timespan of a decade or so, the cult rose to prominence in all of the large cities in this part of Aerye, supported by a male aristocracy who saw a reason to revert to ways that had been prominent before the rise of the High Priest Baobhan Sithe and his preachings of "All are equal before the Gods, only your actions matter - not sex or blood" (The Tal Arbi Bible, Gaia 3, Wiboux 13, Aeryean Edition). The revolt was declared when the tax collectors of the Aeryean government were ambushed and killed in Guliv Islan, and the 5 years worth of taxes they had collected confiscated. In approximately 4 years of active combat, the Aeryean military was never able to break the hold of the Jovans on passes necessary to the invasion, and were not able to successfully invade by sea either, as Solomite navies would not allow Aeryean ships through their waters, leaving them only a long and hazardous journey around the northern edge of the islands. On top of this, there are only 3 natural harbors in the area that is considered Jovan territory, and these were well defended.

Even so, the Aeryean may have been able to overcome this if they had not made on fatal error. A force led by Baron Korchev of Low Castle snuck through Solomite waters, and invaded the township of Vratislav. The force was significant, and strong enough to break the defenses. Upon breaking the walls, he declared no quarter. Unfortunately for his forces, in the confusion they slaughtered a merchant train of Dwarves from the nearby Holt — which included the Dwarven war leader's only daughter. After the tragedy was discovered, Baron Korchev worsened the error, by declaring that "trading with traitors makes you a traitor as well", and refusing to pay wergild (a payment in gold or services applied as punishment for crimes in Dwarven culture). This caused the Dwarven Holts to side with the revolutionaries, even as they disagreed with their practices. The Dwarves brought a large well trained force to the table, and more important, they brought cannon, and to a lesser degree, rifles. A weapon never seen before by anyone on the islands, they quickly devastated Aeryean forces.

When the Aeryean Dukes called for help from TAl Arbi, they were told by the Priest-King that it was none of his concern, and Riddlemark forces would not get involved. Rather than face more defeats, the Dukes Council surrendered the territories to the Jovan revolutionaries, and promptly ignored them. All of the passes were heavily fortified on the Aeryean side, and the Jovan Protectorate has never been formally recognized as existing, unlike The Tor, Tsuber, and Solom.

The capitol of Guliv Islan was renamed Gul Darn, and became the seat of the Protectorate. The High Priest Darnislav still rules now, 34 years after the revolution, and his followers slowly replace the local priests. He shows patience, in that he has not replaced anyone who has not passed on naturally, and seems to be willing to wait for his faith to grow. He shows little tolerance for halflings and dwarves, as their 'aberrations' are signs of their misplaced beliefs, and seems to be waiting for a reason to turn on them within his borders, even as he duplicates their technologies.

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