Almondsey


The Province of South Estalia -- Linzonia

The county of Linzonia, mostly within the great forest of Ballon, and bounded on the north by the River Lin, is the home territory of the aboriginal tribes of Almondsey Island. Some anthropoligists claim that they are actually hybrid Neanderthals, because of their stocky and brutish appearance; but they are definitely human. They have no written language -- and their spoken language, such as it is, is practically unlearnable by outsiders, with its limited vocabulary of about 2000 words, half of which are taboo and only allowed to be pronounced aloud by initiates of the various fraternities, sororities, and tribal groups. Most of the Linzonians live in small family groups in the woods, in treehouses and underground burrows. The lands on the other side of the River Lin and on the islands, in Almondsey, are also inhabited by Linzonians, and there is a similar treaty arrangement operating there. In effect, this is a separate country, rather similar to an American Indian reservation. Their religion and culture has never been seriously studied, though it seems to be matriarchal, under the rule of grandmothers, and there is a king, whose role is largely ceremonial. Some say that they are cannibals, but this is not generally true except in a ritual sense.

North Central Estalia Southeast Estalia
Linzonia

There is very little to describe about this mysterious territory, since it is hardly ever visited, let alone studied. There is one central 'town' (if it can be described as that) where Linzonians meet with Estalians on the few occasions they need to trade or have diplomatic dealings: that is the town of Frimtaloz (see below). There is also Djerslam Castle, seat of the most sophisticated of the so-called ruling class. And there is the sad ruin of Yigdrasilla Castle, which was an attempt by the medieval Estalians to establish a seat for the conquest of this group of tribes. Of special note is the mysterious castle of Bobeddan.

Frimtaloz is the only congregation of Linzonians that can be called a town or village. What is shown here is the Estalian Trading Post, which is the only official market for dealings with the Linzonians. It consists of a small community of traders and their families (officially, no soldiers, although there are hired bodyguards who accompany the traders at all times). The traders live in the residential portion on the north side of the complex; there is also a small tower house, which houses the official Estalian legation and his family. The east side, facing the market square, has the trading hall, with an arcade. It sells mainly cloth goods, pottery, and metal objects.The town itself, apart from this walled 'civilized' portion, is a warren of filthy wattle-and-daub huts. It is, however, the most cosmopolitan place in Linzonia.


Djerslam Castle. This very primitive castle in the back woods is the home of the King of Linzonia -- insofar as they have a king. It is basically built of unmortared stone, except for the tower, which was built by Ralph Roberto, a freelance architect from Carboil, for the Grand Dame, or matriarch of Linzonia, in 1620. In basic design, it is little different from something built in the stone age. There is a sacred pool in front of the main entrance. The interior contains little more than a granary and a few round houses.
Yigdrasilla Castle was rendered untenable by the Almondese in 1666 when they attacked Estalia; it was considered a threat to the town of Yarthfur (which they had just captured), and also blocked the way up the river Ye. They rendered it indefensible by blowing up the south wall, the gatehouse, and the great hall. The north and west sides remain, and are garrisoned by customs officials (ha, ha -- Linzonia and neighboring Almondsey in this area are pretty lawless and have nothing against profitable smuggling). The Great Tower, which once was four stories tall, is now missing its top two floors, but is used as a dormitory. Offices are in the north wing, which used to be servants' accommodation, and the southwest corner tower is the residence of the chief constable of the area.

The castle was originally built in the late 15th Century by the then King of Estalia (Oscrith the Linz-slayer) who was making a futile attempt to conquer once and for all these pestiferous and heretical aborigines. That didn't work, of course, but the castle remained as an important outpost on the River Lin as the power and threat of Almondsey grew stronger. Access is by river only, as crossing through Linzonian territory is considered too risky, and also a treaty violation.

Tarbonkh Castle is on the east shore of Lake Jatta, and is the seat of Baron Tarbonkh, who holds the area between the northeast part of the lake and Linzonia. His castle, parts dating back to the early 17th Century, is built on an artificial island at the mouth of a small river. The main features are a simple courtyard with interior service buildings, a plain square gatehouse, a large keep tower-house, and a small 'manor' house. The manor is a small Jacobean-style structure built on a U plan. The keep, however, is a fine building with a grand hall and solar, and plenty of room for servants and garrison -- but not much in the way of accommodation for the baron, whose family mainly inhabits the manor house. The estate lies north and east of the castle.

Estalia