Abridged History of the 10th Age
Bearing one of the most impressive navies in the Trade Sea, Stonemark is known for its long rocky coastline and the inhospitable weather that crops up there. High cliffs prevent the moist winds blown in off of the Straights of the Moon from leaving, making Stonemark a very rainy, warm, and above all soil-poor landscape. The royalty of Stonemark is indiginous, much more closely related to that of Thegnas than the Avar traditions of Thyrnesse and the ancient Milean empires.
Stonemark was only partially settled by the Avars in the early ages, and while their fortresses along the coast presented the template for all the current costal settlements, the interior has always been wild and free. The people of Stonemark are related to those of Llyria and the Free Cities, and speak the language of those regions (Llyric).
The philosophy of rulership in Stonemark is descended from the ancient rituals of kingship and patronage of the cross-straights kingdoms. However, this goblin influence has mingled with Avarine learning and Eylic prudence, producing a strong series of noble houses that constantly vie for control in Stonemark.
Called the “sleeping giant of the Trade Sea,” most other nations are not eager to anger Stonemark in any way. Indeed, in X422 the Thyrnessen monarch Sebatius Galoen imposed vast tarrifs on imported goods, the Stonemark Fleet blockaded the ports of Seareach, nearly starving the kingdom for trade. While Thyrnesse may make unbridled claims on the midlands, Stonemark far exceeds the power of any of the Northern trading powers in terms of technology and numbers when it comes to naval warfare.
Stonemark is currently ruled by Caldus Banthorn; his position is the Laird (or Lord) of Blackstone, which is the chief position in the feudal hierarchy. The Banthorn family recently grasped control of Blackstone (X488) during a coup against the previous Laird undertaken by his sworn house servants.
Stonemark is more like the goblin kingdoms from across the Straights of the Moon than it is like the feudal model presented by Thyrnesse. The top position in this rigid structure is the Laird of Blackstone who is constantly surrounded by his house-servants. These are invariably slaves purchased from abroad (often times Essad) and trained as children to serve their monarch. These house-servants are known Meyesh in Llyric.
See Nobility of Stonemark for more information on Stonemark politics.