- "All the nobles ride Pegasus and so forget that the rest of us need roads to get around. Double all travel time estimates if you want to be sure."
- —Eldegar of Busreq, Coachman[1a]
The Dukedom of Parravon is a founding Dukedom that lies upon the southern reaches of the Grey Mountains. Forming one of the three ducal barriers between the lands of the Empire and other Ducal lands, Parravon commands the southern territories centered around the Grey Lady Pass, one of three routes that allows trade between Bretonnia and the Empire. Just like the Dukedoms of Montfort and Gisoreux, the Dukedom of Parravon lies almost exclusively upon the rocky peaks of the southern Grey Mountains, with what little flatland being devoted to agriculture.[1a]
As such, many of Parravon's castles are built upon cliffs and peaks amongst the mountain range. Such a high altitude has ensured that Parravon is particularly noted for having a large number of Pegasus and Pegasus Knights amongst their ranks. Indeed, for their founding Duke had befriended the noble Glorfinial, lord and sire of all Royal Pegasus. Their current ruler is the young Duke Cassyon.[1a]
- "We grant them that forest on sufferance. We watch them carefully, and if they become a threat to us or the forest, we will disembowel them and hang their entrails from the branches."
- —Lessiantar, Elven warband leader[1a]
In some ways, Parravon is reminiscent of Gisoreux: most of the territory of the dukedom is covered by either mountains or forest. However, the forest in Parravon is the north-eastern portion of the Forest of Loren, a very different place from the Forest of Arden. Most of the border between Parravon and the realm of the Fay runs along the River Grismerie. Where the river turns south, however, the border turns north to meet the mountains. The border is marked by a line of trees, guided over centuries into an elaborate network of interlocking branches. Even the most city-bred Dwarf can tell that they are not natural. The Fay stay out of Parravon and expect the Parravonese to return the favor. Deliberate trespassers are dealt with harshly.[1a]
The Bretonnians are very reluctant to log extensively within the Forest of Loren, even the part that the Fay have permitted them to claim. There is a sense that the whole forest is very closely connected to the Lady of the Lake and is therefore sacred. Wood from the forest is often used in the construction of Grail Chapels but, even then, the use is sparing. Those villages within the forest live by herding pigs, gathering from the forest, and minimal farming. Many are built around the trees rather than clearing them, and most have platforms in the branches to serve as refuges from attacking Orcs.[1a]
Much of the population of Parravon is found in Parravon Vale, a fertile valley cradled in the mountains. The land around the edge is pastoral, but the central portion, running down to the River Grismerie, is arable. Villages here look much like typical Bretonnian settlements. The Grey Mountains become less sharp and jagged as they pass through Parravon, so the number of people who can live and farm there increases. Villages clinging to cliff faces exist in the north, but south of the city of Parravon there is more flat and infertile land, so most houses are built on the level. No one in the mountains would build a house on fertile land, however, so homes fixed to steep slopes can be seen in all regions.[1a]
The castles of Parravon are noted for their high towers. In the forest, this allows lookouts to see over the trees, although they can’t really see anything approaching through the forest itself. Elsewhere, it is an architectural preference more than anything else, though knights with Pegasus mounts do often stable them at the top of such towers. Most Pegasus appreciate being high up.[1a]
The People Edit
- "The Fay have entrusted this part of the forest to us. If we betray that trust, the trees themselves will weep. And the Fay will come, disembowel us, and hang our entrails from the branches."
- —Old Euric, Village Elder [1a]
The forest folk of Parravon stand somewhat apart from the rest of the population. Many ordinary Bretonnians think that they are part Fay (which is nonsense) and that they have some sort of extraordinary sense for the hazards of the world around them (which is true). The forest folk move through the world as if they could be punished with death for scraping against a tree. Even those who leave try to disturb nothing, including piles of rubbish. Many of those who leave do so because they are tired of feeling that they are constantly watched by forces only too willing to punish infractions.[1a]
The rest of the Parravonese travel a lot. For centuries, it has been the custom for children to leave home at adolescence and be raised by relatives in a different village. After that, they travel to yet another village to be properly trained. When they marry, they are expected to settle in still another place. This scatters families across the dukedom, but family members still gather for one of the annual holidays, almost always a summer one. This also has the unexpected benefit of reducing the amount of inbreeding which is so common amongst Bretonnian peasantry. Parravonese nobles have similar customs and so invariably grant permission to travel for these purposes.[1a]
On one hand, this means that Parravonese know that there is a world outside their village and are confident about travel. On the other, they tend to think they have seen everything already, and anything that is true all over Parravon is true all over the world. The combination of these attitudes and the willingness of Parravonese nobles to permit travel have led to very large numbers of adventurers coming from this dukedom. Whilst many head home after their first adventure when the world proves a bit too different, others persevere.[1a]
The internal politics of the dukedom appear to be calm and harmonious. However, Duke Cassyon’s neglect of the diplomatic functions of his office has led to growing resentments under the surface. Two lords in the north of the dukedom, Sir Liutpol and Sir Fredergar, have been disputing over the right to gather a toll at a particular point on the River Grismerie for years. There is no sign of a ducal resolution, and a feud between them would have a serious effect on river trade and thus on the whole dukedom.[1a]
External relations are generally good, but that may not last. Sir Chloderic, in the extreme south, is eyeing the mountains to the south of his fief acquisitively. They are part of the Empire, but they do not seem to be firmly held, and he suspects that there may exploitable veins of metal. When he makes a move, he will technically be invading the Empire, and once the Empire notices, the repercussions will be profound.[1a]