Tall Tales from Talland
History of Talland
The Gnomish Conquest took place 1400 years ago. At the time, the humans were ruled by local tribal lords, with no unified culture or king. The superior gnomish navy soon established dominance over all the coastal regions, and after that the conquerors quickly marched inland and tamed the barbarians, taking all they did not slay as slaves, impressed by their size and strength.
During the conquest, the humans got desperate about their chances of success. In their plight, they turned to any power from outside that could help them, and their pleas were answered by Druj, a daemon from Abaddon. The humans summoned him to fight their gnomish opponents, but the ritual required the sacrifice of many innocents. In the end, the gnomes defeated Druj and sealed him underneath Talland, lest he be reborn in the Abaddon.
After the gnomes had finished their conquest, their admiral was named the first Lord Protector (governour) of the newly minted province, and the freshly captured slaves were put to work on grand construction projects, such as Castle Moranic, Braveport’s downtown, and most notably “The Cleave” in Sesbritch.
The name “Talland” was coined by the Gnomish conquerors, since the humans in the island were the first humanoids taller than themselves that they came across. It is unknown if the pre-conquest humans had a name of their island.
Sesbritch soon became the capital of the province, while the island of Shortport was preserved for the Gnomeland Navy as a western base of operations. After some centuries, human freemen started to rise in the social ladder, and establish their own power in Talland. The Lord Protectors decided to spare on the expenses by sending more gnome administrators home, and instead employing humans to keep their own folk in check.
After a stable society of human freemen had been established, they demanded representation in the government, and were allowed to vote for Lord Mayors to their settlements. At first, only slave-owning men were allowed to vote, but over time the system was revised. The gnomes realised that they could make money by taxing human merchants, manufacturers and businessmen, and chose to design the electoral system to be biased in favour of such folks.
Over time, gnomish control of Talland grew less and less visible, aside from the presence of the Lord Protector (who had the power to veto any decision by the city councils, but rarely used it), gnomish taxmen, and the fleet at Shortport.
The Talland War for Independence was preceded by several factors which gave raise into nationalistic feelings and anti-gnome sentiments among the Tallish populace. Though none was more prominent than the final gnomish Lord Protector, Fanera Finnas, who went mad three years after gaining the position, and started vetoing every choice by the city councils. He also made a demand to deflower the daughter of the Sesbritch Lord Mayor, threatening to have her father beheaded if his request was not met.
A young freed slave from Redwind Isle, who has gone down in history simply as Redwind, started the rebellion along with four escaped slaves. Together, they snuck to Shortport and set the Gnomeland Western Fleet on fire in the dock, and took the admiral captive. Gnomeland ignored their request to trade the admiral’s life for Talland’s freedom, and the Lord Mayors hesitantly joined Redwind’s cause, declaring independence.
While Redwind rallied an army of peasants, commoners and slaves to his cause and fought the gnomes and loyalists across Talland, the Lord Mayors elected their own Lord Protector, who built a small navy to block off the eventual gnomish counterattack. Redwind told his followers that gnomish institutions such as slavery would be abolished after the war, but the Lord Protector remained silent on the matter.
The final battle of the war was fought just east of Westwatch one hundred and one years ago, Gnomeland’s eastern fleet facing against Talland’s greatly outmatched ships, as well as a mercenary fleet hired from Minaerum. Redwind died in the battle, but the war was won.
With both gnomish fleets decimated, the Lord Protector hired the Minaerite mercenary vessels as privateers to effectively blockade Gnomeland, and thus ensure Talland’s independence. New legistlation was quickly established to cement the Lord Protector’s place as the head of state, while protecting the power of the Lord Mayors.
Talks of the abolishment of slavery were silenced by the huge debt the state had sunk into during the war. Instead, the new government put its focus on strengthening its economic situation and establishing good relations with continental nations. However, trade flowing through Sesbritch soon dried out, with Gnomeland blockaded.
Three years after gaining independence, Talland finally signed a peace treaty with Gnomeland, agreeing to end the blockade in exchange for Rediwnd Isle and Redrock Isle. Within months, Gnomeland became its most valuable trade partner.