Cadriyal is a northern realm of Gard, on the border with Urst. Cadriyal is large and heavily forested, and populated by people with a mix of human and elven blood. Like other realms, Cadriyal enjoys a good deal of autonomy from the Empire, but Cadriyal has an especially loose connection to the rest of Gard, often expressing isolationist tendencies.
During the era of Gideon, the forests of Northeastern Occident were conquered in the early days of the Empire. The elves made an arrangement with the Emperor at that time to pay a tribute of bows, arrows, and archers to Gideon each year, in exchange for the right to have their own king who would acknowledge the Emperor as overlord.
This arrangement continued until the waning days of the Empire. Calling himself a god, the Emperor again invaded the forests of the elves. The elves put up heavy resistance, however. Gideonese forces only got partway into the forest before the Empire unexpectedly and suddenly collapsed in 417 BP.
During the Age of Conflict that followed, the human soldiers and their descendants engaged in a bitter war with the elves for control of the occupied part of the forest – a land which the elves called “Riyal”, and the humans called “Cadonia”. The elves in the northern part of the forest which the humans had never touched withdrew from the conflict, leaving that war-torn region to fend for itself.
As the years went on, the violence became more and more savage. People on both sides began to regret the war, but their leaders pushed them forward. The war seemed like it would never end.
Peace finally came in 49 BP. The daughter of the human general and the son of the elvish king fell in live and were wed. Their marriage gave the leaders of both sides a dignified way to exit the war, and set an example eagerly followed by war-weary humans and elves. Interracial marriages became very common. Human were allowed to live in the forest, under elvish laws and customs. The new kingdom was called Cadriyal.
Cadriyal was conquered by Gard in year 0, and a new king was installed – King Pardumatosor, a brass dragon then posing as an elf. In the early years of his rule, he tried to set up a feudal system much like Chester’s, granting titles to those closest to him. This system was seen as arbitrary and tyrannical, and nearly resulted in revolt. The king salvaged the situation by “dying” in his current elf form, taking the form of the new king, and rolling all the policies back.
The realm is now run in what Cadriyalis think of as the traditional elven way. King Pardumatosor is the sole legal authority, whose decrees are law. But the Cadriyali military, which is better described as a border guard, is not personally loyal to the king, and with neither a bureaucracy nor aristocracy beneath him, the King has no way to actually enforce his laws if there is not wide consensus for them. A thrice-yearly meeting of the Council of Cadriyal, a large gathering of elders, discusses the state of affairs of the realm with the King so that he can learn the desires of the people.
Despite the limited form of government, public initiatives and laws are wide sweeping. The typical Cadriyali way is to solve a problem by consulting a group, preferably a large group, rather than using personal initiative. Therefore the government, by wide agreement, has standardized banned religions, regulations on the manufacture and sale of bows, emergency procedures for lost children, and many more issues that would be considered not the government’s business anywhere else.
Cadriyal takes up much of northern Gard. To the southwest is Eustace, to the southeast is Wick, and to the north is Urst. The border between Urst and Cadriyal partitions the forest of which Cadriyal is a part. It is lightly patrolled, and not well demarcated. This has led to an uncounted number of incidents over the centuries. Visitors to northern Cadriyal would be wise to get a local guide.
The land of Cadrial is two-thirds covered in dense forestation. The remaining third is mostly hilly plains. A very small portion of the plains is farmed using conventional methods. Most Cadriyalis live in harmony with the land, in the elven style… more or less.
There are many villages in Cadriyal, and two cities of note. The larger city, close to the Wickish border, is known as Fort Cade, having grown up around the central command of the human side during the war. Tropage, the capital, is much more ancient, a elven city in the trees.
Since the end of the war five centuries ago, it has become more common than not in Cadriyal these days to have both human and elven heritage. Although anyone with at least 3/4 human ancestry is considered a human (and those with at least 3/4 elf ancestry are considered elves), full-blooded humans are virtually a thing of the past. A number of full-blood elves remain, because elves reproduce less frequently than humans, and not all elves actively seek human mates. But very few full elves are being born any more. The elf purists and human supremacists have all emigrated, to the northern forests or human realms, respectively.
This mix has produced a distinct Cadriyali culture. Individual freedom and group consensus are tightly-held values. Harmony with nature is still a way of life, but so is expansion as Cadriyalis spread out to parts of the deep forest where the elves of old had never settled. Cadriyali song and poetry is unique in Gard. Even the language there is odd – most people speak a patois that others disparagingly call “Gelven” because it mixes the Gardish Common tongue and Elven. (Gelven is not properly its own language, but can be spoken by anyone who speaks both Common and Elven.)
Among other Gardishmen and Gardishwomen, the stereotype of a Cadriyali is someone who is almost condescendingly polite. It is said that a Cadriyali will agree with almost any proposition in order to avoid arguments. Later, the Cadriyali will gossip about you with his friends in Gelven gobbledygook so you can’t understand. This may be an exaggeration, but it is quite frequent for Cadriyali conflict-avoidance to be seen as passive aggresion by others. Cadriyali culture disfavors competition and personal ambition, though group ambition is very highly regarded.
Cadriyal is both physically isolated and culturally separate from the rest of Gard. The capital of Gideon City is distant. Cadriyalis resent the frequent clashes with Arcland, and political hostility to Urst. The secession crisis showed that leaving the Empire wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.
The idea of leaving the Empire is floating around in Cadriyal, and has been since well before the dragons were revealed in 451. In fact, they’ve been complaining for so long that by now, hardly anyone pays them much attention. It’s just the same old tune again. Besides, while it’s possible that a majority of Cadriyalis would like to leave the Empire, it’s by no means a consensus.
Religion in Cadriyal is a very personal decision, but worship is often done in group settings, so different gods tend to be popular in different villages. Full temples to any god are rare in Cadriyal, except in the cities, but little shrines can be found almost everywhere, especially in the deepest parts of the forest.
The most popular gods in Cadriyal are Ielda, Avillion, Lotheria, and Nameless. A popular myth is that Ielda is the daughter of the human god Lotheria and elven god Sidarch, who had hated each other for a long time before discovering love (incarnated as Ielda, the product of their union). This story is an obvious parallel of the historical events surrounding Cadriyal’s birth, although Cadriyali priests love to tell it.
The worship of evil gods is strictly banned, as is the worship of Kyon. Ironically, Kyon and Saralek are both especially hated and often seen as two sides of the same coin – though they are polar opposites in alignment. To the Cadriyalis, they represent the competition and racial supremacy that led to the terrible war centuries ago.
Cadriyal is the only major realm without a human majority. There are more half-elves than humans there. Even the humans mostly have some elven blood, and many elves have human blood. A few gnomes and halflings can be seen in Cadriyal, but dwarves and orcs are extraordinarily rare.