Thieves & Kings
The Iberian City-States
The Iberian City-States, also known as “The Riverlands”, are a region of well-watered farmlands, dominated by five (formerly four) wealthy city-kingdoms, that together form the “Lord’s Alliance of the Iberian City-States”, simply known as “Iberia” to most. Each city-state is led by a High-Lord, effectively barons who maintains their position through careful deployment of their armies, combined with an aggressive trade network. All of the High-Lords meet together at least once a year, and are more than willing to put aside their individual differences when an outside power threatens their autonomy. Although a balkanized region driven by fierce nationalism, their collective might has kept many barbarian hordes from establishing another Imperium in the eastern heartlands.
The “Acknowledgement of Restraint” is a policy of non-interference between the dominions of Iberia, which nonetheless allows the city-states to quietly and under veils of secrecy, engage in diplomacy and covert manipulation. Each town and city within the Lord’s Alliance elect their own officials, and set their own internal policies. This has resulted in a somewhat muddled variety of internal laws, each tied to a universal norm among the states. For example, in Iberia, all weapons longer than a hands-length must be bound with the Watchman’s Knot, a cloth of blue fabric that restrains ease of drawing from scabbard. Nonetheless, Crebain nobles must, by law, be armed and bear blades in their own defense, thus forcing each noble to pay a tax for the right to bear a blade, yet restraining them in potential duels or to defend themselves.
Symbol of the Kingdoms of the Riverlands
Each High-Lord rules a private dominion; the dark realm of Crebain to the west, built on the shores of Lake Evendim and amid the dark eaves of the northern Grandwood; stalwart Nurelia, another port city built on the shores of Lake Aeluin, and dominated by the red stone of the Sara Bask; glittering Serelind, heart of Iberia and leader of its trade and armies in war; fierce Pagostra, bulwark of Iberia against the raging nomads of the north; and quiet Kephira, breadbasket of the dominions. While there are some smaller towns and semi-independent domains, they generally operate under the banner of their closest city-state in most matters.
Trade and town life are key in Iberia, and the combined city-states control the overland trade networks that feed through them, with important trade routes such as the King’s Road leading west into the Border Kingdoms, the Silver Road heading north and east through the Kingdom of Brak to terminate in the Kingdom of Azadmere, and the Forest Walk, a recent creation that links the important trade city of Katarre south with the City of Bright Sails. The Hordelands also trade south into Iberia, bringing their own valuable trade goods, sometimes including furs, gems and other goods from far north.
Banner of the Army of the River Dragon
Their combined militias, each with distinctive colors and crests, are often supported by smaller trade towns and their own allied militia. While often not very professional, the combined militias of Iberia are a fearsome force when fully mustered, and no one could long stand against a force of their tens of thousands of infantry and cavalry. The sight of the combined war rune of the High-Lords, its official mustering of combined militia is known as the Army of the River Dragon, and each militia force musters under it when they rise to meet an external (and sometimes internal) threat.