Map by Anna B. Meyer
Yeoman Freehold is situated in a valley between the Jotens and the Tors in the southwest corner of the greater Sheldomar Valley. The moderately sized realm is nearly surrounded by the Crystalmists and its spurs, though its eastern border with Keoland is generally regarded as the western bank of the Javan across from the county of Cryllor. Its border continues south to where the great river enters the Hool Marshes and the lands of the Sea Princes. The climate is hot nearly year-round in the central valley, though the temperature moderates as one approach the foothills, particularly in late fall and winter. The Yeomanry is a land populated largely by freemen farmers, who are mostly a Suel-Flan mix. With foodstuffs and cloth the major industries of the nation, the town of Longspear on the eastern border forms the major trading center for the country and the destination for most of its excess goods. Here, foreign visitors are usually welcomed, and much commerce is conducted, particularly with Keoland, the Yeomanry's nearest neighbor.
The Suel had been migrating to this area for centuries before the Twin Cataclysms. These people were mostly lowborn peasantry of the Suel Imperium, but dissidents were also among their number, seeking to avoid imperial eyes. Mostly they sought a peaceful existence and did not venture far when they entered the Flanaess. They settled the high valleys between the Jotuns and the Tors and mingled freely with the local Flan inhabitants. These new lands extended as far as the Javan River and were well explored. Explorers among these settlers had established mining communities and scouting outposts decades before the great migrations took place and these became small but notable settlements, such as Melkot in the Tors and Alran on the coast of Jeklea Bay. But these lands were still of little importance to the Imperium and no attention was paid to them.
Oeridians also migrated into the area and settled there. These newcomers were readily accepted by the inhabitants as long as they did not infringe on the lands or rights of those already living there.
In the century following the Great Migrations, a powerful Suel mage conquered these lands and subjugated the people. This tyrannical wizard was known as LordAsberdies and had emerged from the Dreadwood some years after the terrible destruction of the infamous House Malhel. Asberdies reign was nothing more than a vain attempt to resurrect the Imperium. His outrages eventually grew unbearable and the people rose up and overthrew him.
In the aftermath of this securing of their independence, the citizen-warriors realized that they had formed the framework of a new government. They elected spokesmen who in turn appointed leaders to direct the affairs of the new realm. These elected men came to be known as Grosspokesmen and they created the office of Freeholder, essentially an administrator elected to run the government, the military and to conduct foreign policy.
Approximately two centuries later (-96 CY) these leaders met with representatives of the Kingdom of Keoland to discuss a possible merger of the two realms. The Grosspokesmen and Freeholder were welcomed as members of the Council of Niole Dra and treated as peers within the greater realm. All went well for four centuries, the Yeomanry's military was influential in aiding King Tavish I in his efforts to conquer the Pomarj and the southern lands that eventually became the Hold of the Sea Princes.
But this cooperation ended suddenly during the reign of Tavish II, when the wars turned from being defensive in nature to outright aggression. In 361 CY the Yeomanry withdrew its forces from keoish armies and closed its borders. Reconciliation between the two nations was only achieved over a century later when Tavish IV recognized the Yeomanry's complete independence. The Yeomanry has enjoyed a more peaceful existence since that time.
Some dozen years ago a cavernous bore was found at the foot of the Crystalmists in the western end of the realm. This tunnel supposedly pierces the mountain range and leads all the way to the Sea of Dust. The lost, but newly found Passage of Slerotin has brought much-unwanted attention to the Yeomanry as hordes of adventurers, fortune seekers, and worse flock to the realm.
This activity is located approximately 12 miles from the city of Westburn. A new town has been built at that location called Dark Gate, the activity is centered around the town and a frontier economy exist there.
The national capital is Loftwick. The Yeomanry is one of the very few representative governments in Flanaess. The Yeomanry is a Democratic Republic, ruled by His Steadfastness, Marius Lindon. This "ruler" is called "the Freeholder," and is the "Spokesman for the Yeomanry League." The Freeholder is an elected official who is the "executive" branch of the government, he conducts diplomacy, negotiates treaties and commands the military. The Council of Common Grosspokemen is the "parlimentary" branch handling all legislative matters; all adult citizens who have performed military service for the state, or are gainfully employed, have the right to vote, regardless of race or gender.
Any citizen of majority who has carried a spear for the nation, either now or in the past, is eligible to elect spokesmen on his behalf from his community. In turn these spokesmen elect representatives, until one reaches the approximately one-hundred-member Council of Common Grosspokesmen. The council meets in the capital of Loftwick four times a year during the festival weeks to decide the affairs of the nation. These delegates act largely as a legislative body, and choose from among the greater landowners of the nation a citizen to act as Freeholder. The Freeholder is charged with being the chief administrator of the nation, and he also directs diplomacy and the heads the armies of the Yeomanry by leading the Free Captains of the Battles. The current Freeholder is Marius Lindon, a ranger from the eastern territories of the Yeomanry. He has held the office for scarcely two years, but was chosen for his expertise in dealing with the nonhuman invasions that have increased with frequency in recent years.
Despite its wealth and strength, the Yeomanry does not seek political muscle in the Flanaess. Keoland is distrusted because of its historical ambitions on the land, and there is a powerful mood against sending aid to the north. People are aware that, had this happened during the Greyhawk Wars, the Yeomanry might have fallen to giants. The Yeomanry extends support directly only to the demihumans in the hills and mountains around its borders, and maintains its excellent armies of spearmen, crossbowmen, mountain troops, elvish spear and bow units, and dwarven mailed infantry.
Giants from the Jotens now raid and threaten the capital city of Loftwick and the Freeholder is fearful that the Yeomanry might suffer in the same manner as the March of Sterich and the Grand Duchy of Geoff. Wastrian clerics have appeared in the Hool Marshes and are suspected of raiding as far north as the Little Hills. Numerous refuges from the Hold of the Sea Princes are proving a problem and causing troubles for southern landholders.
Some 2500 Yeomanry mercenaries are still employed by Keoland and the Freeholder wants them recalled, a move to which Keoland strongly objects. Keoland has made many veiled threats against the Yeomanry, and the possibility of war is something that has been thought about for years. The only thing keeping the Yeomanry from being swallowed by Keoland is that the Principality of Ulek, one of the Yeomanry's staunchest allies, lies just east of Keoland. The tension with Keoland also stems from the fact that Keoland did not support the Yeomanry League during the Greyhawk Wars, when the Yeomanry was invaded by a massive force of giants.
All thirty-two inhabitants of a small village ten miles from Dark Gate disappeared two months ago with no clue as to their abductors or where they may have been taken.
The most populous towns are Loftwick (pop. 8,400), Longspear (pop. 7,700), Farvale (pop. 4,400), North Reach (pop. 3,700), and Westburn (pop. 2,500). The total population of the Yeomanry totaled 305,900 persons, almost 80% being humans of Suel and Oeridian descent. Halflings(predominatly Stouts) make up the next largest group (9%), followed by elves (5%), dwarves (3%), and gnomes (2%), while half-elves, and half-orcs make up the remainder of the population (at 1% each).
The most popular deities among the Yeomanry's citizens are Phaulkon, Heironeous, Allitur, Fortubo, Fharlanghn, Trithereon, Zilchus,Delleb, Joramy, Norebo, Kord, as well as the halfling and dwarven pantheons.
The most widely-spoken languages found in the Yeomanry include Common, Keolandish, Halfling, and Elvish.
The state is divided into five High Districts (which are centered around the largest towns and their governed domains) and thirty-one Low Districts (made up of the more rural areas and their scattered villages).
The Yeomanry's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Argent, three spears pilewise meeting in point gules.
Foodstuffs and cloth are the major industry in the Yeomanry, though silver and gem stones play their part. The city of Longspear, on the eastern border, is the major trading center. Most foreign visitors and traders pass through Longspear and much commerce is conducted here as most of the nation's excess goods pass through this city as well.
The Yeomanry is wealthy from trade, but does not import mercenaries to defend the vital silver and gem mines in its hills and the Jotens; it is proud to protect them itself in alliance with dwarves, strengthened by refugees from Sterich. The state is also notable for a small minority of high elves, who are important in commerce and trade and also form the core of a small but powerful group of mages centered around Loftwick. The Yeomanry is noted for producing a variety of foodstuffs, cloth, silver, and very high quality gems.
The Yeomanry's standard coinage consists of the gold "freegold" (gp), the electrum "halfgold" (ep), the silver "silver" (sp), and the copper "common" (cp).
Nearly all common men and women of the Yeomanry own at least leather armor, a hand weapon, and a bow of some kind, and many own polearms as well. Landowners equip their peasants with such armor and weapons and train them in self-defense militia as a matter of course. The Yeomanry's army consists of heavy polearms, lighter spearmen, crossbowmen, and slingers. The greater freeholders provide small cavalry contingents. The demi-humans also provide troops as they are also electors of the land; Elvish spearmen and bowmen, dwarvish mailed foot, and halfling light troops all sally forth when the Yeomanry is mustered.