Galli is a large and organized monarchy bordering (and rival to) the Kaselreich. It is known for a glorious nobility and a relative lack of internal strife.
There is a town in Galli, in the Duchy of Lutancoup, where people go missing and forgotten. Not homeless people or drunks, but respectable members of society. Town officials. Craftsmen whose assignments are due, tradesmen whose debts must be paid. They simply vanish. A Dacian steel firm was the first to notice, when an enormous shipment of forged pickaxe heads went unpaid for, and filed a complaint with the Baron of the region. When it went unanswered, they filed a complaint with the Count. When that went unanswered, they filed a complaint with the Duke. When that went unanswered, they closed off all shipments to the country until the King sent them a reply:
"What is a Lutancoup?" the reply came, "and where in my demesne does it reside?"
It is in the center of the country, not a few leagues south of the capital. Yet no man in Galli can name the province, nor can any recall its space existing. What was thirty leagues has become fifteen. What was fifty has become ten. The place has been erased from every Gallian map, and every Gallian mind. But the Dacians, the Illegosi, the Kamens, they remember.
What sits at the dark heart of this nonexistent province? Men have been dispatched to find the truth. One group of five returned as three, and insisted they had found nothing. They also insisted that there had only ever been three of them. Many agents did not return at all. None could attest to events--even, in one instance, under torture.
Only one man returned with information--the mad servant of a Gallain inspector, who spoke of screaming and mouths in the streets that ate his master.
The King of Galli has quietly placed a large reward on answers. The Dacian Steel Export Guild has started assembling a team of madmen to investigated. The Unkindlies have recently reported that a raven from the King's coop may have gotten lost in Galli...
History[edit | edit source]
The War of The Ninety Kings[edit | edit source]
This was an event which would later be remembered to most as Gallian Civil War. Henri II, the King of Galli, had pursued a very successful, but not very lucrative war with Emperor Maximilian of the Reich, and while he had secured several legitimate claims for himself, his promise of huge wealth, ransoms, and plunder for his nobles who worked twice over through harvest season on his behalf went unfulfilled.
What followed was a rebellion in which Galli threatened to dissolve into over ninety autonomous regions, each demanding that it be recognized as independent from the crown. In other words, every man wanted to be king unto himself, hence the war's name. King Henri was exhausted after the war with the Reich, and was further suffering from the gout, which made him unable to ride to war. His son, Louis, went in his stead.
Louis took out enormous loans from multiple sources, including The Dacian Bank, The Desoto League, The Hurtsickle Society (an organization in Karthack of all places) and even, in a roundabout way, from the Ruvian Church. With the colossal amount of money he gained from these sources, he was able to hire an enormous mercenary army, and crushed the rebellious lords who had risen up expecting to face a depleted and weak King Henri. (After all, they WERE Henri's feudal army.)
The war was short, but outlandishly brutal. The assembled rebel lords gathered in a show of strength, hoping to convince Louis and his father to sign an accord, a Magna-Carta-esque document guaranteeing certain rights to the nobility and restricting the authority of the crown.
Instead, Louis attacked the larger (but worse prepared) rebel host, and crushed them. The purge that followed took almost a year. Hundreds of old families were uprooted and destroyed, exiled, or forcibly absorbed into others. A new nobility was installed in the hundreds of confiscated baronies.
The resulting Galli was one that, for a large part was run by feudal lords who directly owed Louis for their rank. The young nobility are fiercely loyal to him, whereas the old nobility who remain are mostly those who remained loyal during the civil war, but are still concerned at all of the upstarts enjoying their new positions.
There is also the very legitimate concern of the enormous debt owed to various sources by the Gallian Crown. With Henri's death, Louis (now "The XIX") has been working tirelessly to recoup the huge amount of money required to pay for his kingdom. His greatest step forward to that end has been his attempted monopoly on Cohiba imports, which he secured using some of the leftover money from the war. That's gone a long way, but the amount of money owed is truly prodigious, many times over the Crown's yearly income. There are genuine concerns that Galli may have to default on some or all of their debt, or else renegotiate the terms of repayment so that the realm's upkeep does not suffer.
This would be about fifteen years before the "present day," so probably... Seven years before Gizka's antics. Louis intends to pay the debt honestly, if he can, so that he can perhaps get a loan again in a bad situation. At the very least he had the good sense not to end up in debt to mercenaries who could then rampage through his country, but having a bunch of different banks pissed off at you isn't much better at all.
Military[edit | edit source]
The bulk of Galli's army is made up of Sergeants (Servants) who fight as heavy cavalry or infantry.
Every member of the Gallian nobility is required to furnish a number of Sergeants determined by the size of their estate for their lord's use in times of war. The number can be as small as one (oftentimes just being the noble himself, if he cannot afford a mercenary or a man at arms) or as many as hundreds.
As such, a Gallian army tends to be made up of professional soldiers raised by hundreds of different lords, and they often lack organization and a clear hierarchy of command. Their impetuousness and hunger for glory and ransoms has gotten them into trouble before, and has also motivated the Crown under Louis XIX to form a core of retainers to provide an organized, disciplined center around which the feudal elements of his army can organize.
These men, called the Maison du Roi, are the King's "House Guard," though in practice there are far more of them than can fit in even the largest of the great castles and manors of Galli. At one time they were heavy horse, but since the War of the 99 Kings, they have been transformed into a force of heavy arquebusiers, using a larger, more powerful version of the arquebus that can penetrate almost any armor.
In terms of discipline, loyalty, and organization, these men are equaled by few. The Eisenspiess of the Reich, and perhaps the Pontifatrix Guard and certain Tigurnzer units can claim to be a match for them, though that claim wouldn't go uncontested.
Most of the Gallian knightly orders were destroyed or disbanded during the War of 99 Kings. Those who survived were dismantled by the King and and new laws were implemented to prevent the forming of knightly orders consisting of more than twelve landed men.
The result is that Gallian knightly orders are fairly small, and tend to be local in membership and influence. However, this has not prevented some orders from grouping together and adopting similar motifs and rules, and clandestinely cooperating. The air of secrecy surrounding such "secret" societies (the King is aware of almost all of them, and a member of at least three) has become part of the allure. These days, being a member of a knightly society is considered equivalent to being part of the Skull & Bones at Yale. It is almost a requisite for achieving any high office in Galli.
Culture[edit | edit source]
Two centuries ago, a mechanical bird capable of singing the King's favorite song was gifted to him for his birthday by a Burdinadin emissary from Glade Occil. Every year on the King's birthday (traditionally, the birthday of whichever king is currently reigning) another emissary arrives, and "teaches" the bird a new song of the King's choice. The bird can now sing over two hundred songs on request, in a very beautiful voice.
The King's Songbird has become the center of a sort of cult of music, as bards from across the land journey there to hear ancient songs sung perfectly as they were known at the time when the bird learned them. New songs are presented for approval, thousands every year, to contest for the chance of being taught to the bird on the King's birthday.