Dwarves and Orcs
Kingdom of Alba
History of Alba
In the summer of 839, Orcish raiders killed the Mountain Dwarf Kings Eogan mac Aonghaisa of Fortriu, and Aed mac Boanta of Dal Riata. A dwarven fighter, Cinaed Mac Alpin spent the next eight years uniting the clans and fighting off the Orcish raiders. Cinaed Mac Alpin was crowned High King of the Clans of Alba in 849. He established the palace at Dun Chaillean and ruled for 11 more years. All High Kings of Alba since have claimed descent from the line of Cinaed.
The Hill Dwarf Kingdoms in the West were wealthier and more organized at the time. However, they too have fallen to the orcish raids. The kingdoms of Srath Chluaidh, Carraig, Ghaidhealaibh, and Lodainn have all crumbled in the past century and a half. Their hilltop fortresses are ruined, their royal families scattered and obscure, their clans conflicted and powerless.
King Mael Coluim “the Destroyer” mac Cinaed annexed what remained of the Kingdom of Lodain in 1018, expelling the Orcs of Eastumbria. King Owen “the Bald”, King of Srath Chluaidh, died in the same campaign, and Mael Coluim annexed his kingdom to Alba as well. The lands of Ghaidhealaibh and Carraig are currently both under the rule of the Orcs of the Northneyjar Coast.
Mael Coluim died in 1034, leaving no sons to inherit his throne. His eldest grandson, Duncan mac Crinan “the sick” now sits as High King of Alba.
Political Structure of Alba
Clans of Alba
See Clans of Alba for more
The Clans rule their respective holdings and are the basic political unit of Alba. A minor clan may consist of a single extended family, their lands, and a fortified manor. Minor clans are governed by a Chieftain.
A major clan will consist of extensive holdings, with liege-families, standing armies, cities carved in to mountains, and enough wealth to maintain representation in the King’s court, and wield political clout. The major clans are ruled by a “Mormaer.”
A large liege-family of a Major Clan holding a manor house will hold the title “Laird.” The High King claims fealty from the Clan Chieftains and Mormaers, the Mormaers claim fealty from their Lairds.
In Alba, clans are proud and powerful, commanding military forces in their own right. When Orcs attack, clans are usually left to defend themselves and their holdings. The common dwarf turns to the clan for safety, and offers them their alliegiance. T
The High King claims the right to resolve and administer conflicts between clans—this is what Thanes are usually used for on a regional basis—however, conflicts involving major Clans must be carefully managed, and may be brought directly to the attention of the king as needed.
The High King and Court
The High King rules from Dun Chaillean, the seat of Cinead Mac Alpin, and holds a “Royal Court” each winter. Serving the High King is the “High Council”, to manage the kingdom. Each member of the council is appointed by the High King.
The High King, on the advice of the council, also appoints “Thanes” to act as regional administrators and representatives of the Crown. The thanes serve as regional nobility and have a personal royal charter granting them the authority they wield.
Officers of the High Council:
- The Royal Stewart: manages the King’s household
- The Royal Chamberlain: manages the royal finances… such as they are.
- The Royal Constable: organizes the King’s military forces
- The Royal Marischal: organizes the Clans’ military forces and officers, and royal intelligence.
- The Royal Chancellor: keeps the royal seal, advises the king on behalf of the clergy
- The Royal Magister: keeps the royal records, advises the king on behalf of the mages
Bishops of Alba
Cities of Alba
See Cities in and near Alba for more information
The cities of Alba are small compared to those that can be found in Mercia, Franconia and the Empire. More than five hundred souls is considered noteworthy. Mountain Dwarf cities are built of stone, and climb the face of cliffs and steep hills or mountains, and can feel almost vertical. Hill Dwarf cities are built on gentler slopes, with wood framing and slate roofs, but keep that vertical feeling. Human and elf cities are built in valleys in the presence of good farmland. Elf cities are made of stone. Human cities are built of wood. Orc cities are built in the ruins of those founded by others, built to intimidate, and can feel haphazard in construction.