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Dullens--Arena 13

The city of Dullens was founded several hundred years ago by a displaced tribe of Rirorni nomads, who, during several generations of tribal wars, had been forced northward. (As seems proper for the founders of Dullens, they always chose the losing side to fight on.) For some years the tribe, known as the Vehan Khalani among themselves, lived peacefully on the plains east of Jhelum and south of Mordant and Niania. These plains were at the time part of the Osksi Empire, but as they were so far from the capitol, the Osksi nobles paid little attention to the small tribe of intruders. In fact, what few reports of the Vehan Khalani that did reach Osksi itself got the name wrong. The tribe was recorded in the city archives as the "Wenklan"--giving rise to the horde of derogatory nicknames later attached to the tribe--Winkies, Winkles, Twinklies, and the like.

The growing power of Mordant prompted many inhabitants of Niania, Jhelum, and other smaller towns along the Osksi/Mordant border to move east to escape the frequent raids and looting. These displaced farmers, tradesmen and craftsmen joined with and eventually intermarried with the more warlike horsemen of the Vehan Kalani. The essential character of Dullens was forged long before the city was built--a people tough, stubborn, self-reliant and unimaginative, but capable of a few surprises when least expected. The nomads were a matriarchal culture, ruled by a class of women known as Deciders. This aspect of their culture was considerably diluted by intermarriage with the locals, but many of the noble houses of Dullens still count descent through the female line.

Dullens itself was not built until almost a hundred years after the nomads settled on the plain. A series of clashes with the still-nomadic southern tribes on one side and the continuing encroachment of Mordant and Osksi on the other convinced the people of the plains that they needed a stronghold. After one particularly effective raid pushed a large portion of the population to the very edge of the forests to the north, the current Decider, Tirub, decreed that a fort should be built. Dullens was originally built out of wood and suffered a number of severe fires in its history. The first major export was lumber, but the forests that far south were sparse, and the woods around the city were soon logged out. Extensive farming was carried out on the plains to the south, and for many generations Dullens was one of the major grain producers of Alastari. The other main export, discovered after the forest was gone, is salt. Dullens is below sea level and there are two large salt lakes within a day's ride of the city.

About a hundred years ago, Mordant finally conquered Dullens, more or less by accident on its way to conquer Lapur and Morya. For some twenty years Dullens was considered part of the Delarquan Federation, and certain outdated reference sources still list it as such. The Mordant Conquest still stands as the major disaster of the city's history. The huge armies of Mordant marched and countermarched across the fields of Dullens throughout the driest summer in recorded memory, burning crops wherever they went. The windstorms of autumn were especially severe and by the next spring Dullens was an arid, eroded dust bowl. The land did not recover for years, and even after the Dullens Rebellion which restored the city to the Free Lands, the city remained small, poor and overlooked.

Instrumental in the Rebellion was the noble family now known as House Bonkers. When the then-head of the house announced that the time had come to throw off the chains of the Dark Federation, his followers said "You must be bonkers!" and the name stuck. These days no one is really certain what the original family name was. Still, the rebellion succeeded. To ensure that Dullens never again fell to foreign rule, House Bonkers and several other important noble families built an arena to train warriors, and as an example the Bonkers family established a stable of their own, the Asylum Knights, one of the oldest stables in Dullens.

Dullens has enjoyed spates of attention due to certain dueling stables and their activities. Most of these stables truly care for the city itself, and as soon as the excitement dies they leave Dullens.

After the discovery of the Crystalfire mines, Samir, the king of Trocar, decided that those gems had to be his. The resulting war was a fiasco due to the weather and was finally cumulated in a mage's battle which left the city infested with electrical gremlins. Samir retreated and Dullens was left as it was before--stubborn and stoic. Whatever else happens, Dullens and its people will endure as they have for over three hundred years, plodding along--but getting there.

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Published on: 2002-07-15 (1328 reads)

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