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  2. The Duchy of Valdier O V E R V I E W The Duchy of Valdier was created by Lola du Faucon after wishing to reinstate the legacy of House du Faucon while also forging the path for a new, independent land that celebrated art and Valois culture, as well as a pragmatic, harsh doctrine of self-preservation and achieving that which you desire. Etiquette and Provisionalism are upheld vigorously throughout the classes and a sense of realistic opportunism is championed from the lowest farmer to the highest artist as a shared belief amongst the Citizens of Valdier. P A S T L E G A C Y : H O U S E D U F A U C O N The House of du Faucon was created by Sigfrid du Faucon when he established the County of Fortvoie in the third-realm. Fortvoie was a small County to the East of Vikerne and the Duchy of Heimat. Located along the long beaches of the central sea, it’s climate was warm and temperate, similar to the climates of real-world southern France. It was a valley rich in soils and resources, where the culture of wine and other crops promised bountiful harvests that cultivated a strong wealth for the Nobles there. The Marquis of Fortvoie ruled the land alongside the table of Ten Knights. This image of chivalrous and glorified knighthood created the idea of a Realm of fantasy, prosperity and righteousness. It was no surprise to other nations that Fortvoie fell after Sigrid’s son - Kaladin du Faucon was unable to hold his own against the Empire and various traitors who turned against the unrealistic idealism that the County stood for. Lola du Faucon, with the creation of the new Duchy of Valdier, has broken from this idea of the Faucon legacy, wishing to not condone such idealism in the House of Valdier. T H E C H Â T E A U D E V A L D I E R The Château de Valdier, or ‘The Chateau’ as it is more commonly referred to by its inhabitants, is considered the crown jewel of the Duchy. The exuberant and glamorous palace acts as a symbol of wealth and desire for the serfs and Nobility alike. The gold interior of the Chateau is said to be unlike any other Palace - greatly dividing the opinions of visitors; some seeing it as wasteful or excessive and others seeing it as opulent, luxurious and grandiose. Either way it is a great talking point amongst visitors and the common folk of the land, serving as thankless publicity for the Chateau and its message of Aspiration. The Architecture of the Chateau in today's standards would be a mix between French-Baroque and Russian styles with the interior also mirroring such high standards. High ceilings and expansive rooms are laced with gold embellishments, crystal chandeliers and ceiling murals that have never been seen on such a scale before in Aversia. The Chateau is publicly known to have an art and sculpture gallery, a luxurious ballroom, an exclusive orchestra, a tower dedicated to servant staff and even a large Opera theatre on the top floor. The Chateau and the Duchy enjoy the comfortable climate of the southernmost tip of Ardemon. Despite being upon the Northern continent, the climate of the Duchy is almost on par with the temperate and benign weather of regions to the south. It’s expansive grasslands are uninterrupted and perfect for the pastures of animal farmland that surround the Chateau, bringing in bountiful harvests for its inaugural year. Along the southern coast of the Duchy is also a favoured place for game hunting when it is in season, the area entirely secluded and a haven for the refreshing sea breeze to revitalise those standing on the steep cliffs above the ocean’s edge. In the hottest of menses the children of Valdier, peasants and nobles alike, can be seen launching themselves from the cliffs into the salty water below, spending the bright evenings in prosperous merriment all at the encouragement of the Duchess. In the colder times the air is crisp and invigorating with a chilled sharpness taking over in the evenings, a time for art and reflection next to the warmth of a glowing fireplace. C L A S S E S A N D C U L T U R E There are two distinct tiers of livelihood within the Duchy. Those that are considered of a Noble lineage, finer upbringing and class, and those that are workers, born low but with a desire to rise with hard work, respect and tact. Nobility and Artists Within the glamour and exuberance of the Chateau Nobles are encouraged to discuss diplomacy, art and philosophy. Artists are offered great respect within the Chateau and the Duchess is appreciative of all forms ; Music, Painting, Theatre, Fashion and Architecture to name a few. So much so, that if an Artist’s talent is of a high enough level, whether they be of noble or common birth, the Duchess will bestow upon them residency within the palace. They shall pay nothing towards their livelihood expenses, shall dine and live alongside the nobility, and will be given the resources they need to further exercise and expand their great talent. It is because of this that the Chateau has become a hub of talented artists with a wealth of opportunities for those wishing to achieve more. Commonfolk Farmers Making most of the fertile, expansive plains around the Chateau, the Duchy boasts an expanding farmland that specialises in animal farming and slaughter, wheat and potato fields and the training and dressage of horses. When seen around the mines or marketplace, they seem stoic yet content. A doctrine of respect is given both ways between the workers and the nobility. In return for their service and work on the lands, the common folk are offered many advantages in exchange. They are explicitly allowed to consume all that they desire from the crops or animals they work upon- as such, hunger amongst the commoners is nonexistent. They are also firm believers of the Duchy’s doctrine with regards to bettering their position and achieving that which they desire. Should they work-hard, develop useful skills and prove themselves to the Duchess or her nobility, they will be granted the chance to rise in the world and better their position. This sense of desire and opportunity within the commonfolk is abundant and it is this ideology that encourages them to harbour a respect for the nobles that grant them this option; the freedom to aspiration, and the stage on which to prove themselves worthy, R E L I G I O N Despite the heavy religious tendencies of the old Faucon house, the Duchy of Valdier exhibits no affiliation or worship of any of the Divine. It’s citizens are often agnostic or atheist themselves but are still free to worship should they desire to, a public church situated in front of the Chateau for any believers of the Pantheon. Higher Nobles within the Duchy believe that ardent and Devout worship, no matter what the God, often exposes one to intense hatred or can blind them into stupid or weak acts. The Duchy believes that those whose lives are designed to please a Divine being that really cares very little about their livelihood or bettering their success, hold themselves to strict expectations that get in the way of realistic, pragmatic politics. Devout faith blinds. P O L I T I C A L P E R C E P T I O N S With the Duchy only just inaugurated, the Matriarch is currently neutral with political ties- wishing to retain independence and local sovereignty. Good relations will be formed through informal discussions with the Duchess wishing to establish ties across the entirety of the continents, disregarding any previous political loyalties. The expansive farms upon its rich grasslands provide huge support for those that the Duchy wishes to endorse. The bottom line being that the Duchy will help only those that benefit it in doing so. L A W A N D P U N I S H M E N T The Duchy practices a standard code-of-law that intends to keep street crime and violence to a minimum. As of right now, the laws of the land are not written down but should citizens abuse this openly, then a constitution of laws will be written. Common sense and word of mouth are relied upon to keep others in check. Citizens wishing to further themselves in the Duchy and acquire more successful opportunities are often seen keeping their peers in line, turning them in to gain favour with the Court. Laws are lax when it comes to commoner's personal goods and their protection. The owners of assets -whether it be farmland, buildings or more expensive goods, are entirely responsible for the safety and future of their wealth and possessions. Bartering amongst the farmers and commonfolk is not only common, but actively encouraged. A key doctrine of the land is- if you want something, you should be able to get it. Providing that you offer something in return, or can tactfully persuade others for your desire. This is not the same for the Nobility, whose materialistic and lavish lifestyle is owned and protected by the Duchy and acts as a constant reminder to the common folk of the life they may achieve. The hypocrisy here is acknowledged as necessary and is widely accepted by the commoners wishing to ascend. Although these passive laws are lax, a harsh punishment is pursued after any acts of violence. It is less out of compassion for the victim of the crime but more for the punishment of the culprit for he was unable to get what he wanted without having to resort to the lowly effort of violence and therefore is of no use or fit for the Duchy. For both the commoners and Nobility within the Chateau the highest standards of etiquette are adhered to rigidly and if one was to insult or disrespect the higher Nobles of the Duchy, who bring them such success, food and an ability to ascend, then they are not worth the grain they are given, and they shall be punished and expelled. E T I Q U E T T E A N D R O L E S T B A [ W I P ]
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