Sylvania

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Sylvania, a beautiful land of grim moors and dark forests.
Sylvania is located between Stirland, The Moot and the Worlds Edge Mountains (centre right, between the two rivers).
[1a]

Sylvania is a dark and haunted region of the Old World. Though technically a part of the Imperial province of Stirland, it is in fact the independent domain of the Vampire Counts.[1a]

Overview

From the Spider Haunts to the Bane of Troth, Corpse Run to the Necromanse, Sylvania is a realm steeped in dark legend.

Under the shadow of the Vampires, its populace has become a terrified, superstitious people. Close to uninhabitable, Sylvania's forests are dingy copses of twisted, half-rotted trees that claw what nourishment they can from the bone-strewn soil. Desolate moorlands and sluggish rivers of clotted blood punctuate the yellow-leafed woods, wind-swept and storm­ shrouded by dark clouds that seep down from the Worlds Edge Mountains on an almost daily basis.

It is a depressing, dismal realm settled in the time of Sigmar by dissident, evil men dispossessed by the Emperor's unification of the peoples of the Empire. Ever since 1111 IC, it has been a loathed and feared province, avoided by the other people of the Empire

History

When warpstone shards fell upon the lands in 1111 IC, Sylvania's fell reputation was sealed, as the dead erupted from their graves and laid siege to the villages and towns. Frederick van Hal who took command of the walking dead, conquering the province and building a great fortress at vanhaldenschlosse and quickly clashing with the Skaven who had taken control over much of the Empire. [2b]

The brutal war between the dead and the ratmen drained both and Vanhal himself was assassinated by his apprentice Lothar van Diehl but the ghost of the necromancer in turn drove him out of his stronghold. The dead were now without focus and reverted to roaming the land, salughtering the living where they found them but also being destroyed by the survivors. [2b]

Sylvania never recovered from the combination of the warpstone meteors, the Black Plague and the walking dead with mutation and disease continuing to ravage the people and the land. It is form this period that the inhabitants began to bury their dead face down, reasoning that they would burrow deeper rather than out of their grave. [2b]

In 1681 IC during the Night of the Restless Dead [1a], Sylvania was little affected being more familiar with the dead and in some cases necromancy was used to defeat the risen dead with corpses battling each other in the streets. [1a]

The province rulers, the van Draks were considered weak and thin blooded and noted as being the only Great House not to send at least one son on the crusade against [{Araby]]. The other nobles of the land were as bad or worse - bandits and cowards. Shunned and increasingly cut off from the rest of the Empire, the province became a haven for renegade sorcerers who sough a place to practice their dark arts. Eventually the growing reports of the dark magicians caused the Grand Theogonist Jurgen VI to call for a crusade against the province, but in the Time of the Three Emperors - none of the claimants were willing to respond. [2b]

Centuries later, Otto van Drak was on his death bed, cursing the gods that he had no male heir, only a daughter Isabella who he pledged he would rather marry to a daemon than let his brother, Leopold inherit. That storm lashed night, a stranger Vlad von Carstein arrived as if in answer to his oath, asking for Isabella's hand in marriage which was granted. The new Counts first act being to throw Leopold out of the castle window and he quickly proved to be a less oppressive lord than his predecessor, laws were kept and bandits punished. Over the next ten years the Undead gathered and harried other lords of the province until Vlad was firmly in control of the whole province and over the enxt few decades, many families also became vampires. Slowy the temples to Sigmar were closed and watchposts on the border built to stop the majority of visitors. [2b]

On Geheimnisnacht 2010, Vlad stood on the battlements of Drakenhof and recited a great invocation from a Book of Nagash raising a great horde of the undead as he annouced his intention to claim the throne of the Empire beginning the Wars of the Vampire Counts. The war raged across the Empire, but following the deaths of Vlad and Isabella at Altdorf the living and dead of Sylvania retreated home as the Empire continued its own civil war. [2b]

The insane Konrad von Carstein was the next ruler until his own death at Grim Moor in 2121 and he was succeeded by Mannfred von Carstein who ruled until his defeat and apparent destruction at the Battle of Hel Fenn. Martin Count of Stirland then claimed Sylvania which was not contested as no one else wanted it. [2b]

2158 IC saw Gottlieb the Stern led Witch Hunters in a crusade to cleanse the land and they burned many citizens, continuing to build resentment towards the rest of the Empire. The people embraced the mortal Von Carsteins who took over local rule as true heirs of their inhuman masters. [1a]

Storm of Chaos

Large numbers of warriors from the army of Vardek Crom attempted to invade the Empire through Sylvania but were met by implacable resistance by the undead and driven back. Mannfred then marched his army towards the main force besieging Middenheim, suing his forces to wipe out any chaos on the way. [1a]

Inhabitants

Sparsely populated, Sylvania has long proved a refuge for men intent on dark deeds and secretive studies, as well as evil creatures hunted by the forces of the Emperor. Long before Vlad von Carstein unleashed his Undead armies upon the Empire, Sylvania had been home to Crypt Ghouls, Necromancers and Chaos worshippers. Sylvania is nominally part of Stirland now, though Vlad's bloody legacy holds Sylvania in its infernal grip; the dread realm is still home to brooding malice and evil powers.

Vampire Counts

In crumbling castles, towering mausoleums and forgotten keeps dwell Vlad's vampiric progeny. The surviving von Carsteins still plot and scheme, dreaming of immortal power. They muster their forces in secret, building armies of the dead from bodies and bones, waiting for any sign of weakness in the Empire.

The scattered villages and hamlets of Sylvania are even more isolated and parochial than other settlements of the Empire. Grubbing what existence they can from the infertile land, the peasantry live in small communities of inter-related families, and never venture far from their crude hovels.There are few stone roads here; rutted, half-flooded tracks and paths link most villages, all but impossible to navigate except in the relatively dry summer months. At times, the mud itself seems to be a living thing, clawing at the legs of the weak and dragging them to a suffocating death. The populace is, for the most part, concerned with day-to-day survival, raising famished, skinny goats and pigs, tending to what scraps of farmland they have in the hope of gathering enough crops to survive the long and cruel winter.

Sylvanian villages are in a constant state of disrepair, for good stone and wood is hard to come by. All, however, have barred or boarded windows and heavy doors to keep out the night's predators. Crude fetishes and charms of a dozen gods hang on every lintel and frame. The villagers daub symbols of protection on their doors with pig's blood, to guard against the unnatural horrors of this frightful land. Hanging outside the gates of the most desperate townships can be found criminals and travellers caged in iron maidens, their only companions the crows and vampire bats that feed on them. Ever since Vlad closed the holy shrines, they have fallen into decrepitude, for no priest ventures into Sylvania without a sturdy guard of armed men. Truly, Sylvania is a godless realm, for darkness claimed it many centuries ago.

Known Features

Quotes

This land is my home, my birthright. The wind and rain are my allies. The trees and stones are my foot soldiers. The very earth will rise up against you should you try to take it from me. And my people will feast on your bones..

~ Mannfred von Carstein .[1b]

The provinces & city-states of The Empire
Provinces Reikland - Middenland - Nordland - Ostland - Hochland - Talabecland - Ostermark - Stirland - Averland - Wissenland - The Moot
City-states Altdorf - Nuln - Middenheim - Talabheim
Lost provinces Drakwald - Solland - Westerland - Sylvania

Notes

The region of Sylvania is similar to the Romanian region of Transylvania ("land beyond the woods").

Sources

Uncited