Tales from Forgotten Europa
The Russian steppe is as you would expect. Cold and wintry, tree-laden and not too hospitable. However the people have been thriving, sturdy and hardy stock, the smallfolk are especially prolific in breeding, perhaps it is the long indoor winters. Ruus is bordered to the east by the Urim Mountains, grim fastness that is settled by various dwarf nations. These areas are incredibly rich in minerals, especially metals, and so this is the traditional home of Dwarf folk in history. Beyond the dwarves lie the eternal, boundless steppes of Everwinter, and no man or king rules there. Russ is a land comprised of rolling hills, in truth it resembles foothills leading up to the Urim, save that they stretch for thousands of leagues. It is said that the Archon Mikael, who created the land in their legends, was a sailor by trade and thus ordered his land to resemble a gentle flowing sea.
The Tsarina of Ruus, Isabella Rachmanoff (the Ice Jewel, as referred to by her people) dwells in Muskovia, the capital city. She is young, but willful, and a darling of her smallfolk. She overrules her council time and again, and has a Westlander advisor who exerts too much influence on her, some say. That being said, the southern reaches of this land thrive beneath her stewardship, thus far, and she is beloved for her edicts. There is talk that her coffers diminish with such largesse, and private concerns are making tremendous profits. This might eventually weaken her armies, roads, and defenses, as well as her approval from the noble classes, but thus far, no one has been making much of it, save to hear her councilors grumble.
South Ruus is another strong trading power, with most production residing north. As such, her roads run primarily N-SSW, and her towns fall out around those roads and rivers. The Volga is the crown jewel of rivers, and touches on most of the great cities of Ruus. Where Moskovia is the capital “in the south”, Arkangyl is the capital “ in the north”. Arkangyl is a coastal mountain fastness and guards the land from invasion from the wastes of the North. The North is the only openly hostile border, with seas to the south, the Urim to the east, and the Empire to the west. The Empire is coolly civil with Ruus, as Ruus still maintains a simple, rough uncivilized edge to it, which the recently-minted Empire is attempting to evolve beyond in an attempt to lend itself a semblance of maturity, something the 1500 year old lands and clans of Ruus have no need to pretend at. Kislevites further the coolness of the relations, being the closest to the Empire and some of the roughest groups in the kingdom.
While not part of the kingdom, the clans of dwarves share some land and resources with the Ruus kingdom. From their holdfasts (Karak Iailai, Karak Dunkirk, Karak Kazan, Karak Angyl, and Karak Thun) the dwarves can range well out into the plains of eastern Ruus, and are welcome by most Russians. Many are the smaller strongholds (karak’nels) which mark the Iron Road and the Gold Road, the two caravan routes by which the dwarfs will move their trade, primarily. Each holdfast at its zenith held over a million dwarfs such were their sizes. Now they each have dormant cities within them, as dwarfs will never relocate or consolidate, and once consecrated, a dwarf holdfast will be inhabited until razed or lost. Each holdfast possibly still has 60-70% of its old total population, only a dwarf from the area would know more accurately and dwarfs are a closed people about such things. The caravans on the Gold and Iron roads are all most folk have to gauge them by.
The dwarves of Ruus are easily the masters of mining and metallurgy. It is rumored that one of the fabled lost holdfasts had even mastered chemical alchemy, and it was only the inadvertent (or planned) incursion of chaos that kept them from completely redesigning the currency systems of all known empires. Now in current life, the metal-works of Ruus are of the finest quality, and fetch top coin, and not just for the perils and effort to transport such works abroad. The “short folk” remain haughty and aloof in their expertise, and hunker down with their riches in their great mountain fastnesses. They have, as a result, become incredibly shrewd traders and merchants. Technologically, they are very inventive, and even now have begun moving into the fields of aeronautics and combustion.
Royal Family: Isabella XIX “The Ice Jewel”, Tsarina of Ruus.
Maximillian Rachmanoff, Primarch of Ruus and Warleader (uncle)
Reginald Urbansk, Duke of Moskovia and Prime Councillor
Trevor Flotinov, Duke of Arkangyl, Councillor in Absentia
Petyr Baelish, “Littlefinger” Master of Coin, Viscount of Voroneth (Muskovia)
Markus Sergovia “The Fat Spider” Master of Information, Honorary Lordship
Raymar “The Black” Harren, Honorary Councillor of Foreign Affairs.
Grigov Flotinov, “Winter’s Bane”, Chief of the Queensguard
Moskovia (Capital) the “White Tea” City
Arkanygl “Winter’s Gate” and capital of the North
Kislev “The Great Gate” and eastern hub
Kazan “the Breadbasket” and production center
Odessa “the Great Sea Gate” and trading hub
Karan Pem “the Hammer” dwarf enclave
Karan Kazai “The Anvil” another dwarf enclave.