The United Cetus Duchies

During the time of the first empire of man in the south, Cetus duchies was the furthest outpost and province (which including the Brankovici and the prophets kingdoms essentially means that the first empire was a third larger then the current empire of man, something you should never neglect to mention to overproud human officials). The north of the Cetus duchies was however still under the control of the tribes, rumoured to still follow the spirits.

And then the Brankovici cut them off utterly, not even willing to send the requisite number of ships to pull all their non-military people back. To even the most unenlightened of you the fact that many military personnel refused these orders and rebelled against the empire should come as no surprise. For many of these soldiers their home was now here, the families they had made and the houses they had built.

And so a new kingdom was formed under the charismatic leadership of one man, whose name is lost to time. The ideals of the first empire were held and in many ways this new kingdom was the only example ever of what the empire was meant to be. It was not however total peace, the northern tribes did their best to breach their defences and the war waged on for a decade.

What happened next is legend only, for any record of that time in the duchies has disappeared. But legend stated that something came from the west, a dark force of spirits that cared not for what man-made allegiance they claimed, and it was only the marriage between the two warring civilisations of man that drove out this force albeit at incredible cost.

And thus was born the Cetus Duchies.

Personally I’m of the opinion that this was a load of manure, it certainly stinks like it.

However what is a fact is that although there have been a few changes of dynasty over the years, the Cetus Duchies have remained stable since the first empire.

Royal Expeditionary Society.

Upon Sir Percy Halthlewaites return to the Duchies, he was promptly knighted for his discoveries and the Halthlewaite and Willco Expeditionary Society became the Royal Expeditionary Society. Sir Percy exploited his new found recognition and lobbied for a further expedition to the India subcontinent which found support from a number of interested backers.

In fairness to Sir Percy, it is possible he did not truly understand why he received so much support for a further expedition, or why his backers insisted upon the majority of his expedition consisting of their own scientists, pioneers and most importantly cartographers.

What is a matter of record is by the time Sir Percy had reached the India subcontinent once more a third expedition by sail was already underway, and by the time Sir Percy had returned to the duchies, a fourth expedition had already arrived at the India subcontinent this time carrying the flag of the newly born East Provinces Company, who will be discussed below in a bit. Sir Percy protested the exploitation strongly but was of course ignored and eventually turned his focus upon new horizons (which is what his backers had hoped), eventually mounting a new expedition to find the famed heart of the black continent, an expedition that was lost never to be found.

However under the iron grasp of Sir Willco the society continued to flourish, and is constantly holding displays of their latest findings, from the lands of the Djinn to the islands of the archipelagos. The RES also has a heated rivalry going with the empire’s Roachers guild, for obvious reasons of conflict of interest. What is fascinating however is that both the RES and the Roachers guild have formed between themselves a pact of none physical violence between themselves, this despite the Roachers very rightfully earned reputation for aggression. The Royal Expeditionary society also has a policy of recruiting members from the places it visits and in its esteemed ranks has both Velten and Elves.

Royal East Provinces Company

As mentioned the Royal East Provinces Company was formed by a number of interested investors in the united Cetus duchies intent on exploiting the cradle subcontinent. This plan exceeded the investor’s expectations and currently the Royal East Provinces own between a third and half the subcontinent. It goes without saying that the REPC is currently eyeing up the other half. However this was not the focus of their expansion, as although profitable the REPC believed that the possibilities for the dark continent as well as some of the larger islands in the archipelagos would be more profitable still.

In this they were less successful. Their first move was logical enough, Port Rid was upon the shipping line to the India subcontinent and was geographically central to the dark continent as well as being close to the archipelagos. So after careful investigation of the now empty port (with inconclusive results) they followed up with a new colonial effort. An effort that was considerably more ambitious than before as they colonised far past the original territory.

However the empire was unimpressed by this and launched a fleet in response: a fleet the East Provinces crushed effortlessly alone without the aid of the Cetus Duchies military.

And this? This was when the world awoke to a new global power.

For then the East Provinces Company did something unthinkable to the imperial scholars: they invaded the empire.

Whats worse, and even more embarrassing was the fact that they were actually winning.

The EPC swept through Aquitaine like a thunderstorm, then spread to the neighbouring province of Saintong as well as the northern province of Wurttemberg. Finally they headed for their key target, Hive town. The battle for Hive town was the bloodiest in living history. With the EPC actually gaining access to the Hive in the first week, the battle then continued hollow by hollow, tunnel by tunnel for over a month with both sides resorting to tactics that will mean they will live in shame for the rest of their lives.

In the end the EPC were driven back across the river by reinforcements from Gascony, and the war came to a stalemate. It was at this point the Cetus Duchies chose to officially recognise the EPCs actions and threaten the empire with the possibility of them committing militarily to the actions.

And it was at this time an consensus was reached by both sides, with Port Rid being gifted to the EPC and the EPC returning all of the empire’s lands barring a barren island off Aquitaine.

The EPC also has a significant number of Velten soldiers amongst its ranks.

Secret Service

The existence of the Cetus Duchies secret service is I believe deliberately the worst kept secret in the world. After the red death plague bomb released in London a number of groups who worked in clandestine affairs for her majesty were reassigned into this single ministry. Afterwards there occurred a number of incredibly messy deaths across the world from Port Rid to the far east, including the empire. And although no actual evidence was found linking those deaths to the duchies, through ways and means the secret service made sure all realised exactly who was responsible.

Unfortunately with the subsequent attack on Port Rid it is apparent that the secret service did not provide the total deterrent to extremists as hoped.

What is perhaps more of a secret, is that agents are rumoured to be in the province of Gascony, spiriting away some of the lesser noble families for unknown purposes.

Notes on pronunciation

Those from the Cetus Duchies can be a little tetchy upon pronunciation of their interests, as well as when each of their many phrases for their interests can be directly applied.