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Holle Bay Area

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Setting the Scene

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Still 'Jeffland' the modern day area of Tolkar known as the "Holle Bay" area started rather small, with just 8,113 residents by Military Census in 1845. While the region had played very little in history prior to this point it would forever be an important part of the future nation. In fact, it stood as one of the last bastions of earlier Tolkaren cultural separation.

Prior to the Jefflandies revolution of 1801, small settlements of the Damzlo peoples occupied the region and were the sole inhabitants until 1623 and the arrival of Steiner traders established Holle Oberwasser at the mouth of the Holle River (for which the name literally meant "Holle's Mouth"). During this time Sian princes rule over swaths of the peninsula and the Bay Area falls under the historical rule of the Seat of Chupilo to the north. Traders from Holle Oberwasser begin to work with local farmers and peasants to mine ore, silver and rarely gold from the mountains under rather harsh conditions.

These conditions eventually lead to several riots under which the Sian Monarchy establishes ethnically Tolkaren Sub-Knights to take charge of the region. The ruling prince however worried to give control to a Steiner Knight names Aegidius Hoyer to the Seat, but in the same decree orders him to establish himself from a small Damzlo fishing village by the name of Skalisty Brzegu (1634). This decision allowed for two things to take place. First, Hoyer would be unable to garner popular support from the locals and mount a rebellion as other Sub-Knights had in other areas. This was particularly important because the nature of the bay created an issue as the mountains created a natural choke point that had been the otherwise important factor in which the area had not been settled. It was for this reason as well that Skalisty Brzegu had been selected because it was connected along the coast road to Chupilo and could easily be reached by Sian troops.

The choke however caused the same problems for Hoyer who had to traverse over 8km of bay to reach the middle island and cross the channel there as well to reach the popular settlements where trouble was often found. After repeated attempts to move his seat to Holle Oberwasser, Hoyer knighted under himself an unlikely candidate to maintain order over the ethnic Damzlo peoples in the bay area. In 1645 a local mining boss by the name of Artur Wojcik was made a baron of the Hoyer lands, though in secret as the Sians had forbidden the Sub-Knights to establish lesser lords. Artur had been a strong candidate in that his mother had been of Steiner decent and once in power his crew of miners quickly established order with violence.

Wojcik was no fool though, and he established a central township under his own name, located in current day Skrzyzowanie Zelaza. The city quickly bristled as a source of commerce with the residents of Holle Oberwasser and the population swelled to nearly 400 residents, almost three times that of any of the other established towns in the bay area. This lead to a period of prosperity and relative peace that would survive until events away from the bay area would echo.

In 1650 when the Sian Kingdom collapsed the bay area might as well have been oblivious to the changing of hands that other lands suffered through. It wasn't until the Sian Baron of Chupilo levied a tax against the residents of the bay area that problems arose in 1651. Unlike most regions of the Tolkaren Peninsula, the bay area lacked a strong truly Tolkaren authority. When the Elch-Liga was established in 1652 Aegidius Hoyer had been denied membership because he lacked any real power in his seat - Skalisty Brzegu had a population of less than 50 people, over half of which were Hoyer's personal servants. As such, as the Sian Baron of Chupilo was threatened by other League lords Artur Wojcik took advantage of the situation by establishing his own militia. In 1653 when Hoyer lost control troops loyal to the Baron marched south to put him and his collaborators to death. They failed facing heavy fighting in the coastal choke near "Wojcik" and set a second attempt by sea under the leadership of Hoyer (who had been threatened to solve the insurrection or die trying). Waiting for winter conditions to subside however in the Spring of 1654 the Baron of Chupilo was overthrown.

The overthrow left Hoyer with nearly 300 troops now loyal to him, for which he pledged allegiance to Wilhelm Kaeseberg who had conqured Chupilo. However the insurrection had yet to be delt with and another Tolkaren Knight by the name of Rudolf Silzner had claimed lands along the Holle River, which included Holle Oberwasser. As both knights were members of Elke-Liga there had been no dispute regarding the breakup of the area. As there had been no Sian Baron of Chupilo when the Elke-Liga disolved in 1666 the bay area was left un-affected. The population of "Wojcik" expanded as more mines were opened and soon iron from the region was prized locally. Thus, both commerce for "Wojcik" and Holle Oberwasser expanded leading to increased trade and wealth.

Such wealth however attracted the attention of the Reihenfolge der Ramme (formed from the ashes of Elke-Liga, "Order of the Ram") which in 1682 lead a force to regain control of "Wojcik" and suject it to taxation. The son of Artur Wojcik, Pawel Wojcik lead the local milita into the fight in the woods west of the town. The inexperianced milita fighting battle hardened knights from all over the peninsula was a short affair, within the hour the perhaps 100 men at arms were killed, and the entire Wojcik family was lead into the woods and executed. From this tradegedy the city was left nameless, though often called the Iron Junction as trade ships would regularly arrive from the Holle river to recieve the riches of the mountains. Skrzyziwanie Zelaza was born.

Peace would follow however, along with trends that would remain almost strictly in the geographical area. While most of the Tolkaren peoples had adopted the Steiner language (known today as "Tolkaren") the residents of the bay area continued to speak Damzlo. This is not to suggest that one could only find the language here - as many parts of the peninsula today still speak both languages - but most trade and political dealing was conducted in Tolkaren. This was namely because the Reihenfolge der Ramme had been made up of ethnic Steiners who spoke Tolkaren and the Order had little presence in the bay area.

The area was left to culturaly stew in it's own particular style until the Watanbe invasion of 1752. Since the Order of the Ram however had little presence the Watanabe armies were relatively non-existant at first. Holle Oberwasser was sacked in the spring of 1753 and the Ram's Hall which had been one of the first buildings built in 1623 was burned to the ground with many of the ethnic Steniers inside. In Skalisty Brzegu the Hoyer family fled fearing the violent reprisals against Tolkarens by the Watanbe Army. General Watanbe's death in 1754 would create a nasty turn of events in the region, as ethnic Damzlo residents willingly supported the Sian armies and when called for volunteered for service. While the population of Holle Oberwasser had been obliterated the Damzlo population of the area swelled to nearly 10,000 as ethnic refugees arrived. Many of these however would later leave the region under arms for the Sian Kings.

The allegiance however was shattered like most of the peninsula when in 1780 Father Jeffrey was tortured, killed and his quartered remains sent to different reaches of the Sian Kingdom after the Third Battle of the Melinda River. Now joining ranks with the "Unified Peoples of the Tolkaren Peninsula" the residents continued to join the ranks of the rebellion. In 1801 when Jeffland successfully achieved independance from the Sian Kingdom (of which it had been a part since 1000CE*). The 1805 Constitution quietly remembered however the support of the Damzlo of the region, and when the area was named "Vaterland" on it's county seal after the preacher by which the country was named, it was distinctly a Tolkaren name and the traditional county seat remained Skalisty Brzegu.

As river trade continued into the early years of the nation, Holle Oberwasser was re-settled. Early industrialization took hold mostly in Skrzyzowanie Zelaza as the iron industry increased, while Holle Oberwasser was rebuilt on ship repairs and limited industry supporting the many ships leaving the river for the open sea trade lanes. Skalisty Brzegu continued it's existance only on being the county seat, when during the military census of 1845 it had a population of only 77; with many of it's residents traveling up the coastal road which ended there.

{*While the entire Tolkaren Peninsula wasnt generally a part of the Sian Kingdom until the 1400s, the Holle Bay Area was under control of the Sian Kings by 1000CE}

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