From Avaria
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cadenza (officially, the Grand Duchy of Cadenza) is a semi-autonomous grand duchy of the Kalentoi Empire. Despite its unusual status, Cadenza is considered integral to the Empire rather than simply an ally or client state. This is partly due to the political and blood ties that the Cadenzan monarchy shares with the imperial families of Calentium, and partly due to the country's reliably staunch support of the Empire and its interests. Cadenzans are known for their valor and often prickly sense of honor and have a strong military tradition, making up a large portion of the officers' ranks in the armies of Calentium.

Cadenza was conquered by Azadi forces shortly before the onset of the Great Dark, and in their subsequent struggles to recover their lands the Cadenzans honed their existing warrior traditions to create an elite fighting force that remains the grand duchy's hallmark to this day. Besides its military valor, Cadenza is well known for the fine horses it breeds, combining the bloodlines of the native Sarmatiyyan mountain ponies with the swift horses brought by the Azadi. This exalted breed is sought after for its speed, endurance, and intelligence, and the mounted warriors of Cadenza are among the most skilled and disciplined troops of the Kalentoi Empire.


As a grand duchy, Cadenza is ruled by a monarch with the title of Grand Duke (or, far more rarely, Grand Duchess). The grand duke and his family are considered royalty, subject only to the will of the Emperor in Calentium. Although the grand duchy is considered a province for administrative purposes and a provincial governor is appointed as the chief representative of the Empire, for all intents and purposes authority is exercised solely by the grand duke, with the governor acting more as an imperial liaison.

The grand duchy's royal line originated with the family of the last caliphs of Cadenza, when the sole surviving heir of the line petitioned the Kalentoi emperor to allow the lands of the caliphate to join the Empire. The former caliph surrendered the independence of his lands in return for some amount of automony, to be exercised faithfully in service to the Empire so long as those of Azadi faith remained unpersecuted. This agreement was consolidated by marriage into a minor branch of the Kalentoi imperial family, and the line so begun continues to rule Cadenza to the present day.


Despite the fall of the Majirid Caliphate nearly two centuries ago and an initial expulsion of influential Sirdabi, Cadenza remains a multicultural society whose cities retain the distinctive stamp of their former rulers. Urban life is much more highly developed than in the rest of the Kalentoi Empire (save Calentium itself), and the major cities of Cadenza remain densely populated places filled with graceful architecture, expansive cloistered parklands, public fountains, and notable institutions of learning.

Outside the cities, life bears a more traditionally Kalentoi mark. Many of the country's native peasants continued to farm the same lands under Azadi dominion, enticed to stay and work as freemen of the Caliphate where they had once labored as serfs for native Cadenzan nobles. Where the rural population was diminished through warfare or the emigration of Sirdabi farmers, new laborers have been drawn back to the land with promises of being granted their own freeholder status. Many of these more recent freeholds consist of arid or otherwise relatively marginal lands, however, which has caused the new Kalentoi freeholders to feel some resentment towards those who, in their opinion, were able to keep the best farmland in the country despite having disloyally prospered under the Azadi conquerors.

Many people of mixed Cadenzan and Sirdabi heritage, called mizados, still live in the grand duchy. Although many among them still practice the Azadi faith, they tend to do so discreetly. In remoter parts of the realm, however, mizados may worship relatively openly, and in some places entire villages still follow Azadi ways. Regardless of religious belief, many people in Cadenza still adhere to at least some of the customs and lifestyle of the former rulers of the land, and Cadenza retains a very distinctive blend of Kalentoi, Ruveran, Sirdabi, and native cultural elements.


The official religion of Cadenza is Kalentism, where the country falls under the see of the archbishop in Ruleskos. This is somewhat controversial due to Cadenza's independence in other matters and the simmering border dispute with its northern neighbor, and the grand duchy often discreetly presses to have its own independent see created. But this has yet to produce results, perhaps as a result of lingering distrust on the part of the Church towards Cadenza's mizado populace -- or perhaps, as malicious rumor goes, because the mizado Grand Duke himself is insuffuciently pious to truly dedicate himself to resolving the matter.

Despite friction and hostility in the first few years after Cadenza rejoined the Empire, mizados receive official toleration for the practice of their faith, as long as it is performed discreetly. Due to the greater numbers of mizados in the cities and long familiarity with the culture there, relations between the followers of Kalen and Azad are generally peaceable in urban areas, if occasionally strained. The countryside tends to be more segregated by faith, and mizados are often poorly received by the residents of Kalentic villages, and vice versa.

There is still a large community of Yehani in Cadenza as well, again primarily concentrated in the cities of the grand duchy. Less tolerantly regarded under the new regime than the old, Yehani nevertheless still find the political and religious climate of Cadenza more favorable towards them than most other parts of the Empire.

The patron saint of Cadenza is San Demetrio, a native Cadenzan from the 4th century B.D. who secured the right to worship without persecution from the Ruveran Empire. A great cathedral is consecrated to him in the city of Sandemetrio on the southern coast, which receives hundreds of pilgrims from across the Empire every year. San Bartolo, a more recent saint likewise native to the country, is also very much revered not only for his piety but still moreso for his heroic struggle to win back Cadenza from the Sirdabi. Far more militant than the country's patron saint, San Bartolo has become very popular in the two hundred years since his death. A new cathedral named for him has recently been finished in his home city of Plomo, and the Order of San Bartolo, founded by the saint's original comrades in arms, now furnishes city guards and an on-call soldiery for the duchy.