Tolnedra

Tolnedra

Tolnedra is a fictional empire in the "Belgariad" and "Malloreon" fantasy novels of David Eddings.

Tolnedra is an empire in the West named after the god Nedra. It is one of the larger kingdoms with its northern border set at the river Arend and its southern border at the River of the Woods. To the east the border extends to the southern tip of Ulgoland, southeastern side of Algaria, and borders Cthol Murgos far to the east. The eastern geography of Tolnedra is largely mountainous, except for the plain of Maragor. The empire's southernmost lands hold the Wood of the Dryads. The northern and central regions consist of fertile plains, with the great Nedrane River running from the eastern highlands through the center of the empire to the Sea of the West.

Tolnedran politics is dominated by a few great noble houses, the Honeths, Vordue, Horb, Rane, and Borune. Any given family retains power as long as it can present a viable heir to the throne. When an emperor dies without an heir, extensive intrigue persists among the noble houses until a new dynasty is established by one of the houses.

Tolnedra is the home of the imperial princess Ce'Nedra, who is the wife of Belgarion of Riva.

Tolnedra is in many ways Eddings version of the Roman Empire. Its legions are reminiscent of those of Rome. Its way of life, architecture, trade and organization also share resemblance to the Romans.

Tolnedrans are odd in that they completely refuse to believe in anything magical in nature, notably the powers of Aldur's Disciples. This makes them very much different as the Alorns, Arends and Sendarians all believe in it.

The Empire's Power

Tolnedra is the most powerful faction in the novels. It has a massive military influence, through its enormous military, undisputedly the best trained armed force on the globe, numbering close to 300,000 (some 300 legions of 1000 men each, although only around up to 120 legions, or 120,000 men, are mentioned in the novel). The nations military may be considered small when put against the countless Cohorts of Mallorea, the swarming hoards of Cthol Murgos, or the thousands upon thousands of barbarian Alorns, but the training the forces of the people of Nedra undertake and apply is such that any sort of action, whether it be an assassination or an invasion, taken against the Empire that is worth its attention must be undertaken with extreme caution so as to avoid identification by it's intelligence agencies, and, in turn, acts of vengeance through it's military arm, which will without hesitation and without difficulty stamp out any threat. However is should be noted that the Empire isn't all powerful that it could take on the entire of Aloria itself, nor successfully lead an invasion of the Mallorean Empire, although it does possess the man power and capability to hold a defensive position and keep it's soil sovereign, and even this will most likely be simply because by the time the threat reaches Tolnedra, the Alorn kingdoms would have significantly cut away at the invading forces as they make their way west. Against the full might of Aloria, though, which, as a result of the Empires quite unhelpful strategic position, it's legions being spread around mostly through the Alorn nations keeping the integrity of it's highways intact (although by that point, most of those legions would have been recalled and either within the empire awaiting deployment, captured by the Alorns, or simply dead), the Emperor wouldn't be able to do much other than wring his hands in agony and breathe in the smoke congested air of a burning Tol Honeth as he is flees speedily south out of Tol Honeth. As previously mentioned, the empire maintains a series of highways around the continent, which are considered Tolnedran soil and therefore are patrolled and in a sense staffed by Tolnedran legions. Around half of the legions in total are stationed abroad at hotels, inns, garrisons and guard posts located all along it's sprawling highway system spread out all across the entire continent (legalised through countless trade treaties). These highways even include the Great Eastern Road, which runs from Rak Goska, capital of Cthol Murgos, to Northern Gar og Nadrak, although the imperial negotiators were unfortunately (but predictably) unable to gain legalisation to post imperial garrisons, Tolnedran hotels and patrols on this particular highway.

It enjoys an iron grip hold over the economy of the entire continent (including the economise of Cthol Murgos and the other Angarak states) and, arguably, has gained itself the most preferential status of trade through it's numerous trade treaties signed with the international powers. It is a generally agreed upon fact that if there were to be a crash of the TSE (Tolnedran Stock Exchange) in Tol Honeth, or the VES (Vorduvian Exchange of Securities) in Tol Vordue, the reason for it must be so incredibly significant, so powerfully important, so unavoidable (perhaps even necessary) and so substantial concerning world trade (including those economies of the Mallorean continent) that there is no chance whatsoever that any one of the economies of the other western countries, including those of Mallorea, can have followed any other course by that point in time other than either entirely crumbling to an irreparable wreck, or are on their inevitable way to a economic disaster unprecedented in the history of the said nation as a result of the tremendous aftershocks and resonations. Its political influence on the world is also staggering. The Empire has embassies in almost every country in the world (except for perhaps those of the Mallorean Continent, where if Tolnedran-Mallorean relations were present, they would probably be conducted through the Mallorean Empire as a whole, instead of the individual nations of the continent), staffed by ambassadors who's one priority is that the Empire receives the very best, most respected treatment concerning all matters. Consulates are present in every possible city (other than the capital, of course) in which Tolnedra holds diplomatic relations, (once again, a notable exception being Mallorea) to ensure that Tolnedran citizens as well as the Empire as a whole receive the respect and fair treatment that it deserves in all the corners of the globe. The Emperor of Tolnedra also holds considerable sway over those international matters serious enough for the Empire to concern itself into, not to mention his undisputed, unquestioning and the unanimously agreed upon authority he holds in Tolnedra itself.

Tol Honeth: The Honeth Family

The capital of Tolnedra is the city of Tol Honeth, located on an island in the Nedrane River, almost directly in the centre of the vast empire. Tol Honeth is the abiding city of the Honeth family, the richest house of Tolnedra and whose ancestors (Ran Honeth I) founded the empire. However, regardless of whichever family holds the imperial throne at any given time, the capital of the empire always remains the city of the Honethites, and the Emperor's abode is traditionally in the imperial compound directly in the centre of the city.

The Honeth's part in the succession

The Honeth family has led the empire through three dynasties, the last two of which were bought simply because of their enormous wealth. The Honeth's, despite being the empire's founders, are hopelessly incompetent as emperors. In the fight for the succession of the throne after the Third Borune Dynasty, the Honethite nobles and lords had aggreed on simply buying the throne by placing forward a large number of candidates and giving the Council of Advisers a variety of choice within the Honeth house itself, instead of a variety of choice which included all the candidates of all the houses. They simply thought that if they have the most, one of them's bound to be agreed on by the Council, and therefore would be chosen. Seven were entered into the running, including the Grand Duke of the House of Honeth, Grand Duke Noragan. However, the lords soon realised that even with their incredible amounts of money, which was over half the full wealth of the second richest house (the Vordues), the battle would be won by whoever had the most power behind him, not by whoever was best suited for by the Council. Therefore, they pulled all their other candidates out and rallied entirely behind the leader of their family, the Grand Duke Noragon. Under the Grand Duke's instruction, all the wealth and power and influence was placed behind him, and very soon he almost made it onto the same level as the Grand Duke Kador of Vordue. He would have gained a lead on Kador, but the Vordue would still be very hot on Noragon's heels and ready to pounce back into the number one position if anything of the slightest were to go wrong. However, to the celebration of the Honeth's and the misery and dismay of the Vordue's, Grand Duke Kador was arrested and held in the Imperial dungeon at Tol Honeth, where he eventually took poison "someone had left carelessly lying around" and died. Therefore, Noragon's most dangerous and threatening opponent was out of the race, taking with him any chance of the Vordue house re-rallying itself together and having any chance at once again gaining the throne. Noragen was now the undisputed successor to the throne, with the most supporters on the council of Advisers (however, they were only supporting him because they had been heavily bribed. Noragen was not known to be a very nice person, and it was said he was a "jackass who had offended just about everybody in Tol Honeth"). For over eighteen months he held this position. The Borune's had no one suitable to place as a serious candidate, the Horbites likewise (and even if they did they would be no match for the power of the Honeths) and apart from the Ranite Grand Duke and his comities behind him, only a small group of Ranites had rallied behind one candidate, who was not very taken seriously (being a Ranite) nor had very much power behind him.Noragon would have assumed the throne without even anyone challenging him, had not the unpredictable Ran Borune adopted General Varana of the Anadiles as his son. The General openly walked in public wearing the silver mantle of the imperial family, and his sudden elevation to legitimate heir lowered Noragen's chances dramatically, but despite this, he still was, by far, the only man who had any chance of gaining the throne once Ran Borune died. The issue was very unclear on what was going to happen to the empire after the emperor's death. If the general had been a full blooded fellow Borune, just like Ran Borune, then there would have been no doubt that he would have been emperor. However since Varana was an Anadile (the duke of Anadile at that), not even from a Grand Duchy, the choice was simply up to Varana on what would happen to the throne once Ran Borune passed on. However, the Honeth's seeing this, and looking into the still open window of opportunity to gain the throne, blinded themselves with hope, and made themselves not even consider the possibility that Varana would hold the throne for himself. Noragen was still the one who would pose as a incredibly powerful challenge to the general, and it was believed (and fact) that he would still gain the throne. However, the chances of a fourth Honeth dynasty ended as a result of Noragen letting his guard down for one instant. One sunny day, in his sprawling mansion on the slopes of the hill of the imperial Palace of Tol Honeth, Noragen was eating some shellfish for lunch, some shellfish which turned out to be very cleverly poisoned. Noragen fell ill almost immediately, and was dead before nightfall. The support behind him was so supreme, was so well established, that with his death, the Honeth's fell into more turmoil and chaos than the Vordues. The death of their leader, which had so fully united them, was a massively striking blow upon the family, and in their confusion and their sorrow, both for Noragen and for the now-lost throne, they couldn't pull themselves together for one last stab with another one of their previous candidates. The Honeth family was out of the running for the emperor's throne for this sucession.

Tol Vordue

The Second largest city of the empire (Tol Honeth being the largest), Tol Vordue, is located in northwest Tolnedra, and is one of the largest sea ports of the western sea .It is home to the second oldest house, the Vordue family. The Vordue family ancestors were the ones to take away the crown from the Honeth's back in the early days of the empire and start the second imperial dynasty, known as The First Vordue Dynasty.

The Vordues on the Throne

It was during their first dynasty that the cities of Tol Borune and Tol Rane were constructed, and it was during their second dynasty that Ran Vordue II, being young and naive, gave way to the overpowering might of the merchant kings of Tol Honeth and Tolnedra, and ordered the full might and power of the empire and the legions to be thrown against Maragor, on the basis of the Marags capturing and eating Tolnedran's that ventured into their lands and attempted to claim the gold that pratically lay in heaps on the ground and in stream beds.

The Vordue's Part in the Succession

The Grand Duke (and head) of the Vordues, Grand Duke Kador, was most likely to succeed Ran Borune XXIII, seeing as the Honeth's incredible wealth was spread over too many candidates (seven, to be exact), the Borune's not having anyone suitable, the Ranites not being taken seriously, and the Horbits's simply inability to amass enough wealth to "buy the throne" and compete against the other, richer familys (so they simply turned to poisoning the other family's candidates and the members of the Council of Advisors they had bought). Soon, however, Grand Duke Noragen of the house of Honeth began to catch up to Kador, on account of all the Honeth's rallying behind him, and it seemed that Kador's claim to the thrown was going to be challenged. Kador, however, was arrested under orders of the imperial princess Ce'Nedra on charges of attempting to kidnap a member of the imperial family, and in the dungeon under the imperial compound, someone "carelessly" left poison lying around, which the Grand Duke, in his misery, sampled excessively. His death created turmoil and chaos throughout the house of the Vorduevians, and therefore effectively put the Vordue's out of the running for the imperial throne.

Tol Borune: The Borune Family

Another major city of Tolnedra is the city of Tol Borune, in central south Tolnedra near the edge of the Wood of the Dryads. Tol Borune is the home city of the Borune family, another major house, and the one who the currently holds the imperial throne (the current emperor being Ran Borune XXIII). However, Ran Borune does not have a son to pass the crown onto (his daughter not being allowed to inherite the crown), and therefore the entire empire (and as a result of its sway over the continent, the entire western world) is pratically "killing each other in the streets of Tol Honeth" in order to gain the crown and start a new imperial dynasty. However, the "wily" Ran Borune "adopted" the Duke of Anadile, General Varana, as his son, and after his death, the general, in front of all the major lords and nobles of the empire, declared himself "Ran Borune XXIV, Lord of all Tolnedra", to the incredible outrage of the major houses. The general, however, was a great supporter and leader of the legions, and had gained their full loyalty, support and love, and with this incredible power behind him, not even the most arrogant lords noble houses dared openly confront him (although a few Honethite lords plotted against him in secret). Already, before Ran Borune XXIV ascended the throne, the Third Borune Dynasty was already the longest running dynasty in Tolnedran history, and is not at an end, with General Varana assuming the title of Ran Borune XXIV and not Ran Anadile I.

Tol Horb: The Horbite Family

Tol Horb lies in the central west of Tolnedra, directly at the mouth of the Nedrane River. It's location is the main provider of money for the Horbites, as a result of it lying directly in the main sea route to the imperial capital, subjecting it to larges amounts of revenue.

The Horbites on the Throne

The Horbite family has held the throne for two dynasties, the first one being the more notable one. The first emperor of the First Horbite Dynasty, Ran Horb I, was competant as emperor, and established the foundations of the dynasty well, but his son, Ran Horb II, was the greatest and most important emperor of Tolnedra and the man who set the first stone of the path that would eventually lead to Tolnedra's virtual rule of the entire western world (excluding the Angarak kingdoms). It was he who started the construction of the imperial highways (the Great West Road, the North Caravan Route, South Caravan Route and Great East Road. However, it is unknown whether Tolnedran garrisons and hostels are kept along the Great East Road) and he who established the kingdom of the Sendars, (In order to, through a complicated series of events, keep Tol Honeth a major centre of trade in the entire western continent). The achievments in his lifetime were astounding, and it was without question him who led Tolnedra to the economic dominance it now holds internationally.

The Nedrane Chain

Tol Horb also controls the incredible large chain that runs along the entire width of the Nedrane. This massively thick chain can be lowered and sunk to the bottom of the river, therefore providing access up the river to Tol Honeth, or, in the case of an invasion by sea, it can be raised out from the depths of the river on great heavy winches and stretched taught across its entire breadth, thereby denying access into the river. This was put into effect after the destruction of Maragor, when the gods were disputing amongst themselves and Belar, a close friend of Mara, had his people conduct raids all along the west coast cities of Tolnedra, and the great chain was raised repeatedly during the many sackings Tol Horb was forced to endure by the barbarian Alorns to prevent them from sailing up the river and sacking the great city of the Empire itself.

Tol Rane: The Ranite Family

In the southeastern mountains of the empire lies the city of Tol Rane. The city of the Ranites was the last imperial city to be built, and was built for the purpose of providing a temptation of trade to the stubborn Marags, as well as serving as a garrison for the imperial legions to hold the integrity of the eastern border against the Murgos, and the southern border against the Nyissans. In the time of Ran Borune XXIII (and the time of the Belgariad) it is a prominent city for trade with the Murgos (who have suddenly gone into a frenzy of trade with the western countries).

The Ranites on the Throne

The Ranites have led Tolnedra through two imperial dynasties. The First Ranite Dynasty, unlike the First Borune Dynasty and the First Horbite Dynasty, which had a good impression upon the empire as they led Tolnedra through a period of growth politically, militarily and influentially, the Ranites led the empire through a period of time where nothing major was accomplished on account of a hereditary disease stricking the Ranite emperors in their youth, preventing any of them from living long enough to accomplish anything significant. The Ranites went from Ran Rane I through to Ran Rane VII in a ninety year dynasty, the shortest of any of the imperial dynastys. The second Ranite dynasty, which lasted for a healthy three hundred or so years, was another period of Pax Tolnedra for the empire, and as such all the Ranite emperor's of any Ranite dynasty have been seen simply as caretakers

Money

It has been said that the true god of Tolnedra is money as it was the Tolnedrans who invented it, and it can cloud even the most sensibly of men's minds from reason as the ill-fated invasion of Maragor proved, resulting in the destruction of Maragor and the scattering of its people.

The Legions

Tolnedra is home to the Imperial , who make up the most orderly, neatly polished, most extensively trained and well-drilled army in the world. There are over one hundred legions, each consisting of one thousand men, and it is these legions who maintain the network of roads across the western continent. It is a result of these highways being the primary (and only) form of transport around the western world that ensures the incredible economic dominance of Tolnedra, in addition to their influence over international political affairs and military advantage. The Tolnedran General Staff are also known to possess incredible skill in strategizing battles and mapping deploying legions and armies tactfully. Their skill is so renowned, in fact, that during the invasion of Emperor Kal Torak of Mallorea (in actuality the God Torak of all of Angarak Himself), Belgarath the Socerer recommended moving the Alorn base of operations from the island safety of Riva and moving them to Tol Honeth and it's Military Academy (which was in fact only a few hundred leagues south of Vo Mimbre, the site of the largest and most important battle of the war), where generals who had risen through the ranks and gained valuable experience along the way held their posts instead of simply being appointed as a result of powerful family connections or political reasons.


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