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High King Harald

The Jarldom of Old Gaol Isle

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Members of the Committee,

This thread is for discussion about the Jarldom of Old Goal Isle so that we together can write a nice basic profile for it. Please submit your thoughts, ideas, knowledge, and opinions on this Jarldom, its population, traditions, customs, landscape, towns, noteworthy buildings, etc.

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Below you may find what I know about the Jarldom of Old Gaol Isle. Pick it up and run with it!! :)

 

The Jarldom of Old Gaol Isle is Stormark's prison island and the nation's first overseas territory.

 

 

It was acquired shortly after Harald of Ettlingar Freyu had completed the conquest of the Heartland and been crowned High King of Stormark. The island was purchased together with the feudal rights to a Norman fief called the County of Quercy from a Duke of Normandie who was in dire need for funds to pay for his costly wars against his unruly and treacherous vassals.

 

The purpose of the purchase was to provide Stormark, in a time that the nation was very young and vulnerable, with a safe and remote place to put away unruly henchmen of defeated and deposed petty kings and chieftains, the lieutenants of Ivar the Impaler in particular, to eliminate the threat of uprisings and rebellions incited by them.

 

Old Gaol Isle is a grim place with a harsh climate which combined with its very remote and inaccesible location in the far north of Micras, makes escaping from there a near-impossibility. It is one of the main reasons why crime levels in Stormark are so low that they are almost non-existant because the fear of being sent there deters many from committing crimes. Old Gaol Isle is also a favourite destination to send anti-social persons to and is therefore instrumental in keeping Stormark a pleasant place. Such persons are held in special gated towns and villages. The prison island is also very popular with hermits. The Imperial Prison Service is Old Gaol Isle's largest employer.

 

Stormark's prision island is home to several state-of-the-art supermaximum security prisons which house a prison population of the toughest crimminals ranging from international terrorists and maffioso from Sicilia to pirates and Gascon revolutionaries. Due to its formidable reputation, no one ever escaped from there, several foreign governments pay Stormark to keep their most dangerous criminals there.

 

There are also several monastaries and convents on Old Goal Isle.The best-known of them are those of the Sisters in Isolation and the Brothers of Reclusion. Those monastaries and convents are occasionally used to lock up persons who are an embarrassment to the state or to friendly states, such as a couple of former suitors of High Queen Sigrid or Princess Calamidad of Alexandria.

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I'm surprised to see this in the 'undeveloped' Jarldom category - from the description it sounds like you've got some good stuff going here already. I'll add a little more to flesh out the edges.

 

Old Gaol Island, surrounded by permanent ice, is always in the icy grip of winter. The main centre, Vardhaldsby is built around a cluster of hot springs which form the major natural source of warmth on the island. Where it not for the volcanic hotspot beneath the sea millions of years ago, there might not be any island here today. Beyond the warmth of the city, the barren landscape leaves little desire to be there. The few animals which call this island home are all white furred, blending into the surroundings - arctic rabbits and foxes, and the occasional polar bear, venturing inland when the comparative summer warmth renders the surrounding ice unstable to remain upon.

 

An icebreaker is always stationed at the main port, because without it, residents would have difficulty leaving the island. Planes are unreliable - storms and blizzards whip across the island with alarming regularity, and finding a clear day for smooth flying is not something to be relied upon. Few people call this island home by choice - beyond those needed to keep the penal side operating, there are barely a dozen families beyond the devout orders.

 

Being perhaps the only people who seem to enjoy the harsh climate, the various monasteries and convents dotted around the island expose their devout occupants to a harsh but rewarding life. The Sisters in Isolation take vows of non-contact with the outside world, and once they enter the monastery, remain there until they die. They grow a frugal amount of crops and berries in the safety of their convent - were it not for the volcanic soil of which the island is formed, and the regular application of manure from the cows and chickens kept within the convent, there would be no hope of growing enough food to survive. In particularly cold winters, families in Vardhaldsby might bring in extra blankets or some more supplies; but apart from these occasional visits, the Sisters live apart from the world, in a life of prayer, physical denial and social isolation.

 

The Brothers of Reclusion, the main monastic order on the island, are less extreme in their isolation. They rely upon the generous givings of the devout across Stormark to be provided with extra supplies and food which they are not able to grow themselves. They devote their time more to pray throughout the day, mental contemplation, and the studying of ancient texts. Though few journey to their monastery to witness the sight, it is said there are few religious experiences better than midnight prayer under the light of the Arctic Aurora.

 

 

Someone will probably want to do more on the prison, but there's a start.

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