The land of the five lakes lies in the eastern fastland; it is bordered by the tuntra and Pohjah to the north, the valley of the River Liza that flows from Orestol to the east, the Great Divide to the south, and Seouleato and the Flay Mountains to the west.
People have lived there since pre-history. It seems that there many different tribes, with various origins and from various racial stocks. In the west there were some akin to those of Pohjah; in the north a few other tribes, knowledge of which is now lost; in the west lived the Kelts; and in the south and the valleys of the Great Divide various peoples, of a wide variety of backgrounds. They were generally technologically backwards, though culturally rich.
The richer and more sophisticated lands to the south and west paid them little heed till around a thousand years ago, when merchants from the Kingdom of Nineveh started to establish permanent bases as far north as the shores of Latchmere. Within a hundred years the second Daumlin dynasty seek to establish more direct and permanent control there. To this end they establish a client Kingdom of Narma centred on the newly-built fort and town now called Ibstoche. This claims all the land between the Asamanga (later the River Bradea) and the River Liza (then called the Ouse), but the Kelts at Triweru (later Aldridge) resist them, and control is patchy elsewhere. Often their only effective control is on the lands about the road from the Kangue Pass across the Great Divide to Ibstoche. There is however a flourishing trade with many of the people of the land of the five lakes, even unto the northern shore of Lake Almer. This influence and trade remains buoyant till around five hundred years ago.
However, from about the middle of the fourteenth century Indracian people start to travel up the River Bradea from their earlier homes in the eaves of the Myrcewald south of the Flay Mountains. Although they were originally a forest people, they take readily to the water and initially settle on the islands in Lake Almer and Latchmere. They remain a water-travelling people thereafter, and make most of their journeys by boat. They have never had much use for horses, and use donkeys to pull such carts and ploughs as they have. More arrive over the next couple of centuries, including families, and this and the intermingling with the indigenous tribes leads to wide settlement.
Their first establishment of note other than on an island is Marstun, which is incorporated into the Kingdom of Lealay that had previously been confined to the island of Mersea. By the middle of the sixteenth century they had penetrated all the land that they subsequently ruled, with the taking of Triweru – renamed Aldridge – from the Kelts and the founding of the Kingdom of Sumorfolk, for it was established at mid-summer.
However, the Indracs then suffered a series of setbacks as the Venafae dynasty from Nineveh start to systematically encroach into the land of the five lakes in an attempt to re-establish their overlordship, building towers and fortified towns – as far north as Twyninge and as far east as Rudeard – which they called Aenyelrel. At its maximum extent they exercise at least nominal control as far north as Marstun, Latchmere, and the mouth of the River Liza, though they could not take Aldridge.
But the Indracs fight back, founding Horblinge as a forward base around five hundred years ago and taking Rudeard. One hundred years or so later occurs the Battle of the Leaheald Hills, where the combined Indracian tribes defeat the Ninevehan army; Ninevehan power thereafter retreats quickly, other than their retention ofArikavar, later Govington. This is captured by an Indracian army after the best part of another century. This signals the end of Ninevehan government power north of the Great Divide, though individuals continue to meddle in the affairs of the southern lakes.
Around two hundred years ago the thirteen kingdoms are established with much the same boundaries as they still have, and all thirteen realms agree that the lands around Lake Meaux shall be left solely as the Ecclesiastical Lands, not claimed by any secular kingdom. By now the population of the fourteen realms was approaching perhaps a quarter of a million souls, though there were great differences between the populations of the various realms.
The lands of the five lakes at around the time of Taru are comprised of:
REALM (CAPITAL) – POPULATION
Balkhorne (Madelea) – 30,000
Braidland, Kingdom of (Celchede) – 600,000
Cambland, Kingdom of (Crowle) – 90,000
Cerefolk, Kingdom of (Malton) – 70,000
Cudbertland, Kingdom of (Astrop) – 75,000
Ecclesiastical Lands (Arne) – 250,000
Lealey, Principality of (Greenhithe) – 300,000
Leofrey, Principality of (Rymley) – 20,000
Mearcrey, Kingdom of (Ibstoche) – 175,000
Middelscreat, Kingdom of (Knightun) – 200,000
Middland, Kingdom of (Cherwell) – 500,000
Regeland, Principality of (Redlanstun) – 20,000
Sumorfolk, Kingdom of (Aldridge) – 60,000
Suthafeld, Kingdom of (Rudeard) – 80,000