Vestilla, the fortified castle city in the mountains on Northern Caelon, stands at a higher elevation than any other castle in the whole of the peninsula. Huge, ancient walls built directly into the mountainside offer protection against any would-be invaders. Inside the outer walls lie separate districts where all citizens carry out their lives under the constant oversight of the Vestillan Guard. A king sits atop the throne, asserting his influence on a wide span of countryside that includes smaller keeps and villages, as well as a vast forest across the realm, untouched by the Great Fire.
Vestilla, like many of the great kingdoms in the world, was built on the remains of an ancient city lost to time when The Fall saw the end of the First Civilization. While the secrets of the architecture trade were lost to time, the walls that encircle the kingdom still stand tall to this day, as well as the castle and inner courtyard alike. The temple, which has also weathered the ages, now serves as a spiritual site for the Torians who inhabit the realm. Many of the smaller buildings had to be torn down and rebuilt when the castle city was first reclaimed.
The name Vestilla came about because the castles that dot the landscape there are said to be some of the last vestiges of a bygone era.
As is typical in this age, the kingdom of Vestilla is ruled by a singular monarch. The family that presides over the seat of Vestilla is the House of Ávalos.
Prior to the ascension of Francisco Ávalos I, Vestilla castle was ruled by a two hundred year line of rivaling lordships, including several now extinct houses such as Ibarel, Dantos and Metómo, as well as some houses that now serve as bannermen for the House of Ávalos, most notably the La Casias line, which ultimately aligned with Francisco Ávalos I to unite the lordships under a single King, now known as the realm of Vestilla we see today.
At the Battle of Gelgadongo, Francisco Ávalos I won over the hearts of many of the lords of the mountain, when he and his soldiers charged into battle, coming to the aid of his top rival lord Sancho Gutierrez, who had been flanked by Warathi forces. Because of the brave maneuver, now known by historians as Francisco’s Charge, any support for the challenge to the seat of Vestilla by Gutierrez disappeared immediately. Until then, it was likely the pattern of challenging and overthrowing the ruling king by the most powerful rival would have continued.
While the power of the king of Vestilla is absolute, other men do hold high status within the walls of the kingdom. The King’s Guard, a royal force led by the current lord of La Casias, operates as both the protector of the King and the law enforcement of the city and, to a lesser extent, the realm as a whole. The other castles dotting the mountainside have their own guard, and their rule is generally not challenged by the King’s Guard aside from in rare, special circumstances.
The King keeps a very tight small council, including only representatives from a few Noble Houses, and a representative of the Torian Church.
The monarchy is passed down through the oldest son of the King.
The Kingdom of Vestilla is surrounded by a lush forest that allows for bountiful hunting for the King. The woods are so lush, in fact, that Vestilla was able to decree a large portion of the Eastern wood was to be “now and forever” proclaimed free for all hunting and harvesting, even by peasants, without repercussions that are typical for hunting in the woods directly surrounding Vestilla.
It’s worth noting that this decree came about after the Great Fire destroyed much of the forests of the peninsula of Caelon, sparing the Vestillan woods. The decision to dedicate the woods as free hunting grounds was most likely politically driven, as there was fear of potential war with the surrounding kingdoms over the rights. Because of this, war was averted and even peasants can now make a living hunting and harvesting the woods.
Vestilla has only a small standing military, but like the other kingdoms of the day, militia and mercenaries can be summoned at will, should a need for war ever arise.