The Grand Duchy of Kalgorod is an almost entirely independent nation in the Realm of Mir, ruled over by a Grand Duchess. It is a mystic place, full of magic and strange culture.
Kalgorod is one of the great cities of Eastern Mir, along with Muskovia, Rinsk, and Kiva. It grew to prominence along the Vodya river, as the city closest to Lake Shadomanse. The culture of Kalgorod was divided neatly on gender lines, with men performing the labor and acting as the warriors while the women did cooking, cleaning, and other simple tasks. As time went on the women, especially wives of chiefs and Princes, were expected to learn the finer matters of state and politics as well, making them very wise while their husbands continued to concern themselves with the study of warfare and combat.
After a time Prince Dalibor was approached by a mysterious being who came from Lake Shadomanse, known only as the Stranger. The Stranger offered to teach one of the Prince's family in magic, and Dalibor, not wanting to waste his son's time with such nonsense, volunteered his daughter, Jaketya. After five mysterious years away in the Shadow Mansion, Jaketya returned a deeply changed woman. She nominally took her place as court magician to Prince Dalibor, but secretly began going to all the powerful women of Kalgorod, giving them charms and lessons of magic and preparing. On the day of her brother's twenty-third birthday she struck. The military commanders and captains were poisoned, magic was used to drive the military into submission, and a flock of Samodiva harpies descended from the sky. Jaketya herself murdered both her father and brother, claiming the throne for herself and was crowned the first Grand Duchess, Jaketya Nevereski.
Kalgorod is a Grand Duchy with an all-female nobility. Only women have the right to inherit, and if a union results in no daughter to continue the family line, a title passes to the nearest female relative or, failing that, into the possession of the Grand Duchess, who redistributes it as she sees fit.
While the military of Kalgorod is comprised primarily of men, it is commanded by women, with men only able to rise up to minor officer positions. This military is supplemented by witches, sorceresses, and Samodivas, as well as mercenaries, of which Hobgoblins are favored.
The culture of modern Kalgorod is an inversion of the way it was before Jaketya's usurping of control. Women control the nation, as well as the education, while men are treated as foot soldiers, breeding stock, and worse. The male population is encouraged to become as strong and able as they can so they might be chosen as consorts for powerful noble women, though they are just as likely to be forced into the military or simply offered up as toys for the native Samodivas.
The grand city after which the Grand Duchy is named, Kalgorod is the obvious center of power. It is a great and mighty city built upon the Vodya river, with tall walls and stone streets.
Not specifically a property of the Grand Duchy, the mysterious Shadow Mansion is nevertheless tied inexorably to the nation and its fate.
Kalgorod is nominally allied to or a servant of the Tzardom of Muskovia, depending on who you ask and when. It irregularly pays tribute to the Tzardom and has assisted in wars when convenient, but the Grand Duchy has always professed independence.
The Shadow Mansion is very closely tied to Kalgorod, and every Grand Duchess since Jaketya has been educated in black magic in that mysterious place.
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nevereski
Anastasia Nevereski is the powerful Grand Duchess of Kalgorod, and a witch trained at the Shadow Mansion. She also serves as the matron of the Shadow Mansion, with great sway over the place and its head master.
The Vila or chieftess of the Samodiva flock of Kalgorod, Nadanolja dwells not only in the highest reaches of the Tower of Kalgorod but the highest levels of its society.