Governorate of Lachdolor
Situated in the eastern portion of Inner Benacia occupied by the Black Legions at the culmination of a brief armed confrontation with Kalgachia, Lachdolor remained a part of the Republic, albeit one whose obligations and ties to the Dolmen at Stonetree have been all but dissolved by the ebb and flow of incessant war.
The occupation of the region provided a pale of settlement into which could be deposited those recalcitrant Lach of the Unified Governorates who have refused to sign the covenants demanded of them by the state. By this means the Red Lach are divided into the Registered Lach, those who have signed the covenant and who may reside in Lachmeren, and the Forest Lach obliged to remove themselves into Lachdolor on account of their refusal of fealty.
Whilst the Registered Lach in the Governorates are obliged to surrender their children to the state at the age of seven for enrolment in Boarding Schools established for the purpose in Port Benacia the Forest Lach are explicitly prohibited from providing their children with any more than education than a basic grounding in Istvanistani and arithmetic.
The Garrison of Lachdolor comprises of the First Legion and the Konkordskaya Bratva. The clans of the Forest Lach are left pretty much to run their own affairs provided that they refrain from banditry and remain available for service at the behest of the occupiers as and when required.
The region holds significant natural gas reserves and the desire to exploit these was one of the driving impulses for the occupation of this otherwise woefully under-developed wilderness region. A wholly owned subsidiary of the ESB Group - Dolor Gas - was formed in late 1674 to map out the gas fields and begin commercial extraction.
Lachdolor is a compound name formed of "Lach", the Praeta for the Laqi tribesmen who for a time infested southern Benacia, and "dolor", an archaic Istvanistani word for a unit of suffering.
The name of Dolor can be traced, via the Minarborian settlement of the land as Novodolor (New Dolor) to the Barony of Dolor in the Duchy of Brookshire, comprising the historic counties of Woodshire, Caverden, Monty Crisco, and Alexandretta. How that region of Eastern Benacia acquired the name is another story, but succinctly it refers to the Via Dolōrōsa or Way of Sorrow followed by the warlord armies of the First Era progressing northwards along the western shore of the Red Elwynn towards the bloody enthronement of their chieftain as the latest fleeting Kaiser in Shirekeep, leaving a trail of destruction and misery in their wake.
The name was taken into exile by those traitors who fled the Imperial Republic and settled in the ungoverned territories of Central Benacia after the fall of Ashkenatza, establishing Novodolor in remembrance of their abandoned homeland. With the necrotic demise of the Minarborian Empire the lands fell into the possession of various Lach brigands who, for a time, confederated around a pact sworn before the Dolmen of Stonetree. This alliance proved to be unsustainable and Inner Benacia was, in due course, crushed between Kalgachia and the Black Legions.
The land that is now named for the suffering of the Lach has become a reservation for those unwilling to pledge to the covenant demanded by authorities in Merensk.
The Lichgraviate of Novodolor was a territory of the northeastern Imperial Shrublands of Minarboria, part of the undead monarch's core fiefdom known as the Lichnina. It was settled during the early years of the realm by a mixture of Overdolorish pioneers from Lichbrook, roving bands of Laqis from the south who had accepted the banner of Minarbor, and Mishalanski refugees fleeing the collapse of Jeannite Amokolia. It became apparent that the integration of these dissonant populations into a state of Shrubly amity could only be achieved by the direct hand of Minarboria's ruling necrarchy, and Novodolor was duly incorporated into the Lichnina in 1628 AN.
For some time after its foundation, the greater part of Novodolor was a lawless and plague-stricken place that was almost reduced to complete anarchy by the disastrous emergence of Tyrannocricetus aliger in 1629 AN. This gave rise to a lasting strain of dry fatalism and rugged temperament in the population, whose unflappable work ethic contributed much toward the development of Novodolor's southern industrial belt as well as giving local Shrubbery-backed paramilitary groups such as the Lichniks and the Karymovka Host a more uncomrpomising reputation than their peers in other provinces.
Novodolorsk was characterised by the three cities on its periphery; the capital Novodolorsk, the sprawling and ancient metropolis of Benacia Hamlet, and the frontier city of Vein. Between these cities were once the farmlands of the & Valley, the barren wastes of the eastern gas fields, and the fringes of the Octavian mountain range in the west. All of these rural areas were of relatively sparse habitation due to the Tee-al infestation, although the constriction of the creatures' containment zone by constant military action did, for a time, facilitate the slow re-population of its fringes by civilians.
The Novodolorish, while undeniably dour in character and dark in humour, accepted the tenets of Minarborealism as their prime motivation for improving the state of their bleak homeland into something altogether more jolly. The supremacy of Novodolor's undead caste through membership of the Lichnina existed hand-in-hand with Deep Singer influences from nearby Whisperwood and gave the place a quintessentially 'Minarborian' character; albeit not as pretty as Lachmeren and not as jolly as Lywall. The 'harder' nature of Novodolor was, however, rather appropriate in view its position as a likely first battleground in the event of a land invasion by a foreign power; the level of military recruitment and deployment in Novodolor, for both convential forces and partisan irregulars, was amongst the highest in the whole Empire of Minarboria; the population's grim but dutiful acceptance of being wiped out for the mere sake of stalling an invading army was the subject of much gallows humour among them.
The most important historical depiction of Novodolor-era society - now all but extinct, save for those elements determined by genetics and physical geography - can be found in the memoirs titled The Lot of a Lichnik, the case record of an officer of the Minarborian crown whcih detail his interactions with individuals and events across the Novodolorish class spectrum.
A state of rivalry existed between Novodolor (particularly the city of Novodolorsk) and the Marquessate of &zeter; with the latter regarded as an overly-liberal nest of effete cultural elitists with dangerous revolutionary tendencies, who in turn regarded the Novodolorish as a swathe of boorish provincials and wilful bigots of little use to society except as cannon fodder. It is perhaps this rivalry which prevented the more militant ideas of the Harvestfall Revolution from spreading beyond those small cadres of philosophers and arcanists who would go on to establish Kalgachia - suggesting, for those procedure-driven credents of the Minarborian Church who still clung to hopes of their empire's full reanimation, that the clerical élite in Sansabury still knew best and that their decimation by torpor, plague and psychosis was somehow irrelevant. Notwithstanding those who took flight toward the Octavian Mountains and revised their belief system, the wistful hubris of those remaining would go some way toward explaining their aimless pliability to subsequent waves of conquest.