Ghealdan is a relatively small country that lies along the feet of the Mountains of Mist to the north of Amadicia and northwest of Altara. The current sign of Ghealdan is that of the Dragon Reborn, a gold dragon on a red field.
Ghealdan stretches from the Forest of Shadows, also called the Great Blackwood, along the southern banks of the River Manetherendrelle, to the River Eldar in the south, and from the Mountains of Mist in the west to the immense ridge known as Garen's Wall in the east. Its capital city is Jehannah, located on the banks of the River Boern. Ghealdan is a land of mountains and foothills in the west, the rocky lands along the ridge in the east, and large swathes of forest in between, such as the Dhallin Forest. Ghealdan is one of the smallest kingdoms in the Westlands.
Ghealdan is ruled by a hereditary monarch - currently Queen Alliandre Maritha Kigarin - advised by the Crown High Council, a body of lords and powerful merchants. The Council sees to the day-to-day running of the country and elects a new monarch should the previous line die out. The Council's power is varying in size, depending on what party or group has control, and is of varying power.
Ghealdan may either be ruled by a king or queen. The ruler's power is more than simply being a figurehead like in Altara or Murandy, but it is less absolute than in Andor, Cairhien, or in Illian. The Council has a strong say on who ascends to the throne, though ascent is usually hereditary. Marriage to a commoner bars a potential ruler from the throne, though it is possible for commoners to be raised to nobility. By law, no-one can sit on the Crown High Council if they were in the line of succession, and no member of the Council could become king or queen.
The Council's power in the kingdom is secondary to that of the monarch, but recently the Council has attempted to bolster its power by abolishing the ruler's elite military guard. This has been thwarted since the Queen has reconstituted the guard while on a period of absence outside the kingdom.
As a small country, Ghealdan does not possess a substantial standing army. Instead, it has a small, professional force known as the Legion of the Wall, which protects the borders, polices Jehannah, and protects the ruler. In times of war the Legion forms the core of the Ghealdanin war effort and trains new levies to support its operations. The Legion of the Wall was temporarily disbanded at the insistence of Masema Dagar, but has been reconstituted by the Queen during her absence from the kingdom. The new commander of the Legion is the professional and respected soldier, First Captain Gerard Arganda.
Ghealdanin noblewoman nearly always employ a Master of the Horse to lead their forces into battle, and very rarely personally lead their armies. As in most other nations, Ghealdanin noblemen are expected to lead their troops into battle whether or not they are competent to do so.
Economy and culture
Ghealdan produces alum and its mines are responsible for much of the wealth of the kingdom. However, Ghealdan is not a rich nation, especially compared to its neighbors, and the mines in the Mountains of Mist are not as productive as those in Andor to the north.
There is some cloth and carpet manufacturing, but neither is considered the finest. Ghealdan is especially known for timber and fine woods. Gold, silver, and iron are also mined in Ghealdan. Ghealdanin steel is not considered as fine as that in Andoran or Illian, but neither is it especially poor. Ghealdan also produces a significant amount of furs.
The normal Ghealdanin clothing style is a coat fastened with a double row of wooden buttons. For excise men working at the docks, this is typically a blue coat with chains and a seal on the chest.
During the War of the Hundred Years several attempts were made to refound the kingdom of Dhowlan, which used to share Ghealdan's borders before the days of Artur Hawkwing. After the failure of the last attempt in FY 1109, Lord Kirin Almeyda, Lady Valera Prosnarin, Lord Cynric Talvaen, and Lady Iona Ashmar founded the new kingdom of Ghealdan in its stead. Kirin Almeyda became the first King of Ghealdan and the others formed the Crown High Council to advise him.
Ghealdan's history has largely been peaceful, despite minor border incidents with Amadicia and Altara. Ghealdan is not a rich country and its natural resources are not worth the cost of trying to invade the country. However, after the Children of the Light assumed control of Amadicia roughly seventy years ago, they began attempting to bring Ghealdan under their control as well. The Ghealdanin successfully resisted such attempts and the Whitecloaks have chosen not to pursue a full-scale invasion, believing the losses would outweigh any possible benefits.
In late 997 NE, Ghealdan suffered severe losses when the false Dragon Logain Ablar rose to power and rampaged across the country. He was eventually stopped in battle in Murandy, but Ghealdan was left shaken by the conflict. In early 999 NE, a group of Shienaran soldiers descended from the mountains and one of them, Masema Dagar, proclaimed that the true Dragon Reborn had emerged, and that Ghealdan should follow him to the Last Battle. Attempts by the Ghealdanin government to crush this insurrection failed and after the deaths of King Johanin and Queen Ellizelle in rapid succession, followed by the abdication of Queen Teresia, the newly-elected Queen Alliandre Maritha Kigarin instead forged an alliance with the self-titled 'Prophet of the Dragon' that saw him and his forces removed from the country and encouraged to invade Amadicia instead. Alliandre then swore fealty to the Dragon Reborn through his true representative, Lord Perrin Aybara of the Two Rivers, and assisted him on his mission to bring the Prophet to heel and destroying a Shaido force at the Battle of Malden. In her absence, the Crown High Council continues to rule Ghealdan, unaware that these events, plus Alliandre's exposure to the advice of Berelain, First of Mayene, and the Lady Faile Aybara have made Alliandre into a more canny and cunning ruler.
The flag of Ghealdan is illustrated with three five-pointed stars in The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, but described in Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Wheel of Time Companion as having six-pointed stars. The text description in The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time does not mention any specific number of stars.
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