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The Grand Duchy of Kroon covers a roughly trapezoidal area of approximately one million square miles and is the first publicly traded dukedom listed on the Lotnikk Stock Exchange (LSE)1.
The population is hard to tally since parts of the claimed territory are in dispute with neighboring dukedoms, kingdoms, and fiefdoms, but official records2 put the current population at 562,324… er, 25… as of this writing, including the disputed area of the highly prolific… 26, no, 28… Maligned Molerats of Murandy. Not only is this territory disputed, but it is also… 33… argued that the Molerats shouldn’t even count as part of the population since… well, since they’re Molerats… 35. But, since official records include them, so does this author… 46.
The largest, and most populace urban area (despite the size of the Molerat population… 51) in all of the Grand Duchy of Kroon is Bodea-Lotnikk. Bodea-Lotnikk is considered the most modern (and dangerous) city in the world3. Hootsville is its smallest town with a population of only three4.
The Grand Duchy was first founded in 32 PBY (Pre-Boolean Years) by King Reginald Ortessa of Nighlorn (affectionately called KROoN by those who despised him) when King Reginald was trying to be the first person in history to sail an airship around the world. Unfortunately for Reginald the airship crashed right at the spot where the First Kroon Bridge now stands, spanning the Kroon River between Bodea and Lotnikk. At the time of the accident only a sparsely populated forest existed in the area, so no help could arrive at the crash site. The King’s airship was quickly washed downstream and a very badly injured Reginald was barely able to pull himself ashore. King Reginald never fully healed and was unable to make it back to Nighlorn5. King Reginald named his new kingdom New Nighlorn, but due to his grievous injuries, he died in the second year of his reign in this new kingdom.
Succeeding him was Duke Ferdigard the First. Knowing full well the King’s nickname, and having grown to despise the king himself, the Duke renamed the Kingdom of New Nighlorn as the Duchy of Kroon. It wouldn’t be until many years later, under the rule of Duke Noseblaft the Stiff6 that the word Grand would be added to the official name.
A Brief History
The Grand Duchy of Kroon has had one ruling King, 23 Dukes, 12 Duchesses, and one Eminence7 in its long history, excluding all share holders holding the honorary title of Duke since the Duchy went into public holdings. The longest rule was that of Duchess Persephone who ruled for 51 years to the day. The shortest rule was the rule of Duke Ferdigard The Martyr who only ruled for two and a half days.
The Duchy has seen its fair share of both good and bad rulers, more bad than good. Ok, maybe one good ruler in Duchess Persephone, if one overlooks the Myxlplyct Conundrum that happened on her reign. But, of all the bad rulers, Duke Ferdigard XII, also known as Duke Ferdigard The Unwise and Duke Ferdigard The How-Could-You-Be-So-Stupid-As-To-Lose-A-Whole-Dukedom, is universally agreed upon to be the worst8. In 1392 PBY (Post-Boolean Years), Duke Ferdigard XII lost the Grand Duchy of Kroon to the infamous pirate Ezekial "Left Leg" Underthere? in the most famous game of "Find the Dwarven Maiden's Panties" ever played. Left Leg?, unsure what to do with a whole Duchy, tried to sell the Duchy for quick cash, but it seemed there was no one, including Duke Ferdigard XII that could afford the exorbitant price he was asking9. After having no luck selling the Duchy, Left Leg came up with a brand new idea. He broke the Duchy into "shares" that he then sold to the any person who wanted to buy them at a cost of 1 Dabloon each. Each share gave its owner a certain amount of sway with Left Leg? to deal things in their favor. Eventually there were so many shares that the influence over Left Leg? by any one individual owning a share was so small that the shares became useless to their owners. At that point Left Leg? got wise and wrote out a number of equivalent shares (actually he paid someone else to do it), plus 10% more, to create a "majority" of shares that he then owned. He then took this majority of shares and sold them, along with an honorary title of "Duke", to the highest bidder10 and then promptly skipped town with the proceeds.
The Duchy Today
Today the Duchy passes hands from person to person, or business to business depending on who owns the majority shares. People go to the LSE to trade their shares for money or stock, and the type of stock they trade for, and the number of shares one must trade to get the stock varies as people have more or less faith in the value of the shares. Stock prices in the past have ranged from a few hundred shares for a good cow, to as much as several thousand shares. Tachyderms are always expensive, but chickens remain constant and are used as the baseline for this valuation since a law resides on the books that no share of the Duchy can be worth less than one chicken11.
Once someone owns the majority shares of the Duchy, they take with it the title of Duke and get to make laws and run the Duchy for as long as they hold that majority. Unfortunately, the shares in the Duchy have never made anyone money and have actually caused financial ruin to many of its holders. For this reason the majority shares and the honorary title change hands frequently. People buy the majority to enact a law or statute for their benefit, and then are stuck with the title, usually losing money during the entire time, until someone else needs a law passed and they are therefore able to pawn it off to that individual or business.
One honorary Duke did try to invoke new tax laws to actually have the Duchy make money, but he became very unpopular and was subsequently beheaded in a ceremony that is still celebrated annually today as the Youl Tax Cut Celebration.
As one might imagine, this system of government is highly ineffective. In the year 1436 Duke Tideus Coppersmith12 decreed that a more stable government was needed and established the post of Grand Duke. The Grand Duke is a paid employee of the Grand Duchy and therefore answers to the current Duke and other share holders, but while the Duke may change from day to day, or even minute to minute, the position of Grand Duke is consistent, thanks wholly to the Law of Equal Parts, also instituted by Duke Tideus Coppersmith. The first such appointed Grand Duke was Grand Duke Henrik, Duke Tideus Coppersmith's brother-in-law, and appointed as a reconciliation of debt owed to him.
1Listed as GDK with more than 5 million shares world-wide and still the only listing on the LSE.
4Excluding the family’s pet ferret, since it IS only a ferret after all.
5In his absence Nighlorn was able to pull itself out of economic depression and went on to have a time of prosperity unrivaled ever since.
6Duke Noseblaft suffered from a host of illnesses, including Qiri Syndrome and Bedlamb and the combination of remedies taken for these illnesses made him sore and gave him a cumbersome gait thus earning him the title of "the Stiff", contrary to many popular rumors of the time regarding the condition of his genitalia.
7His Emminence Bernard despised the title of Duke, but once it was discovered that His Emminence Bernard was actually an Ainslough Fairy in a very tall costume, His Emminence was stripped of all titles and roughly escorted back to Ainslough. Bernard ruled for 11 years, 5 months, and 14 days.
89 out of 10 historians agree. Of course, 9 out of 10 historians also agree that the Xtant Mountains don't actually exist.
9Historical records indicate that he asked for enough rum to fill the castle from floor to ceiling, a one way ticket to Exerprad, 10,000 gold coins, and an end to the rat problem in Bodea-Lotnikk. Apparently it was the cost of exterminating the rats that no one could afford.
10Ezekial's? rule is not considered an "official rule" and the honorary title of Duke sold with the majority shares has counted as a single reign of the Duke in official records (though not counted at all by this author), as set forth by the current, honorary Duke, not the original honorary Duke, whose name has been lost in the "official" shuffle, according to the "official" record of the current honorary Duke.
11Which often annoys the chicken farmers since the value of chickens drops with the people's trust in the Duchy. At one point in time it actually cost 1300 chickens to purchase one loaf of bread.
12Duke Tideus Coppersmith was majority shareholder of the Duchy for 12 hours 23 minutes, enough time to appoint the position of Grand Duke, enact the Law of Equal Parts, and spend enough of the Duchy's money to hire the Royal Architect to install a outdoor fountain at his mansion before almost going belly up and pawning the Duchy off on another. Still he is remembered with fondness by the Duchy for bringing some manner of stability back to the governing system, and his wife was very pleased with the fountain.