The Aldish States

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The Aldish States

Post by GrayWatch on Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:11 pm

Government Type:
Republic-
Representatives from specific extended families (known as the High Clans) act in congress to rule the nation.

High Clans:
Clan Almien, Clan d'Vanith, Clan Karas, and Clan Ishyll

Geography:

The lands controlled by the Aldish Clans lie in the far west of the vast valley bound to the north by the Black Mountains, to the South by the Spine of Ara'niel. The mountain ranges run close to each other here, and the terrain is extremely broken. Much of the land to the north and south superficially resembles an extremely "loose" karst land formation, with interwoven vegetation and exposed limestone. Consequentially the forests through the country are quite thin, and most open land is used as pasture for grazing animals as opposed to growing crops. As per usual for such a large karst, the Aldish States sit over a plethora of underground rivers and cavern systems. Soil lies deeper in the central valley, which is where most farming occurs.
Spoiler:

Climate:
The Aldish Lands are best described as "frequently wet". Storms coming in off the western sea are common, and the mountains act as a funnel both for the storms and for ground water. Spring and Summer in particular are the wet seasons, with hot and humid weather between near daily showers. Standing pools of stagnant water tend to form during this time, and insect populations explode. Fall and Winter see less rainfall, but the storms that do come are more severe.
Inevitably any roads not made of stone are washed out or damaged over the course of a year, making navigation of the more remote regions difficult.

Economy:
Despite being an ostensibly miserable place at first glance, the Aldish States are renowned for their production of luxury goods, and specific breeds of animals. The unusually warm climate, high rainfall and extremely varied elevations is ideal for a wide variety of plant life not common in other parts of Ara'niel. In particular the country exports a wade variety of dyes, recreational drugs, and fruit wine. However it's real wealth comes from silk. An unusual strain of tree that silk worms favor grows primarily in the Aldish States. Silk worms that feed on the leaves of these trees produce silk with an iridescent sheen not found elsewhere.

Significantly less profitable, though far more iconic of the nation are the local beasts of burden. The broken landscape and unreliable back roads discourage hooved beasts as a primary choice for beasts of burden. Rather, the Aldish states use the Maldin, a breed of hound measuring approximately 4 feet at the shoulder, with a build similar to a bulldog, the origins of which have been lost in the mists of time (though historians suggest they may have been used as war hounds during the early stages of the Great War, by the late stages certain behavioral characteristics were so bred in they were functionally useless as war animals). The beasts have greater maneuverability and raw strength than normal draft animals, though less stamina, making them less suitable for long journeys, and little used outside their homelands. Due to their wide frame they cannot be effectively ridden. Though the breeding lines are as carefully controlled as any thoroughbred's their impracticality and voracious eating habits means they see little use outside of their homeland, save as novelty pets for the rich, much to the frustration of hopeful breeders.

Culture:

The Aldish culture centers around family. Much of who you are is defined by who you came from, or in the case of recent immigrants, who you work for, or board with. Prestige for being from a powerful or distinguished family or disrespect for coming from a house of known liars. Immigrants are usually quietly drafted into a pre-existing collection of families, based on who they are most associated with.

Most families group together into larger extended families called clans (which may or may not be blood related). Clans usually have some internal ruling body, usually a Clan Head that resolves internal disputes, and provides direction and instruction to the clan at large. The exact specifics of how this is handled vary by clan, but within the nation a "clan" is a recognized legal body, similar to a business, and contracts reached between clan heads apply to all members of the relevant clan.

The clans themselves are arranged in a dizzying hierarchy of prestige, where smaller clans are affiliated with, and under older, richer, or more powerful clans, which in turn are affiliated with still more powerful clans, the High Clans being at the top of the tree. Generally younger clans agree to the more powerful clans having a certain degree of influence over them in return for favorable business contracts, patronage, or services provided by the larger clans.

While certainly not legally enforced, the fact that clans are regarded as legal entities to whom the government can give orders (or more accurately to whom the orders can be passed down from the High Clans, from clan to clan) does encourage specialization among clans, and as such many have become renowned as being particularly talented at one field.

In more general terms, as so many luxury goods are so easily accessible, displays of lavish goods and decorations are considered tacky. Understated elegance is usually the mark of prestige in most aesthetics. The highest degree of wealth and prestige however, is displayed in celebrations. The Cymerian Ecclesiarchy, the dominant 'religious' philosophy of the area, lists a large number of holy days, most of which are ignored by the monks themselves. The wealthy however use these days as displays of prestige, throwing lavish feasts, and inviting allied and subordinate clans. The more food present, the bigger the statement. Doubly so if the food contains foreign delicacies.

On the note of magic, while legal to practice magic within the borders of the Aldish States, all mages, even visitors, are expected to go to a government or military post and register as a mage within the country. It is strictly illegal to teach any sort of mage-craft within the borders of the country. That said, there is no official enforcement nor investigation policy for either of these laws, so the discovery and punishment of violators is largely dependent upon the determination and mood of the relevant officer of the peace.

Significant Settlements:

The Aldish States, as the name implies were once a collection of independent states divided up among and ruled by what are now the High Clans, and as such the largest and most developed settlements tend to be the ancestral homes of these clans.

Rillwater-
While in truth the true ancestral compound of Clan Almien lies some odd three miles north of this settlement, the largely wooden town perched in the foothills of the Black Mountains is nevertheless clearly shaped by their hand. The finest silken goods come from Rillwater, and it enjoys the most temperate weather of the nation's major settlements. Despite the pleasent weather however, Clan Almien has long been the most reserved clan when it comes to open displays of emotion, and the town reflects this. Though silks of any color imaginable can be bought here, the average citizen wears muted colors, and raised voices from any but the youngest children will draw askance. While profits from the silk trade have been at an all time low until recently the family has remained wealthy by controlling several banking assests, and has a powerful voice in the ruling Council. As such the admittedly small town enjoys a suspicious amount of government ordered maintenance and beautification.

Stormshadow-
Clan d'Vannith have long been the warhawks of the Council, historically cited as dragging the nation into conflicts that could have been avoided. Just as often cited as being the major force ensuring the nation's survival during many periods of the Great War. Fittingly enough the d'Vannith occupy a renovated fortress in the far northwest of the nation. As the fortress walls bear the brunt of the frequent storms raging in from the nearby coast, the town huddled up against it's eastern walls gained it's name from "hiding" from these storms in the shadow of the fortress. As the first major town travelers along the coast will encounter Stormshadow sees many goods not so easily accessible in the rest of the nation. Known as the armory of the nation it supplements it's own mining operations with foreign metal, and blacksmiths and armorers are always in high demand. As the d'Vannith are the most militant High Clan, as well as the largest contributor to the various policing and peace keeping forces of the nation many of the militant orders within the nation claim the city as their home or local training center.

Davon's Stand
The home of Clan Karas borders the Spine of Ara'niel, but rests at the base of it's soaring foothills, rather then nestled among them as Rillwater is. Karas specializes in mercantile operations, and it's city reflects it. The city sports more Maldin stables than any other, and the majority of carpenters, stonemasons and other clans responsible for construction of infrastructure of any sort have a small section of their clan based here, or visit frequently. Far and away the richest city, to suit the richest family, all of the "official" offices of governance are in this city, though in truth most of the country's policies are decided in quiet backroom deals between clan heads on "social visits" to each other. The majority of temples and religious centers are here as well, as the Karas and their allies are very willing to provide patronage to anything they believe might draw more visitors, pilgrims, traders, or anyone else with coin to their town.

Clan Ishyll, regarded as the least prestigious clan (in fact regarded as slightly....grubby, by those who hold them no alleigance) was a mercantile Clan of little note until fifty years ago. At that time Ventus Ishyll made a deal in a foreign land, providing goods for seemingly for free to a warlord. Shortly thereafter any competitors with Clan Ishyll tended to get beset by curiously well armed and drilled bandits. Similarly unfortunate accidents befell competitors warehouses, and cries of foul play went ignored after the families of military officers mysteriously disappeared. With such incredible "luck" Ishyll quickly amassed staggering amounts of wealth and power, and was eventually, and begrudgingly, recognized as having enough influence to qualify as a major clan. However due to it's recent rise, it does not have an ancestral home and is instead spread across the nation, largely making money by producing low quality goods in all areas, and selling them for only just slightly less than high quality goods. Claims that Clan Ishyll is as great a pack of theives, liars, and bloody minded criminals as one could ever find in any criminal organization, or the somewhat bolder claims that Ishyll is a criminal organization that bullied it's way to political power are made only by fools, and as any Aldishman can tell you, fools are always wrong, even when they're accurate.

Relationships with Foreign Nations:
Conclave-
Spoiler:
Emissaries from the Conclave have a frustrating task ahead of them if they wish to learn about anything whatsoever about the goings-on in the Aldish States in their official capacity. The Aldish States recognize no special deals or circumstances regarding the Conclave, and certainly would not allow a foreign power to have any degree of oversight into the ruling of the Aldish States. They regard the Conclave purely as another foreign nation, and treat them as such, which of course means that they are more than welcome to enter the Aldish States, provided they agree to be subject to all the laws thereof. As for official dignitaries, the Aldish States are always more than happy to entertain the ambassadors of potential customers.

On paper at least. In truth any dignitaries from the Conclave will find themselves smothered in goodwill, with not a moment free between feasts, last minute trade negotiations, celebrations, culture festivals, parties held in their honor and other events, all of enough import that refusing to intend would be construed as an international insult grave enough to have the ambassador sent home. It is predictably hard to pursue a private agenda's under such circumstances, and as the States do not admit or acquiesce to oversight from the Conclave any itinerary flatly demanding such would be politely reminded of this fact, and just as politely denied before the trip was arranged.

Similarly ambassadors will find servants nearly always checking up on them, to see if they would like a drink, massage, herbal tea, pleasing recreational drugs, delicious snack, or similar. More than one visiting mage has been surprised to find that it takes less than an hour after sneaking out for an alarm about a "potential kidnapping of a foreign dignitary" to be raised, and a very thorough search conducted in a 10 mile radius, and expanding from there until the ambassador is safely ensconced by the local peace keeping force and escorted back to the safety of his residence. And later brought to another celebration in his honor.

For unofficial guests, those with Conclave accents have a distressing habit of being accused of being unregistered mages, and the official attention tend towards tying up all their free time for a few months at best, or imprisonment at worst.
The easiest way for a Conclave mage to investigate the Aldish Lands is to genuinely register as a mage, and put up with the confiscation of any and all materials he has that could be used to teach magecraft at the time of emmigration, as well as random searches for several months afterwards.


Last edited by GrayWatch on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:08 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: The Aldish States

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