[Western Reaches and Oronin]
This is the homeland of the Pelandans, who have often been conquered by their neighbors. They have a long tradition of art, music, drama, and other creative activities, coupled with a tendency to create independent city-states which get crushed by more militant, better united neighbors. It is clear the area was united by the Lunars to weaken the Carmanians, who had dominated the area for a long time.
The EelAriash? Clan has ruled the Satrapy for nigh on 80 years and has been engaged in a breeding program of uncertain purpose for much longer; given they produced HonEel? and JarEel? the Razoress, many speculate they are trying to create some sort of ultimate Heroine or maybe a whole force of them. The Hero Wars may bring this to a head or crash it down. The present Satrap, VarEel?, is getting old but is known for his honesty, forthrightness, and patronage of the arts. He is initiated to the Seven Mothers and a sorceror of some note.
Oronin mostly produces meat and grains, but is noted for its fine wines, its olive trees and olive oil and it's fine breads. The southern hills are a major source of metals. And their pottery and arts and crafts bring in a lot of income.
Pelandan society revolves around a six class system. Those elected to the rank of 'Archon' are the first class; the mercantile oligarchy which elects the Archons are the second class. Most Pelandans are thirds: free farmers and urban artisans. Unmarried laborers and tenant farmers are fourths. The fifths are day labor and hobos and the sixth are slaves. The hardest social jump was to enter the oligarchy; this required adoption into an oligarchic family. Thirds and below are organized into clans who have representation in the city assemblies. These days, usually the top rank is held by an appointed imperial official, but he is usually chosen from the seconds.
The Eolians are a clan-based society of reindeer herders who dwell in the cold taiga north of Karasal, Oronin, and the Western Marches; most of the clans are outside the Empire. Those clans who have sworn to the Red Emperor are known as the Thrice-Blessed Eolians, who protect the Empire's northwestern frontier. They are organized into nomad clans of 600-1000. A typical clan can field 13 Soma (elite warriors) and 200 Soga (part-time warriors), armed with spear and bow and used to firing from reindeer-back. The clans inside Oronin form 21 clans in three tribes: the Ogre-Slayers, the Victorious at Kaatan, and the Children of Twain. They got on poorly with the Pelandrans but no longer raid south, though they sometimes grumble about it.
These lands have seen better days, though the end of the Syndic's Ban in Fronela has reopened trade with the west and brought new prosperity to the land. The Carmanians were once exiles from Fronela who briefly mastered much of Peloria after the Dragonkill, until the rise of the Red Goddess brought them low. They mixed their Malkioni heritage with the theism of Peloria to produce their own brand of the faith, believing in gods of light and darkness; each is worshiped when appropriate, for sometimes you must use the open hand and sometimes the sword.
The ruthlessness in war of the Carmanians did not endear them to anyone and everyone respects, fears, hates and admires them at once. They are powerful heavy cavalry and horse archers, as well as expert traders and holy men who seek mystical insight. A Carmanian always has one eye on the heavens and another on earth, a sword in one hand and a balm in the other. He seems himself as flexible and holy; others see him as deceptive and unpredictable.
He can use that.
The White and Black Laws and the Book of Light and Darkness define the left hand path of peace and the right hand path of war. They define how all should live according to his caste and the white and black duties of each caste. Certain people devote themselves to one road or the other but this is seen as dangerous. Someone who leans too far left may end up a doormat for others; someone who leans too far right becomes a danger to all around him, friend and foe alike. Idovanus (Fire, Harmony, Truth) is the Lord of Light, the gentle and kind lord of the left hand path. GanEstoro? is the Lord of Darkness (Darkness, Death, Illusion) the strong, ruthless lord of the right hand path. The wise man must steer a course between them.
At the top of society is the Padishah, a role now held by the Red Emperor. It was his job to lead in war and peace and to decide between them wisely.
Next come the lords and viziers, who are chosen from the ranks of lesser Carmanians, to serve the Padishah through administration and generalship for lords and through scholarship, priestly duties, and magic for the viziers. Only these groups wield magic above the common level. Vizierate magic combines Grimoire magic and theistic initiation.
Hazars (landowners) and romank (landless Carmanians) are next. Traditionally they have the duty of fighting; in the modern era, many are actually artisans and craftsmen in the cities and lesser learned folk.
Carmanian women belong to their own caste, but generally follow the lead of their husbands in lifestyle, rights, and work. Some now move up in society by becoming Lunars; this angers conservatives but they can't stop it.
Below women are the serfs, heretical Pelandrans punished by becoming petty farmers who work for the Hazars and those further up. Serfs are serfs for life.
Carmanian religion involves in every moment trying to decide 'which hand to use' to deal with situations. Who deserves gentleness and who harshness? Both have their uses, and if used appropriately are not condemned. Conversely being kind when you should be cruel is seen as just as bad as being cruel when you should be kind.
Many Carmanians devote themselves to a Saint who provides guidance to when to use each hand.
The Eolians are a clan-based society of reindeer herders who dwell in the cold taiga north of Karasal, Oronin, and the Western Marches; most of the clans are outside the Empire. Those clans who have sworn to the Red Emperor are known as the Thrice-Blessed Eolians, who protect the Empire's northwestern frontier. They are organized into nomad clans of 600-1000. A typical clan can field 13 Soma (elite warriors) and 200 Soga (part-time warriors), armed with spear and bow and used to firing from reindeer-back. The clans inside the Western Marches form 44 clans divided into 6 tribes: the City Tribe, the Salmon Tribe, the Llama Tribe (who somehow obtained cold-hardened llamas and ride them), the Dog-Tamers, the Victorious, and the Salvation of Haran (who once brought a critical victory for the Empire at Haran). They work closely with the troops stationed at Bandar Mashahr.
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