IC Thread Introduction Character Sheet Rules Character List Information The hand of the king had come down swiftly. Two hundred people, named as dissenters, conspirators, and traitors had been put to death in the capital. Before graves had even been dug for the indicted, reports of the massacre were speeding through every news office in the country. The torrent of rumors that issued from them spilled across the borders on the backs of couriers and the lips of travelers alike. The executions were the culmination of almost a decade of unrest, preceded only days earlier by a rash of violent demonstrations against the king. Accounts of the scene in the capital ranged from fanciful to morbid, claiming that anything from ordered mass executions to indiscriminate butchering by the army had occurred. For seven years of gradual collapse, few people were willing to consider the country's troubles more than a passing storm. Lives were not often lost in their politics, and a breaking point had seemingly been reached. Everywhere one could go, papers read of turmoil and criers spoke of tragedy. The eyes of the international community had been drawn by the color of blood, and within the country those who disagreed on what should be done were no longer content to abide each other. The reign of Oswald Monieux had been plagued with misfortune since its beginning. The young king had come to power only as his father died of illness, a miserable end which had already claimed the one other heir to the throne. Medicine had only been able to save the man for so long, and in the same way his son had only been able to hold the kingdom together for a few years. Oswald sought wisdom to ease his ponderous task, eschewing the royal family's traditional allies to hire advisers he found more competent. Most of the nobility withdrew from the Monieux family's side, and so the decline began. The Kingdom of Lachne was a place with a history primarily centered around the arts. Centuries ago, it was a famous nation that saw the rise of many famous painters and architects. Its fame had since elapsed, and it had become a sleepy, beautiful place with a passionate culture. A place for travelers and vacationers, without a need for warriors. The leadership of the Monieux family had seen to that, for the most part. The tremendous reputation of his family was the only thing which protected King Oswald from outright revolution, even as he deposed the aristocrats who held their offices also on the weight of their names. The most notorious place he went to hire on help were the many churches reliant on the crown's patronage. Their administrators were accustomed to working under strict budgeting, and usually possessed some talent for moving the people. Many saw the move as blind favoritism, seeking religion as a means of control where Oswald no longer wished to cooperate with the upper classes. Even as he sought out experts in management and governance, those who withdrew their aid did more damage than the rebel king could ever hope to mend. Simple administrative tasks began to go undone, and slowly the kingdom began to decay. Over the span of six years, Oswald's opponents rallied as the failings of his regime piled higher. At first they were the wealthy and the noble, trodden on or offended by the new ways. As time went on, the commoners who were harmed by the decline cast their lot in with those who were calling for an end to Monieux rule. There were also those who chose to support the government and its stability even as life in the country grew difficult, loyalists who drew from similarly diverse walks of life. The two camps, split even further among themselves by degrees of extremity, clashed endlessly. When the political demonstrations in the capital became riots, Oswald sought to demonstrate his resolve and regain control of his crumbling people. Two hundred lives were deemed an acceptable cost to be forced upon the instigators. The capital, Casivi, has been cordoned off by the military and placed under strict martial control. King Oswald has yet to appear in public following the executions, a popular rumor believes him to have been spirited away to parts unknown by his personal guard for fear of reprisal. Local government continues in most of the country, with instructions and aid being shipped out of the capital sporadically. Whether or not a city is supported by the crown, most regions of the country have unofficially become the turf of one faction or another. Few dare to openly tout weapons, but all the same a martial air clashes with the romantic scenery of the country wherever one goes. People speak in hushed tones of murders and muggings prompted by political allegiance. In many places towns are even forced to protect themselves from roving bands of thieves and raiders as more and more seek to benefit from the people's strife. It does not take a keen eye to know that blades are being sharpened in secret by those desperately forging an unfamiliar kind of history. No one can say for certain when partisan forces will march the roads, or whose will move first, but it has become obvious that movements with the country are arming and preparing themselves. Mercenaries and armaments have become commonplace as Lachne's borders have weakened, and they are finding themselves in the hands and employ of a frightened and disgruntled population. Outside of the cordon is a city named Edeur, an ancient settlement split by a river and said to be defined by two structures, one new and one old. An abbey that has stood as long as the city itself, and a clock tower rivaling its height built a decade or so ago. Those are the easiest pieces of information for a stray tourist to glean, although perhaps you only know for certain that the city is your destination. Fanciful depictions of underground freedom fighters and guardians of order have reached far across the continent, spreading mostly hand in hand with the promise that either side is willing to pay handsomely for what help they can get. Edeur is a place that remains neutral, where one can rest in an inn without being worried about who may come in the night, or so they say. At any rate, the city has become a nexus for mercenaries entering the country and people fleeing it, as it holds open both a road to the capital and a long road to the border. What remains of the town guard offer sound defense against the predatory humans that lurk the roads, to boot. Other rumors declare that an international mission has entered the country to mediate what other countries are calling an inevitable civil war. Of particular interest are the whereabouts and accountability of the disappeared king, not only to the supposed investigation but presumably to the world in general. Whatever your reasons or origins, you have found yourself upon one of three crowded wagons traveling in unison, bumping along country roads towards Edeur to seek whatever future can be had in a country so precariously balanced on total collapse. Some even dream of seeing it happen. Name: Age: Gender: Appearance: Clothing: Weapons: Belongings: Personality: History: Feel free to adapt this format as you see fit in describing your character. There are no hard and fast rules on length or anything like that, but it benefits everyone including yourself to be descriptive in CS. 1: Be courteous to your fellow players. While your characters and goals will be opposed, we're all on the same team when it comes to keeping this thread going. 2: General roleplay etiquette should be known. You should never harm/kill another character's player automatically or control a character that is not yours. As an extension of keeping your characters reasonably powered, magic is exceedingly rare, and more of an occult curiosity than anything else in this setting. If you must involve your character with it, please remember this. Pretty much the same thing for firearms. 3: There is no limit on how many characters you may have but all characters you play need a bio. When it comes to minor NPCs that have to be contrived for the situation, you're free to do so yourself if you think it would serve the post better than letting me take care of it. 4: Be active. The thread benefits from a faster pace, if we can have everyone posting multiple times a day it would be fantastic, but as a minimum I ask for a post every few days. You won't be kicked but at that point we have no choice but to move along. Aside from the rules I think it's prudent and encouraged by Iwaku to say two other things. Firstly, please enjoy yourself in the thread. If at any point you're having trouble or just want to ask a question, feel free to PM me. Second, this thread is set in what could very easily develop into a war. Tensions and emotions are running high, if not for the players than for the world around them. Rather than spam the tags box with anything we could possibly encounter I'll just say it: The subject matter of this thread could become very dark. This is less of a 'you've been warned' statement and more of an encouragement. This page will link to all player characters as well as include the bios of significant NPCs we encounter. Player Characters: Sasha Mentz Ra-shen the Fourth Luger James Fontaine Emily Alice Silverman Mikalash Lorence II Ilse Dobreyn Jonas Inian Non-Player Characters: Vivian Lenitz (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Vivian Lenitz (open) Vivian Lenitz (close) Name: Vivian Lenitz Age: 26 Gender: Female Appearance: Vivian is an unimposing person, with a height of 167cm (5'6") and a dainty frame that imparts to her a ghostly, brittle presence. She is not muscular, and no matter the type of clothing she is obscured by cannot help but give the impression that a stiff wind would be enough to fracture her. Her skin is fair in tone, with a cold coloration. It is healthy and clear, but she bears a number of minor scars across her hands. Vivian has a girly face, without the sharp angles and touches of maturity that one would expect from a woman well into her career. A round jaw and soft features shape her face. Her nose is pointed, and usually colored only by two small blemishes of irritation caused by her glasses. Her eyes are an unnatural and bright gemstone blue, the color of cold waters. Their shape is round, never drooping but gripped by a deep-rooted sadness that permeates any expression she happens to be wearing. Her lips are childishly small and usually locked in a frown to complete her downcast appearance. Vivian's hair is a glossless slate black, and almost always tousled. Long, messy locks obscure most of her forehead down to her eyebrows. Behind, her hair reaches down to the nape of her neck, and further in a few rogue strands. Vivian carries herself strongly, with a proper and official seeming posture almost comically opposed to her physique. Clothing: Vivian is stuck in the uniform of the Edeur Abbey. The first of which is a sleeveless blue jumper dress. It is an over garment, made of sturdy cloth and quite rugged for a clerical uniform. Another difference from common religious garb is its complete lack of an emblem. It is double breasted, decorated down the front solely by two rows of black buttons, ten in total, spanning from the waist to just below her collarbones, where the body of the dress ends and its shoulder straps begin. The garment is tightened over her lower ribs by a black belt, partly integral to the dress, passing under the third row of buttons. The dress ends at her knees, fitting around her legs with little excess, but not so tightly as to prohibit mobility. Underneath, she wears a white shirt, utterly simple and without pattern. It is buttoned up the front, again with black fastenings, and similarly cuffed at the end of its full length sleeves. It has a high collar that obscures her throat even when folded. Her legs and feet are covered by thin tights, opaque and black colored, which run up to her hips. For footwear, Vivian has appropriated a set of brown leather shoes, round toed and high ankled with a very slight heel. Around her shoulders, she wears a long, wide scarf dyed pale blue. It is typically tightly wound, piled high and obscuring her jaw if not her lower face when she's keeping her head low. Both tails of the scarf hang over her left shoulder, one going down her front and other other her back. Less clothing and more essential to her being, she carries a pair of glasses. They are a thin wire framed set with rectangular lenses rimmed only along their bottom halves. Weapons: None. Vivian is somewhat handy with a knife and certain tools, as she has acted as an improvised craftsman in the past, but given the deity of her current religious affiliation and the less than ideal conditions in Edeur she thinks it unbecoming of the Abbey to be seen with anything resembling a weapon. Belongings: Vivian came equipped with her own personal travel kit and little else, which she has kept even into recent times, albeit stored in her office. Her personal belongings include a quill and a more reliable pencil that continues to grow shorter and shorter with time. It is the 40th such instrument to hold office under Vivian. Much of her work is done out of a ring bound paper pad, filled to the brim with notations and loose papers accrued during her time as an instrument of management. It represents a remarkably complete history of both Vivian and the churches she has worked for in her eight years of service. Personality: Vivian is a stoic, intimate person. She does not keep many friends but her talent for forging acquaintances and connections is something that has won her an array of successes in her job. She derives a satisfaction from helping the needy and placing others before herself that some would say borders on egoism. Vivian herself worries whether her apparent altruism is not genuine, but continues to act on her values anyway. Her mindset is separate from what one would expect of a cleric, with little concern for theological implications or the salvation of others. Saving others is something she sees as completely outside of her means, construing her own role as that of an indiscriminate helping hand. Rather than any faith, she finds herself chained primarily by her own moral compass. Paired with her free floating ideology is a monumental patience for the world. She does not frequently speak first in difficult times, experience has taught her to seek a complete picture of the situation before acting. Stemming from her primary quality of patience, Vivian has a distaste for hasty people, finding them to be usually wasteful or unreasonable. On the other hand, the people she keeps close at hand or has a fondness for are often her fellow charitable souls or people she sees as profoundly in need of assistance. History: Vivian is not a priestess. She came to Edeur from the capital as a government worker, in order to maintain the budget and operations of the abbey in Edeur, one of many such institutions in the kingdom that are reliant upon the crown and adherent to its regulations for state sponsored religious organizations. Vivian was born in Casivi, to one Eirena Lenitz. She doesn't remember her father, which is unsurprising because she remembers very little of her mother as well. Vivian's father worked abroad, and the two of them survived on the wages sent home to them. It worked for a time, until her father died. At around that time, she was sent off by her mother to study at a capital church. She entertained no love for the many religions her home country accommodates, but at the time continued her education out of obligation to her parent. By the time she was eighteen years of age, she was offered ascendance to an office job with a capital church and from there her career has taken flight. Vivian helped handle paperwork within the capital for her first years. Money orders, personnel movements, building plans and the like ran through those offices and she became integral to the perpetual balancing act the large churches in the capital played for their numerous countryside branches. Handling the concerns of so many faiths without discernment only further served to numb her to religion, but she was proficient. Her proficiency saw her dispatched to struggling churches in order to personally manage them into the black, and soon she was officially one of many traveling agents helping struggling temples keep their doors open. She came to Edeur several years ago, first as an operations manager. Initially, it was another assignment for her and her job was as simple as slashing expenditures. As the condition of the country declined, her post became more permanent as the abbey became harder to keep afloat. She now exerts supreme control in the abbey after its priestesses were recalled to the capital on account of the executions and chaos. The junior sisters there generally have a high respect for her, although the population of Edeur has often demonized her presence as sign of the capital's control. At any rate, Vivian and her abbey are the pipeline which guarantees relief supplies from the network of religions of Lachne. Simon Kelov (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Simon Kelov (open) Simon Kelov (close) Name: Simon E. Kelov Age: 20 Gender: Male Appearance: Simon stands 170cm (5'7") tall, with an average build to complement a moderate height. While his stature is unremarkable, it is apparent at a glance that Simon is trained to a significant degree. He is muscular, but moreover his posture has an intense, unstable rigidity. Simon seems almost perpetually tense, without any indication of where that energy may be directed. He is pale skinned by nature, but tanned heavily from the amount of field work he is responsible for. He is thick skinned to a degree, but it is free of distinguishing marks and scars. He has a spade shaped face, with a masculine, sharp jaw. His cheeks are quite rosy, he almost seems jolly by their virtue alone. His nose is quite average, but seems to have been broken at some point judging by a slight distortion of its bridge. Standing apart from his everyman image are wide and infrequently blinking eyes. They are a washed out, gray blue in coloration which only lends to the unearthly nature of Simon's intent stare. His hair is brown, but it can be hard to tell. The color seems to have been drained from his person, as his hair is very nearly black outside of direct lightning. Adding to this are the streaks of gray he has begun to develop at a young age. It is shortly trimmed and impeccably straight, laying flat against his skull. He takes good care of it is, as despite its apparent discoloration it is silky and presentable, terms that describe his bearing in society well. Clothing: He dresses like a man of wealth, although the particulars give him away as something far from true aristocracy. He sports a light brown suit, consisting of a double breasted jacket held fast by blackened wooden buttons over a set of matching and immaculately maintained trousers. The jacket is loose fitting, with folded cuffs and a flat laying collar. It bears no external pockets, although closer inspection reveals that it contains a number of folds and compartments often stuffed with documents or currency. His trousers also fit poorly, descending over the back of the ankle and on longer treks they are quick to become dirtied with the ground. They are similarly unpocketed, lending to an outwardly sleek appearance to his attire. Underneath his coat he alternates between a handful of gaily colored but plainly designed shirts while on the road. Pink, green, and orange dyes are among the pigments in his closet and for that reason he is often found without a tie for his buttoned shirts. His shoes are inappropriate for the image of a businessmen. They are boots, with heavy patterns upon their soles and a robust leather construction that sees their mouths safely up his shins. They are a rich, dark brown in coloration and despite the abuse evident in the physical damage they have sustained they are well polished. Weapons: Simon carries five small knives on his person. They are all identical. Each one is 15cm (~6") long, with 5cm of that composing the blade. The knife is entirely a single piece of pattern cut steel, far too thin to be considered combative. There is no tang, just raw metal. In fact, if it were not for their uniformity, their bare metal appearance and hollow frame handles would make them appear unfinished. This would not be a wise assumption, however, as despite their construction they have been honed to a razor's edge along the cutting side of the blade. The blades are flat backed and taper to a point only towards their ends, which further identifies them as an item of utility rather than killing force. His expertise with them is rather low, and the results one can produce with such meager arms do not extend far past his capabilities. He does, however, entertain a tendency to fidget with them. Belongings: Oddities inhabit Simon's person. Paper talismans promising fortune in business line his pockets in adjacency to the currencies of a number of countries. He carries quite the sum on his person, which would no doubt be problematic in Lachne if that information were to be readily apparent. Fortunately he doesn't talk about his trove freely and he's not often caught moving in public anyway. Traveling papers for a number of aliases also rest in his collection, for people that bear not even the slightest resemblance to his description. If the craftsmanship between them was uniform it would be easy to write them off as Simon's own counterfeits, but they seem to come from a variety of sources. Outside of his coat, he carries a simple black briefcase from which he most often peddles his wares. Personality: Obligation owns Simon's mind. He believes strongly in repaying the debts owed of him, and such things might have even replaced his dreams. Despite that seemingly honor bound nature he is far from the genuine altruist and in general has little in the way of compassion for the mistakes of others. As a self declared self made man, he sees a great deal of injustice in coddling others and while he extends a general and strong respect to the desires of people around him he considers it only natural that he make no special accommodations for them, and they make no special accommodations for him. Even if he won't favor them, he'll talk to strangers just fine. He's an avid conversationalist, it's part of his trade, a luxury for a traveler, and something he actually enjoys. Simon knows very well the class of people he likes, and he enjoys the company of quiet, unimposing people that do not run the risk of involving his sense of responsibility with social niceties and favors. He doesn't bear a particular dislike for any given class of people, although he can be harsh to anyone seen as standing in his way. His result oriented mindset can make him impatient, but he rarely struggles with this as a result of his own self employment. The rarity of his struggles embodies his distance from other people, as he hasn't spent a very long time in society and his capabilities for dealing with others are poorly developed. In some ways, he is putting off the development of his personality by seeking first to clear his outstanding debts. History: Simon claims to be a businessman from the capital, and he has some of the credentials to prove this. His father is a well documented merchant, conveniently deceased, and Kelov endeavors to erase the man's debts that he may rest in peace. His age suggests other things about the story, and whatever history the man once had is almost assuredly lost to his well crafted persona. He had been wandering from business venture to business venture in the country for a while before the unrest in the capital came to a head. The collapse of the country has had a disconcerting effect on his ability to operate normally, and not to be deterred he has made a habit of striking up the acquaintance of the various armed movements in the country, especially the ones that are trying to become more so armed. He himself lacks the connection to get weapons into the country, but those smugglers have had need of distributors for their wares and Simon is one of the fortunate many arranging the sordid details of the arms trade. His clientele are most typically those seeking to dethrone the government of Lachne, and he considers himself loosely affiliated with that cause in that he finds himself avoiding the authorities wherever he goes. He has found himself on a carriage into the city of Edeur, a neutral ground full of desperate souls seeking the salvation him and his newfound backers can provide. Rumors among the underground have even started to speak of a strange man that is seemingly the friend of the reformists. The money continues to flow through him, and he remains contented with his work and convicted to its continuation. Margaret Bernhard (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Margaret Bernhard (open) Margaret Bernhard (close) Name: Margaret Bernhard Age: 28 Gender: Female Appearance: Margaret is a woman of average height at 164cm (~5'5") tall. Her build is a soft, feminine one, and except for a few strings of injuries it has gone most of her life untested and untrained. She stands with a certain air of resilience, although those who know her know such behavior is a recent adoption, and her posture is quite rigid for someone who spent most of their adulthood writing at a desk or on the move. Her skin is fair, but has a warmer, darker kind of coloration with a spattering of freckles across her face. It has a handful of distinguishing marks. A few small, pinprick scars dot her shoulders and head, in addition to a much larger ghost of a wounding in the form of a curved scar along the left side of her head. She has a round, pleasant face with only a subtle chin. Her eyes are deeply set, with a watchful look that leaves a fleeting feeling of concern on her gaze. They are a deep, earthy green color, reminiscent of the color of evergreen trees. Below them, a button nose and slight lips both tinged with red rest naturally with her face. Her hair is long and brown, with a coarser, durable texture that riots in the presence of moisture. Unrestrained, it would spool over her shoulders and onto her shoulder blades, but it is almost always held in a low, loose ponytail. Clothing: Currency and secrecy alike have always played a part in Margaret's wardrobe selection, and lately they have even ascended to control other aspects of her life. She dresses herself modestly and plainly, in ways that she hopes allow her to escape notice. Her go-to cover is a light brown leather jacket, open at its front and with a simplistically folded collar. It ends in rolled cuffs that leave the wearer's wrists quite free. It is quite old, having survived more than its fair share of years in her usage. As a result, both elbows have been patched over and its edges have worn away the material's color. She wears a shirt in subdued spruce blue underneath, collarless and without fastening. It is a loose fit on Margaret and ends below her waist in a hem subtly patterned by its own stitching. It is short sleeved, with those hidden under her jacket but similarly decorated. Rather than a skirt she wears a set of charcoal gray trousers, pocketed at the waist for some simple convenience but otherwise unremarkable, street grade clothing. She keeps only one set of shoes, a set of low ankled boots. They are a dark, rustic brown in color and fasten on the inner side of the boot with a single buckle. Weapons: She is terribly unskilled with weaponry, and in all but a few occasions simply doesn't carry it, but Margaret and her affiliates are in possession of a number of what are largely appropriated civilian tools such as hunting bows and axes. Even if she had regular access to armament, as a frequent target of the guard in Casivi and faring no better in the average legality of her day to day activities she sees them mostly as a way to embroil herself further in trouble for a weapon she cannot properly use. Belongings: Besides a few bundles of work and leisure clothes brought with her from the capital Margaret is actually quite short of worldly possessions. She has a small coinpurse with the last of her savings hidden away inside of it that she keeps on her person. She keeps a map of Edeur with her as well, as her new place of residence is still quite unfamiliar. Personality: Margaret, at first glance, is an unshakably calm person. She carries herself with confidence through social abuse that others would find crippling and has an easy time acclimating herself around the most unsavory crowds. Understanding has always been a strong suit of hers, but what is mistaken for tolerance is more appropriately called a lust for adventure. When it comes to values, she can actually be very stubborn and uncompromising, but she is not a person of extreme beliefs. The surest thing that she will stand up for is accountability. She has gladly suffered the trials and agonies along her own path, and sees it as simple natural law that people stand by their actions, whatever they may be. For that reason, she has an easy time talking about her own past and its sometimes dark contents. Perhaps, too easy, because Margaret does love to talk once she's been set in motion. One thing she does not attempt to explore are recent thoughts, and allegations from herself towards herself of hypocrisy. Despite fleeing from unjust or perhaps unsought punishment, it was still eluding something she always knew was a possibility. More a result of recent events than anything else, Margaret flocks to charisma and rebellion, associating them with reassurance and safety. She cannot be said to despise anyone particularly, instead choosing to voice a strong but not irrevocable distaste for actions. All the same, despite her own willingness to conform and adapt Margaret can be a polarizing person without a charismatic nature of her own. Her stubbornness and curiosity are quick to separate those who can stomach her from those who cannot. History: Margaret Bernhard was born to a stable, well off family. Her father owned a boatyard where he and a few others crafted wooden vessels for fishermen along the coast. He was not particularly prosperous but neither was he unsuccessful. As a result, he owned property in the capital and lived his life to relative fulfillment. His wife still survives, though Margaret retains little connection to her mother and both parties are largely content with the arrangement. As a girl, she was hopeless. Accident prone and possessed of few interests, her sisters married first and Margaret drifted from one circle of acquaintances to the next as she eventually settled into what would become her calling. She worked as something as an apprentice but more of a paper carrier at a news office in the capital. As things advanced, she found herself gathering information and taking accounts of the capital's goings-on from within the streets. Peering into the convoluted game of the capital's rich and noble was neither safe nor easy, but she found it immensely satisfying to see the truth laid bare. It was not profound disgust for the many dishonesties of the world that first drove her to write, it was simply that reporting on what she saw and heard was the first thing that felt agreeable to the young Margaret. At a time in her adulthood where she felt secure in breaking away from the press, she attempted to become an author and pass on the modest wisdom a misspent youth had afforded her. It seemed far more valuable than a few scars, anyway. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. The capital guard and her had rarely been on good terms, as even when her behavior was strictly within the bounds of the law she was seen, rightfully, as something of a troublemaker. Then, she had at least been doing her job. On her own, there was no such protection for a critic of the wealthy and sometimes even the king. She was never outright jailed, there was little actual crime to be pinned on her, but the nature of her opponents ensured that her home was almost continuously searched. She was content to continue suffering and saying what she could until the end of her days, until it seemed the time had come to actually start killing critics. She grabbed some things from what remained of her home and fled the capital as fast as possible. She had long been accused of fanning the flames of rebellion, and, to her horror, actual rebels had gotten word to her at several points in her career to investigate what they thought was involvement with them. With a handful of those prior connections in hand and the intent to seek asylum with the faction not out for her head, she left the capital. Fluff about the world will gradually fill this section, either from someone wanting something explained or world building that will occur through the thread. For that reason, it's structured as a general introduction to the continent which surrounds Lachne. It's not necessary to read everything here in order to participate in the thread. It's for convenience. The Blocs of Estovet (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Blocs of Estovet (open) The Blocs of Estovet (close) Arcartus (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Arcartus (open) Arcartus (close) The east has historically gone unsettled by western Estovetians. The Spine of Estovet was difficult to cross, and the lands beyond were barren and unwelcoming compared to the settler's homelands. Snow blasted mountains only gave way to rain soaked wilderness and wetlands, inhabited by barbaric nomad clans. Those who sailed around the southern coast and braved the rocky shores found only more of the same. Small groups of nomads remained the region's only inhabitants for centuries, numerous fair haired and pale peoples who struggled against both the environment and each other to survive. As the technology and culture of the rest of the continent developed, the easterners were left behind. A small collection of clans along the coast were the first to aspire to more than subsistence, informed of the outside world by travelers and pioneers. Their leader claimed the name Arcart for his lineage and built a coalition of clans in the name of unification. Those who were drawn by the allure of the new nation were assimilated, those who opposed its expansion were conquered. Their collection of lands was called Arcartus by those looking to study the newly formed state. The Arcart family and their associates were fanatic in their push for modernization, blending foreign notions of government with the east's traditionally communal lifestyle and happily accepting the name the world gave them. Along the way the name of the Arcarts became Edelnem, and they became recognized as a royal family rather than a ruling clan. In only a few centuries the Edelnem united the east, establishing political contact with the outside world and multiplying population. In the time it took them to grow they left cities and settlements in their wake, taming the wilderness with power a separated people had never possessed before. Control of the marshlands yielded coal, and the harsh northern winters could no longer seal away the untapped mineral wealth in the mountains. The central mountains were bridged with new roads, and the shipyards of coastal cities only continued to grow in size. The country of Arcartus in its current configuration has only existed for a few hundred years, but stands as the largest single state on Estovet. It occupies approximately one fifth of the continent's inhabited landmass. The Edelnem family continues to rule only in symbol from the capital city of Lieda, located in the country's south along the coastline. An Edelnem ruler has not sat the newly named Empty Throne in half a century, and the reason is their own withdrawal from the government. Arcartus is ruled by a parliament named the House of Affairs, an elected body of several hundred representatives. Local governments within the country follow roughly the same model, and are coordinated by the capital House. The system has been in constant modification since its first proposal, and many consider it a resounding success in accommodating the changing needs of a vast and varied country. Their economic might is immense, as they are one of the most industrialized nations on Estovet. The agricultural situation has never been a comfortable one, but as a country born from subsistence they have managed to remain mostly independent during their rise to power. The primary factor barring their emergence as a leader in global trade is the influence of the south, followed closely by the desire of similar powers across the sea to avoid empowering their competitor. Their aggressive emphasis on expansion slowed to a halt some time ago with the successful unification of the eastern nomads. In the modern arena, Arcartus is a passive participant in the balance of power, seeking only to protect its own borders. Indeed, in the interest of preserving the 'sacred peace,' Arcarti foreign interaction largely centers around barring far flung empires from setting foot on Estovet. They have intervened on the behalf of other nations a number of times in history, generally out of a desire to prevent any threat to the current state of affairs from developing. The Arcarti State Military is a massive organization, both in comparison to competing militaries and in relation to Arcartus' already inflated size, though this is largely due to the semantics of their classification. In Arcartus, civil services and government faculty are considered to be part of the military. Postmen, gendarmes, fire brigades and the like are all soldiers of the state with a minimal degree of training. Arcarti culture is often called unfeeling and efficient, which is a true enough assessment that grows less so with each passing day. Shaped by thousands of years of survival in an oppressive climate, Arcarti traditions place an emphasis on communal cooperation. All members of society were expected to contribute to the band's survival, ethnicity or sex meant little before the winter wind, and so they meant little to the Arcarti ancestors. The other value often attributed to their tradition is purity, though most often this refers to a purity of purpose. Before wealth could even be a concern, utility was the only measure of worth. Simple tools that serve a purpose with as little wasted in their design as possible are among the earliest examples of art in the region. For similar reasons, traditional Arcarti cuisine is almost universally reviled as simplistic and bland, even by many modern citizens. Globalization has left an undeniable mark on the Arcarti psyche, hundreds of cultures are accommodated in its bustling cities with citizens naturalized from all corners of the globe. Much in the spirit of those who founded the first coalition, their society is quick to integrate and welcome foreign customs. Even as the face of the country continues to change, one aspect of Arcarti culture has remained immune to dilution. Their disregard for the outside world's notions of nobility is expressed even in their laws. A noble class still exists within Arcartus, though they are composed primarily of families that can still trace their lineage to the era of unification and fealty to the Arcarts. The rest have risen to celebrity-like prominence in recent times for any number of reasons. Whether they are wealthy and landed or not is of no relevance to their standing, and before the law all citizens are equal. The considerable respect they are afforded by society stems from their continued heritage of military service. For those in prominence, contribution to the government is expected. Those who choose not to serve in the military often seek positions within the House of Affairs. The royal family, despite their self imposed withdrawal from politics, share a similar situation. They are beloved by most of Arcartus for their history, though their reputation for eccentricity is more polarizing. The Myriad West (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Myriad West (open) The Myriad West (close) Western Estovet is a massive region, hard to classify and impossible to cartograph (though not for geographic reasons) even in modern times. It encompasses the full gamut of the continent's climates, from the warmth of the upper south far into the uninhabited polar wastes. Everything that falls west of the central mountains is counted among the western territories. Some of the oldest settlements on Estovet are found in the northwest. It is a suitable place for such endeavors, with expansive coastal plains that still hold the remnants of millennia old civilizations. Further inland are the Heartlands, dense forests growing at the base of the central mountains. While many minor rivers cross the area, there are three that have shaped history the most. The Sevnemoy river originates from a sparse mountain range in the frozen north and splits into the Northern and Southern Sevnemoy, also respectively the Lesser and Greater Sevnemoy Rivers. Together, they encircle and feed a large parcel of exceptionally fertile land all the way to the coast known as the Tovaselt Greenlands. From many places along the coast, and from the Greenlands especially, early civilizations spread and flourished during the dawn of Estovet. They were small and varied, divided among uncountable faiths and philosophies. Competition was fierce among them, and the sheer number of contestants prevented the emergence of any one winner. Lineage remains one of the most value attributes in western society, and modern nobility still verify their legitimacy with claims of descent from ancient houses. Discussion of the northwest's past and present tends to blur together, as tradition has always been and continues to be the mortar that holds the expanse together. As a theater it possesses few collective accolades other than its unshaken independence and the collective security the hundreds of nations offer each other against external threats to what has slowly come to be considered their game, and their game alone. Today, the west is almost indistinguishable from itself several hundred years ago. The standards of technology may have advanced, but the average western nation's ruling class is heavily opposed to the proliferation of technology for the challenge to their authority such developments often pose. Statements about their culture as a whole are often full of contradictions, as the ever changing sea of micro nations plays host to a staggering number of peoples, of which the majority claim complete distinction from their neighbors. Many types of government exist in the mix, but there is a predominant majority of autocracies. Titled nobility that have held land for generations and warlords that have managed to claim their own parcel of territory rub shoulders regularly. War in the area is almost perpetual, but the conflicts are low in intensity. Borders are redrawn regularly through conquest and treaty, and accurate maps are difficult to procure from outside of the region itself. There are a few coalitions among the micro nations, though collective force has proven inadequate to gain superiority against the rest of the Myriad. While not necessarily a true zero sum game, political gains are small and transient. The majority of participant governments are keen on continuing what is seen as favorable state of affairs, as evidenced by the number of collective defense pacts that unite the region against the influence of outsiders. No individual state can claim significant power or influence upon the continent, but as a population all their own the countries of the west are a potent check against the dominance of Arcartus and the influence of the Trade Powers. Western cultures come in an unending variety of descriptions. There are a few trends, however, that are prevalent throughout and explain the largely authoritarian nature of their societies. Tradition is of immense value in the west, a place that traces it lineage to what some argue are the very starting points of Estovetian civilization. The ways of the old kingdoms are extolled as the truest forms of government, and their modern successors base much of their existence on establishing a link to ancestral, valid means of conduct. Social mobility is practically nonexistent. Status within a given country may not be so restricted, but the many competing kings of the area will not suffer the presence of an outsider or one of undistinguished blood. The people will also rarely tolerate such a pretender, favoring the stable rule of experienced lineages, even if their particular territory can often be passed between said leaders. Their history of setting aside political affiliation in favor of repelling stronger outside forces is their most well known trait among the outside world. Previous invasions of the West by southern nations have always ended in tragedy for both sides, with the fanatic resistance put up by the peasantry resulting in horrific loss of life and usually the ruining of the land. Cooperation among the western powers has grown more frequent and long lasting in recent times, and the people are often said to have a certain pride in their status as set-in-their-ways westerners. While it is difficult to produce exact statements about the entire region's culture, it is far easier to pinpoint the influence the Myriad West has had on the outside world. Diplomats and politicians from within the micro nations are well sought after in the outside world, as well groomed and respectful emissaries trained in only the most convoluted political landscape. In addition, their constant exploration of their own past has added much to the Estovetian archaeological record. The Trade Powers and Lachne (Move your mouse to reveal the content) The Trade Powers and Lachne (open) The Trade Powers and Lachne (close) Estovet's southern component was initially settled by islanders and seafaring peoples from the equatorial seas, long before the adoption of the current calendar. They found a rich, hospitable land gifted with gentle shores and mild weather. Rivers running to the coast from the central mountains fed their initial settlements, and on such fertile grounds controlling large swathes of land wasn't as necessary to create stable civilizations. As a result, the region was populated mostly by city states for many years until they began to conflict with the older cultures located to their north. The splendid looking countrysides and extravagant cities of the current era conceal the turbulent and ancient history of the southern nations, as at first they were too consumed with their own defense to prosper. In response to the constant aggression of their neighbors, over time, the southern cities eventually began to congeal into the larger states that would remain their configuration into the future. With time, and the advent of intercontinental trade, the power of these larger nations increased exponentially. The southern tip of Estovet represents the shortest coast to coast travel on the continent, and the peaceful waters surrounding ensure the continuation of trade year round. The money and interest of foreign lands empowered the coastal nations, while those bordering the encroaching north were burdened with the role of serving as defensive barriers to invasion. Some regions were even forbidden from forming into proper nations, protected and trapped by a flow of pacifying merchant gold. In its history, the south represents the largest agricultural and diplomatic achievements of the Estovetian continent. It is with Estovet's Trade Powers that most foreign empires do their business on the continent. Their control of the trade routes insulates them from their neighbors, and that same control has driven their neighbors to protect them when outsiders challenge their status. In modern times, their command over Estovetian trade has diminished only slightly as greater ports have been constructed across the continent. Only on the home front has their dominion slipped noticeably, with the establishment of independent states such as Lachne from previously subjugated city states. Rather than risk war, the precedent set has been to treat new nations as second class members of the Trade Powers. International conflict is almost unheard of in the south. Although their cultures differ greatly due to the wide range of places their ancestors traveled from, over millennia of inhabitance the various peoples have gradually melded together. Outside of diminishing ethnic differences, their cultures have been aligned from the start of the age of commerce. Money is what runs things in the south, and it is the primary means by which those states have substituted war. Blood is shed over business out of the public eye rather than with showy and expensive displays of national power. What some would call corruption is regarded by most as a necessary evil. Indeed, the seedy, uncomfortable truths that prop up any plutocratic society are responsible for the impeccable security of the continental economy. What the south can never hope to exert through martial control, it does easily through its dual status as provisioner and broker to Estovet. Lachne is unique among the large southern nations of Estovet, as it does not comfortably fit the archetype of the other trade powers. It was formed like them, out of a coagulation of independent but similar city states seeking security in numbers and greater cooperation among merchants, however it did not follow the same path. The city states that constituted the original Lachne several centuries ago previously existed primarily to serve as buffers between the more influential states to the far south and the ever turbulent northern portion of the continent. After their union, mercantilism did not blossom the way it had for other cultures. Lachne became a place known for its arts. The Kingdom of Lachne is a beautiful place. Like many lands on the blessed southwestern shoreline, it embraced by calm oceans and graced by mild weather throughout the year. Its subtropical climate lends itself to stands of varied fruit trees and vineyards separated by farmlands grown rich off of the prodigiously fertile soil. Wherever the eye wanders, scenery awaits. Gentle hills accentuate the landscapes as one ventures inland, and closer to the sea beaches of white sand welcome the weary traveler. Painters were born there, early landscapes gave way to some of the continent's early ventures into art. While the golden age of Lachne's influence has long elapsed, it as a country still associated with cultural achievement above anything else. Architects were also among its early artists, crafting the extravagant towers and cities that have continued to draw tourists into the current year, 1150. Hello and welcome! This thread will serve as both signups and OOC. When our IC goes live, which might even be tonight frankly, it will be linked here. If you have any questions or at any point need to speak to me do not hesitate to PM me or contact me through the thread. I might not always be in the best place to reply but I will always be watching the thread.