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From Fallen Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Echia
In the center of The Inner Sea, to the west of Kyladia and to the west of Kaeyl is the large island-nation of Echia - a new nation with fertile land, rolling hills, damp moors and misty valleys. Born out of the choas of The Hundred-Year-War, King Owen Ivor endeavors to modernize his country as quickly as possible. But times are tough in Echia - the weak economy spurs banditry as a means of survival, their old enemy, Kaeyl, continues to raid by sea as a means of survival and the people themselves are a people still struggling to find their own culture.
Physical and Historical Features
Climate and Geography
Echians are both blessed and cursed by their landscape. Indeed, the land is fertile, with its surplus of precipitation comes lush plains, forests and moors. With that, however, also comes the downsides of constant rainfall. Echian farmers often resort to working in the rain and mud. Catastrophic storms are not uncommon and winters can bring harsh blizzards.
Still, Echians have accustomed themselves to this lifestyle well. Though they are not nomadic any longer, they still know how to keep warm. They keep their timber stocked in a dry place to light their hearths in the winter. A Echian's home is quint by the standards of most other nations, but the wise Echians do it deliberately, knowing a smaller area is much easier to keep warm during the snow storms. And even though many Echian homes have thatched roofs, they are reinforced by sturdy beams as to not give in to the weight of a heavy snow fall.
Many Echians who have been given land wisely set out about building homesteads, and as a result much of the landscape has been dotted with ranches and farms, and surprisingly quick considering these developments have all only been made in the past 2 decades. The result is – although Echia may not be a rich nation – they tend to eat well as food is abundant and cheap.
Echia has two small mountains, The Dragonspine and The Shield Mountain. Between them is a forested valley simply called The Vale. Along the western coastline is a marshy area called Darkmoor, in the center is a dense forest called The Darkwood. South of The Dragonspine is Winterrun, a half-marsh, half lush greenland that serves as the main highway between The Hartwolds and The Highlands.
The lion's share of Echia's natural resources consists of lumber and foodstuffs, thanks to their very fertile landscape. However, the Shield Dwarves residing in The Dragonspine are quite adept at pulling precious stones and minerals as well as coal from the earth in the mines beneath their subterranean city, Myst Helm, meanwhile, many Echians look toward the untouched Shield Mountain, wondering if similar treasures would be found beneath it. The Darkwood was practically named for the abundance of Dark Wood trees that grow there, but the area is largely untouched as well, thanks to the horrific creatures who tend to dwell there. Being an island nation both surrounded by seas and dotted with lakes and rivers, fishing is another common trade and a bountiful resource.
Before the year 555, Echia was a kingless isle full of roaming clans of humans, isolated tribes of elves and reclusive subterranean dwarves. That was, until the Kaeylites invaded. The Kingdom of Kaeyl is frozen wasteland whose inhabitants raided the coastlines of other nations for food and other supplies for survival for hundreds of years. When the Hundred-Year-War began the Kaeylite nobles watched as other nations invaded and conquered other nations.
Emboldened by the prospect of building an empire, they saw Echia as an opportunity. The unorganized isle appeared to be an easy target to the Kaeylites and also a great prize with its lush lengths of fertile land – not to mention serfs to till it.
They invaded by sea and cut through the land in great swatches. The Kaeylite invaders thought victory was assured – but they weren’t counting on the great chieftain of the Ivory Axe. Chieftain Owen Ivor would not see his people slaughtered and took a strategy unlike that the Echian clans have ever seen – they struck up an alliance.
Ivor united his clan with three others and took a Kaeylite legion by surprise. The Kaeylites had grown accustomed to having the advantage of numbers and the allied clans used that to their advantage. When the Kaeylites charged the field toward the Ivory Axe’s warriors, two other clans ambushed the Kaeylites from the sides and the fourth clan circled the field and flanked them. The result was a massacred Kaeylite legion.
It didn’t take long for word to spread among the other Echian clans of the brutal victory that was wrought by Ivor and other clans quickly joined Ivor’s alliance. After more and more clans united under Ivor’s leadership, the tide of battle slowly turned against the Kaeylites as the Echians showed the invaders they were a force to be reckoned with.
In the year 555, the Kaeylites were routed and the chieftains named Owen Ivor their king. In turn, King Ivor named the chieftains as nobles, assigned ranks according to their contributions during the war.
The whole isle is afflicted with a wide variety of rodents. Mice, voles, dormice, moles, shrews, hedgehogs and squirrels are a common sight throughout the isle. The night's sky is often also littered with bats. Oddly, the area seems to have no indigenous rats. Beavers are also common along the great many rivers. This large host of rodents often makes cats a beloved pet.
Rabbits and Hares are also abundant among the plains, and are common game of Echian hunters.
Many Echians breed and/or domesticate dogs and employ them in hunting game and protecting homesteads from predators and intruders. Other canines indigenous to the area include foxes and wolves.
Smaller breeds of wild cats exist on Echia, but has no great cats.
Other animals include boars, goats, badgers, sheep, cows, weasels, polecats and deer.
The coasts are host to a great number of fish and coastal fisherman occasionally tell stores of dolphin and whale sightings. Seals and walrus migrate from Orcan Hold to the coasts of Echia in the winter.
People and Culture
Ethics and Values
In the past, Echians has great fidelity and loyalty to their clan. Today, the culture has transformed to Echians having great fidelity to their town and province. Swearing fidelity to a king is a new concept to them and many don’t understand it. By the standards of more civilized cultures, Echians have a very open – although some might say hedonistic – ethical system. Echians call themselves Echian Freemen for a reason, as they value freedom and personal liberty above laws and rules whenever it can be managed. Echians are not absolutely opposed to rules and regulations, but they do tend to frown upon such restrictions when it limits their ability to choose their own lifestyle. Because of this, Echians have little to no stigmas against things that many other cultures do. This ethical system is rapidly changing, however, as Echians find themselves as a culture and influences from other nations and religious ideals are shaping their values.
The Echian Political system is a simple feudal monarchy. King Owen Ivor rules over the nation with a series of nobles ranks that rule over provinces. Each noble decides what services it provides for education, law, water, protection, etc. As a result, the levels of each these services can and do vary greatly from region to region. The nobles also have the right to set and levy taxes, tariffs and other fees and are expected to maintain their own fiscal budget.
Crime and Law
There are only a few national laws in Echia - and most of them deal with matters of the national state, such as assassination, treason, espinoge, etc. The other laws are left to the high nobles to write and enforce.
As a result, much like everything else in Echia, thing vary rather significantly from area to area. In some areas, constables are enabled and expected to determine guilt by gathering evidence, while in others it is normal to assume guilt until proven innocent. In some areas, it may even be the norm to torture information out of suspected criminals. The judiciary systems vary just a greatly from region to region.
Echians fashion is a matter of utility rather than extravagance. Echian clothing tends to be sturdy and warm, as to endure the cold winters, and wet springs and autumns. A few occupations may warrant uniforms, such as city guards, constables or militia that may wear uniforms if their local noble requires them to. Even then, these uniforms are more often utilitarian and plain than decorative.
Echia is not a rich nation, but it is blessed with several areas of wet, fertile grassland ideal for farming and ranching. As such, in several areas of Echia, people eat well because of the bountiful food stuffs, regardless of their station in wealth. Agriculture is still a relatively new trade in Echia, however, so other areas may not be so lucky. Due to the poor amount of roads, food is not able to be transported far before it spoils. This, unfortunately, leaves some of the towns and cities in a state of squalor, regardless of the area's rich soil.