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- Other Names
- Aralia - 'Land of the Arals'
- Named after the ethnic cultural group who later formed the nation from a few smaller kingdoms. The name, Aralia, was chosen in recognition of their shared cultural values and origins. To most outsiders, Aralian's are stereotyped as money loving merchants, since money is seen as the means to power, and most Aralians found outside the nation's borders are merchants or in the employ of merchants.
- Aralian culture dominates within the nation, with some foreign influences along border settlements. Where trade is brisk, foreign ideas and technology will sometimes be adapted until replaced or improved upon by new discoveries. Within larger urban centres small enclaves of foreign culture exist within ethnic sub-communities.
- The majority of Aralia's population is Treahni of ethnic Aralian origin. In coastal and border settlements small communities of foreign cultural and ethnic groups exist.
- Aralia's populace is stratified primarily upon lines of wealth.
- Upper Class
- The wealthiest families form the government of Aralia, and thus anyone belonging to such prestigious houses will be considered above their lessers. Aralia doesn't have a formally recognized nobility any more, but persons in this class can trace their family roots back to the nobles houses of pre-council Aralia.
- Middle Class
- Generally the skilled guildpersons and wealthy soldiers. Anyone with sufficient means to obtain the trappings of this lifestyle is considered to be middle class.
- Lower Class
- The unskilled labourers, farmers, and poorest of the common folk make up a large percentage of Aralia's population. These people have barely enough wealth to maintain their families daily living, and few have ever purchased any luxuries.
- Aralia is a merchant oligarchy, which formed from a more feudalistic system with the rise of the guilds.
Head of State
- Aralia is governed by the High Council; a group composed of the six most powerful merchant families in the country. The High Council debates and decides matters of state, and are served by a number of lesser ministers fulfilling specific roles in the nation's bureaucracy.
- The current high councillors are:
- Corvaise is the nation's capitol and considered the greatest city of Aralia. The city is a major shipping port, home of the Titan of Corvaise, and many other strange sights and activities. It is rumoured that anything is for sale in Corvaise.
- The National government is the High Council, and ministries which work together to administrate the nation.
- Ministries of note for Aralia are:
- Responsible for national infrastructure, and provincial oversight.
- Responsible for overseeing trade laws and practices, and interests both within Aralia, and without.
- Responsible for border security, and internal policing.
- Foreign Affairs
- Responsible for foreign relations with the governments of other nations.
- Liaison with the churches of Ryla and Peolu in matters of state.
- Aralia is subdivided into several smaller regional governments, which were traditionally separate small kingdoms prior to unification under the High Council.
- Each province has an administrative governor, whom works with the Minister of the Interior to maintain the wealth and prosperity of their charge.
- Provinces are be subdivided into counties, roughly based on population, for administrative efficiency.
- Significant population centres require more bureaucracy to manage, and the city councils will have subdivided the city into districts, each with district representatives to council. The Mayor of the city will be elected from amongst these district representatives by popular vote and serves a term of six years. They my continue to serve indefinitely if they get re-elected, as there is no limit on the number of terms one could serve.
- Town councils lack the size of city councils, but run in a similar manner, with ward representatives and a mayor who serves a 6 year term, capable of re-election without limit.
- The original manors and village system of Aralia still operating in the rural areas. Although instead of a knight with land and title the villages elect their reeves, and have village councils which follow a similar pattern to the High Council. Such village councils are quite often composed of the 4-6 wealthiest persons in the village.
- At each level councils may enact laws, although higher council laws may overrule lower council laws.
- Enforcement of the laws falls to the council who enacted it, with lower levels being required by law to enforce the laws of higher tiers.
- A professional police force exists to maintain order in most urban centres, and to a lesser degree in rural ones. These soldiers are civil servants, paid by the government to maintain the peace and ensure laws are respected throughout the nation. This body of soldiers and associated civil servant administrators form the majority of the non-house aligned military within Aralia.
- At every stage of the government there is a court system established to hear cases where the laws of that tier were violated.
- The format of such courts is similar at each level, although the severity of the crimes, and punishments increases with scope.
- Civil Court
- For breaches of local, regional, or national law, the appropriate government appoints a judge to hold court on the matter.
- Guild Tribunals
- Within the guilds themselves is a system of enforcement and contract law which is entirely under the purview of the guilds themselves. Generally used for keeping fair practices and deciding on matters of concern specific to their membership.
- Lawyers and Litigants are members of the Litigants Guild. These scholars of law and jurisprudence may be hired to argue on behalf of anyone facing trial on either side of case. Lawyers specializing in contract law may also be hired during negotiations to ensure a fair and legally binding contract between two or more parties.
- Aralian law requires dictates two forms of punishment for those found guilty of breaking the law.
- Restorative justice in which the goal is making the victim whole, returning them to the state prior to any loss incurred. If it is not possible to restore the victim the guilty party may be caused to suffer some equivalent loss themselves.
- Punishment which imposes additional fines, jail time, enslavement, or similar additional burden upon the guilty party, as a deterrent to further criminal action.
- Beside the general laws of most places against body violence, theft, destruction of property, and the like, Aralia has some unique laws which shape the behaviour and social order of its citizenry.
- As trade is so important to Aralia the crime of producing counterfeit currency or goods is considered especially grievous, and warrants serious punishment.
- Enslavement is considered morally reprehensible in Aralia, and as such no one may force labour or service from another person without providing a wage, in addition to any other compensation. The standard minimum is a single kopin per days labour. This practice includes individuals imprisoned as debtors, or for other crimes.
- Freedom of Worship
- Overt persecution based on religious ideology is prohibited by law. In spirit, this allows minority religions to worship openly without fear of reprisals from the church of the Twinned Goddess. In practice is is seldom enforced as most lawmakers and enforcers follow the Twinned Goddess and are biased in the churches' favour.
- Taxes are collected at the lowest level, and a percentage of those taxes is given to the next higher tier of the government for the operational costs and larger scale projects.
- Public works are the responsibility of the local government in most cases. Ambitious projects which affect a larger area may see some oversight and financial assistance from higher levels of government when appropriate.
- Most roads in Aralia are well maintained if along major trade corridors. Toll collection at bridges, and fords, or major crossroads are another system of tax collection intended to fund the road maintenance.
- Aralia has a few aqueducts, and a good network of canals, dams, and weirs. In major cities they have a degree of indoor plumbing, or public water fountains, and cisterns.
- Cities, and some towns, of Aralia have constructed systems of sewer tunnels beneath the streets which serve to remove some waste. In many neighbourhoods there are public latrines, or dumping grates for the emptying of chamber pots. These often get blocked up, and require regular maintenance and clearing.
- Public and private bath houses are a borrowed practice from Waejir. They are operated in a similar fashion by Aralia's own version of the Bathers Guild. Additional services such as brothels, or feasthalls are often co-located with private baths.
- Aralia prides itself on being the preeminent trading power in the world, and has a well established system of standardized weights and measures. It also boasts a regulatory body that ensures the quality of trade goods; most notably wine.
- Food is produced at the village level, where individual or communal farms provide produce to the towns and cities in networked local trade. Regional variants in crop choices and agricultural practices will be suited to local terrain and climate.
- Grown in cultivated fields, or orchards.
- Day Grain
- Grown throughout Aralia this cereal crop is a staple in most diets.
- Pot Grain
- Grown primarily in the Western foothills, and coastal regions due to hardiness.
- Mud grains, and others are grown in smaller localized regions.
- Root vegetables are grown in local gardens and farms and often stored in cold cellars for consumption outside of the growing season.
- Cabbages and the like are grown in local gardens and farms. Usually available in season, with some preserved through pickling or fermenting for off-season supplies.
- Beans, peas and other legumes form a significant portion of the typical Aralian diet. They transport and store well for use in the off-seasons.
Fruit and Nuts
- Tree fruit
- Many varieties of apples, peaches, plums and some citrus fruits are common throughout Aralia. Most farms will have orchards spaced amongst their fields to help prevent wind erosion of topsoil as well as provide shade for less sun tolerant crops.
- Tree Nuts
- Almonds, and a several varieties of hardwood nuts are grown in orchards primarily in the western foothills. Some shrub grown nuts are propagated along the borders of fields similar to trees providing windbreaks and shade.
- Olives groves are found in the western foothills, and are a valuable source of coil for culinary and other uses.
- Melons and Squashes
- Melons and other vines fruit are common throughout Aralia. Regional preferences or hardiness will dictate which varieties are locally produced.
- Fields of berry bushes are propagated in a similar manner or orchards. They also are used for hedges between crop fields.
- One of Aralia's most important crops. Suitable wine-making varieties are grown in nearly every region of Aralia.
- A common beverage in Aralia, which is grown on plantations in central southern Aralia.
- Aralia produces a variety of spices. These are grown in particular regions which are best suited to each.
- Most herbs used in Aralia are produced in small batches in local gardens, maintained by households, or in the case of medicinal herbs the apothecaries and church gardens.
- Herds of livestock are kept for meat, and other products, as well as beasts of burden and labour.
- Aralia has access to sufficient prairie to produce large herds of horses.
- Rabbuc herds are raised for milk, meat and leather throughout Aralia. A few species also produce shaggy coats which are combed for textile fibres.
- Teica are raised primarily for meat and hair fibres, but milk and leather are secondary products.
- Ducks, geese, chickens, and other birds are kept for eggs, feathers and meat.
- Some regions ranch large lizards for eggs, meat and leather.
- Most farms, and nearly every orchard will have wysp hives which help pollinate the crops and produce local honey.
- Hunting large and small game animals and birds is a regular activity in the frontiers of Aralia, and a past time of the wealthy.
- Some large scale hunting of herds within the Plains of Tekara occurs as seasonal expeditions.
- Primarily meat and leather products come from such activities.
- Lakes, rivers and the sea provide access to fish stocks for food.
- A variety of small to large bony fish, eels, and others are caught by net or with lines.
- Large marine mammals and reptiles are hunted with nets and harpoons.
- Cage traps for crabs and other crustaceans are used alongside diving for shellfish, sponges, and corals.
- Some plant varieties grow best in the wild, and are gathered during their appropriate seasons. Generally this includes specific medicinal herbs, fungi, flowers, and some nuts.
- Wild foraging is also a supplemental source of foods for poorer rural folk.
- With the rise of the guilds came a more focused production of goods for trade.
- Such industry relies primarily on treahni and animal labour. Some engineers have improved the machines available for lifting, cutting, and moving of bulk materials, but the power behind these machines is usually muscles, when wind or water wheels are not feasible.
- Aralia has a variety of geographic regions which provide a good variety of extricable and renewable resources.
Mines and Quarries
- Most mines and quarries in Aralia exploit surface deposits of the desired material. Shaft style mines will exist where veins of the material breach the surface, but the main deposit is deeper underground or inside of a mountain.
- Placer mines along mountain streams are common through the western foothills.
- Sandstone, limestone, granite, and slate are the primary stones quarried in Aralia. Local deposits dictate which is available, and primarily used in local construction.
- Clay for pottery, porcelain, or bricks is quarried along the rivers, and shores of some lakes throughout Aralia.
- Coal is rare in Aralia, but where it is available it is a source of fuel for industry, cooking, and heating.
- Sand for construction is found in deposits along the foothills, and riverbeds. Some beaches are mined for sand, primarily for the production of glassware.
- Iron, Tin, Lead, Copper, Silver, Gold, and more are mined throughout Aralia, depending on the local geology.
- Most gemstone mines in Aralia are in the western foothills. Notable deposits of lapis, and opal have been found a few locations.
- A few chalk deposits exist within Aralia, which produce a quality product suitable for export.
- Salt mines near the western foothills provide a valuable resource.
- Aralia has sufficient woodlands to provide timber for construction, and fuel for heating and cooking.
- Oaks maples and similar trees are felled and cut locally to provide wood for construction, furniture and other woodcrafting.
- Pines, Spruce and other softwoods are most common along the foothills and slopes of the western mountains.
- Most goods are made by hand, from raw materials or from secondary products of other trades. Most produced internally to Aralia, and traded internally.
- At each stage along a product's life-cycle different guilded and unguilded workers and crafters add complexity and value to the goods, until they reach their final purchaser.
- Many goods are crafted in small batches or on a made-to-order basis. Everyday and consumable items are usually made in greater numbers in advance of sales, while one of a kind items are made to meet a request.
- The processing of raw materials into crafting supplies is often smelly, dirty, and noisy, so is often restricted to the downwind, and peripheral parts of towns and cities.
- Wind, water and manual mills are used for some stages of production for some products. These are generally at early stage production of materials, such as sawing lumber or stone, hammer-mills for metalworking, grinding grain into flour, or the like.
- Crafters produce goods to meet local needs in every settlement. However a few areas are known for particular goods, and a surplus of those items are produced by larger numbers of craftspeople specifically for trade.
- Both internal and external trade are important to Aralia, as such a system of markets has grown to facilitate the exchange of products and services throughout the nation.
- Central Market
- In addition to proper brick and mortar stores in various wards, every town and city will have a central market area. Vendors pay fees to maintain a plot in the maze of market stalls, wagons, and tents. These markets tend to organize into sections based on the goods or services being offered.
- Dock Market
- If the location has a port, or river access, then additional market near the wharves will also be present.
- Trading Posts
- Aralia has established a series of trading posts along the frontier and in wilderness areas without a local Aralian population centre. These provide a fortified market location for trade and distribution of goods to tribal groups and other people whom visit.
- Similar posts exist within foreign cities used as Aralian consulates, and trade halls providing a number of services to visiting merchants from Aralia.
- Aralia supplies much of its own necessities. There are some products and materials which are produced elsewhere that find value as imports.
- Fruit and other well travelled foodstuff not available within Aralia will find some value as an import.
- Large tusked marine animals are not often found in the Torcastan Sea, therefore imports from Northern Krolar, or Layor are valued, but take several stages of exchange to reach the local markets.
- Silk is desirable as a fabric for the wealthy elite, and is only available as an import from Waejir.
- Precious stones not found inside Aralia are imported from those nations which do produce them.
- Aralia produces a few resources which other nations lack, and a number of manufactured goods which are considered of exceptional quality making them suitable exports.
- Some dyes produced from local regional plants are exported to areas which lack local sources.
- Grain, nuts, dried fruit, raisins and olives.
- Some spices grown exclusively within Aralia are exported.
- Lapis, opals, and other gems found only in local geological areas.
- A regular and valuable export.
- Aralia produces the majority of chalk available around the Torcastan Sea nations.
- Goods move about Aralia primarily in carts and wagons, or on barges along rivers. Some pack animals or foot porters are used along trails or in rough country unsuitable to wheeled conveyances.
- Aralia maintains extensive internal and external trade routes.
- Numerous links between Aralia and its neighbours exist.
- Direct routes between Aralian cities and Tabrani cities are still maintained through the Plains of Tekara as well as the along the coast and western foothills.
- The Silver Pass links the Aralian town of Ota-Olu with the Kythan city of Locanth.
- River crossings are frequent along the southern border between Aralia and Quzonia, the most significant being between the paired cities Kayb'r Aihi with Imizaso and Corvaise with Sucosa.
- Aralian trade by sea is the most prolific of all the nations in the Torcastan waters. Most sea commerce between nations involves ships of Aralian origin. The capitol city of Corvaise is the primary hub in all sea based trade to and from Aralia.
- The river on the southern border is navigable for most of its length and provides a major trade corridor as well as a vital link between numerous Quzonian and Aralian settlements for more localize foreign trade.
- Well maintained trade roads link the major settlements of Aralia. These routes are patrolled regularly to keep banditry to a minimum.
- The base currency of Aralia is the kopin - penny a silver coin weighing 1/16th of an ounce. Larger denominations such as the ta-kopin - two-penny, or the much larger talin - ten-penny are also common. All Aralian currency bears a likeness of the Aralian snow lily, and are referred to as lillies in common parlance.
- Due to the high number of merchants in Aralia, every house of measure has coins or trade bars minted with the family crest. These are seldom found outside of Aralia’s borders due to the variable value of such currency.
Banks / Money Lenders
- Aralians have elevated the practice of loans and banking to an art form.
- A system of banks and moneylenders exists to facilitate trade and provide loans for investing capitol in projects and businesses. These are run by the Bankers and Usurers Guild.
- Banks provide safe storage for large quantities of money, whether as explicit vaults, or records of accounts. They charge fees for their services.
- Money lenders provide loans at interest for those short on cash. The interest rates payable on said loans are controlled by the guild.
- Both banks and usurers can facilitate trade deals by producing bonds exchangeable for coin. These bonds save merchants from carrying vast quantities of coin everywhere they go, and are a critical component of long distance or bulk trading.
Role of Guilds
- Aralia considers themselves the home of the guilds, although many guilds do have a central authority whose headquarters are located in Aralia, not all do, most notably those associated with specific foreign cultural and national practices.
- Aralia’s military is composed mostly of hired soldiers. Since the pay is good, the life of a soldier is not as unpleasant as in some other nations. Many noble houses within Aralia maintain small standing militias of their own, which may be called upon to defend the nation, swelling the ranks of the already substantial army.
- At the national level the High Council overseas the establishment of a national army or navy when required. They also regulate the national police servicve. However when not at war the control of military forces is relaxed to regional or lower levels.
Organization / Ranks
Roles / Equipment
- The Aralian Navy is constantly tasked with protecting merchant traffic in national waters from pirates. This seems to be an impossible task to eliminate them entirely. Outside of national waters merchants employ private escort vessels , which increases the cost of trading, but allows for larger fleets of ships to travel together at less risk.
- Plains of Tekara
- Aralia has been at war with Tabras for the majority of the last century. The Plains of Tekara, seem to be the focus of this dispute. While neither side is willing to make a full effort to resolve the conflict, neither is willing to back down. The majority of traders accept this ongoing strife as a fact of life, and continue to do business with Tabrani merchants as long as there is still a profit in it. This fact alone suggests that the fighting is merely an excuse to keep both countries economies fluid and stable.
Integration with Civil
- Military might is not considered a direct route to power in Aralia. while some political figures may have served in the military it is not directly linked with rule.
- The loyalty of soldiers is bought with coin, not forced through legal obligations to a liege-lord.
- The majority of Aralians worship the Twinned Goddess.
- Some minor religions associated with specific cultural groups within Aralia are still practised. These usually take the form of patron saints in villages or the like, and are seen as part of the Twinned Goddess religion.
Integration with Civil
- Similar to military power, the church is separate from the state. Those with significant rank within the church may hold external political offices, but one's secular power is distinct from the religious hierarchy.
Tutors / Teachers
Sages / Scholars
- Aralian is the official language of Aralia. The trade language of Tabral is usually also known amongst merchants. In addition many travelling traders may also know a third or even a fourth language.
Warehouses / Barns
Temples / Churchs
Palaces / Castles
- Aralia was founded in 302 YG, by an alliance of four noble houses working together to end the ongoing internal conflicts between great clans.
- The original council was:
- Four of the current six council positions have been continuously filled by the same four families since the founding in 302 YG.
- The latter two positions were added and remain filled by the Pasha and Pryse families which first occupied those seats.
- Lying on the east side of the Darlom Mountains, to the south-east of Kythus. Aralia spans the region of rolling plains and light forests, from the foothills of the Darlom mountains to the shores of the Torcastan Sea. To the north lies Tabras, and to the south Quzonia.
- Titan of Corvaise - A great bronze statue and lighthouse guarding the port of the nation's capitol, Corvaise.
- Major population centres ranked by population size.
- Corvaise - pop. 64,950
- C'vir B'qyag - pop. 48,700
- Kayb'r Aihi - pop. 24,350
- Qa B'qyag - pop. 12,200
- Kuyn Qayh'k - pop. 6,100
- P'ra Siv'n - pop. 3050
- Oiqy Eb'b - pop. 2,300
- Ota Olu - pop. 1,150