The Nations of the Star Continent
The peoples of the Star Continent live in different ways.
1. The Realm of the Holdings. Founded in Year 1 of the Holdings Calendar, the realm is ruled by a monarchy, with kings and queens following each other down five centuries. Traditionally, the Church of the Holdings has played an important role in the governing of the realm; however the current queen, who was crowned in Year 488, has distanced herself from the priests, and no longer heeds the advice of the Prophet. A Royal Council, representing the aristocratic Holders, advises the crown. In Year 501, the Realm of the Holdings invaded Sanang, ostensibly to punish the massacre of a trade delegation, but also through greed at the prospect of pillaging the rich resources of the forest lands of Sanang. A wide network of schools ensures each child of the Realm is able to read the Holy Scriptures.
2. Arakhanah City. The entire population of the Rakanese people live within the bounds of an enormous brick-built city, criss-crossed with a vast web of canals and rivers. High-rise tenements flank the waterways, crammed and overcrowded with families. Each district in the sprawling metropolis has its own democratically elected assembly, where every political decision is voted on. The Spawn Control Board bears the heavy responsibility of policing births in the densely inhabited urban landscape, examining the health and prospects of everyone applying for a licence, and punishing any mother caught without one. As the average birth-rate is a dozen infants per spawning, population control is an ever-abiding worry. Literacy is high and district-funded schooling compulsory.
3. The Rahain Republic. Ruled by an elite class of mages and their families, who govern the teeming masses of peasants and slaves that make up the vast majority of the population of Rahain. Alone among the peoples of the Star Continent, the Rahain civilisation has records stretching back thousands of years, to the time when the sub-continent was devastated by earthquakes (known to the Rahain as ‘the Collision’). The Rahain live within networks of deep caverns and, after Arakhanah, their seven cities are the largest on the continent. Each city has its own oligarchic council, and the High Senate in the capital wields supreme authority over the Republic. The elite are literate, while the majority of peasants and slaves exist without any schooling.
4. Kellach Brigdomin. The spindly peninsula in the south-western corner of the Star Continent has never been governed by a single ruler; instead, four tribes rule themselves: the Kell, the Lach, the Brig, and the Domm. These tribes, separated by mountain ranges and clinging to narrow strips of low-lying coastal land, have spent history fighting each other. Inter-clan rivalries are complex and obscure, but are driven mainly by a Kell and Lach resentment of Domm and Brig, in which the Kell and Domm see themselves as the dominant clan of each pair, much to the irritation of the perceived junior partners. The people of the peninsula did not have an overall name for themselves, and ‘Kellach Brigdomin’ was coined by the Rahain invaders. Over time, this tends to be shortened to ‘Kellach’, much to the chagrin of the Brig and Domm. Literacy is restricted to a handful of village scribes.
5. Sanang. Thick temperate rainforests cover the entire sub-continent of Sanang, with five great rivers dividing the land. No government exists in Sanang. Warlords control small pockets of forest, raiding and burning the villages of weaker rivals. The women of Sanang are subjugated by the men, and female babies are singled out for infanticide. Those who survive are confined within female enclosures, where access is jealously controlled by the local warlord. Few of either sex make it into old age. The descent into anarchy and violence was sparked decades before by the collapse of the harsh rule of the tyrannical Soulwitches in the fires of a long civil war. Literacy is almost unknown in the forests of Sanang.
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