Countries

Harborhead

Harborhead is a huge country in the South-east of Creation. It’s climate varies from temperate (on the coast) and in the mountains through sun-parched (in the interior) to sweltering (in the jungle regions). It is threatened in the North by the Shadowlands of Thorns and the Bayou of Endless Regret, by untamed Lunar infested jungle to the East, and by the Varang city-states to the South. The West faces the Blessed Isle itself across the Inner Sea.

Harborhead is occupied by five tribes, all of which sprang from the same stock long ago, though they have not been united since the First Age. In the current age, relationships between the five vary from “wary alliance” to “outright hatred”. The temporal loyalty of any Harborheadite is first to his tribe, second to his people and finally (if at all) to his nation. The tribes raid each other constantly (and the city states to the South if a war band is big enough) and take each other as slaves as well as stealing cattle. These slaves are typically sold to the Realm or to the Guild. Though they get paid only a tiny fraction of the value of the slave in other markets, this is still such a profitable trade that many of the tribes rely on it for income. The Realm encourages slave taking because it guarantees a constant flow of prime slaves, from which they take their pick and then sell the balance to the Guild (getting a better rate as middlemen than the Guild gives the natives of Harborhead). In this way, everyone gets rich except the people of Harborhead.

Rulership of Harborhead rests with the Imperial Satrap, who “advises” the Leopard (the proper name for the King of Harborhead). Effectively the most powerful warlord in the region, almost all Harborheadites will tell you that the only Leopard worth mentioning was Blood-on-the-Horn. Blood-on-the-Horn was a daughter of Ahlat himself (born to one of the Brides of Ahlat) and used her God-Blooded power to unite the people of Harborhead into one nation; the Realm prudently conquered the land before it could become a competing empire. Blood-on-the-Horn spent the next thirty years or so resisting the Realm until she was killed in a one-on-one duel with a Dragon-Blooded of House Mnemon. Since then, the occupant of the Leopard Seat (the throne) has been picked by the Realm, and is generally seen as a worthless collaborator who can “eat my loincloth” as far as any Harborheadite is concerned. Kiraghast is the Captial City of Harborhead.

The Realm has an extensive bureaucracy in Harborhead, based in the capital city of Kirigast. It is thoroughly corrupt, with everyone on the take, even members of the All-Seeing Eye, who are the watchdogs of corruption. The tax collectors skim off what they collect from the residents, their superiors skim off that, they all bribe the officials of the All-Seeing Eye to look the other way, and in the end the Realm finds that the proper tribute doesn’t reach the Empress from the people of Harborhead. Regretfully, they are forced to go back and recover the agreed amount from the “lazy” natives, who consistently fail to pay the Realm’s due. As a result, the people of Harborhead end up paying around two or three times as much in taxes to the Realm as they are supposed to. If a village doesn’t or can’t pay, the Realm burns it and sells the residents into slavery to pay their debt. That most people can just manage to pay their taxes indicates how rich the land is and how successful the people could be if they were not under the boot heel of the Scarlet Empire.

Another reason for Harborhead’s importance to the Realm is the Bent Creek Jade beds. There is a virtual mountain of Jade there, and Bent Creek has grown into a small city containing the largest mining project in the South.

The people of Harborhead recognize the Unconquered Sun as the ruling god, and Ahlat as his right hand; the Unconquered Sun is the Chief and Ahlat is the War Leader. Some of the more aggressive tribes concentrate their worship on Ahlat. The Immaculate Order disapproves of this improper worship, but the complex political relationships of the area led the Empress herself to direct the Immaculate Order to be lenient on the subject of Ahlat’s worship. In fact, this situation benefits the Realm.

The Empress recognized that Ahlat demands the sacrifice of many cattle; more than a tribe can normally spare without starving. It is, of course, better to take someone else’s cattle for sacrifice and, since Ahlat is also the Southern God of War, the Bull God would be doubly honored by raids on his behalf. So the tribes raid each other and take each others cattle to sacrifice to Ahlat and their people to sell as slaves. Those who do so are rewarded by Ahlat, who makes their own cattle more fertile, and their warriors greater in battle. Which in turn makes them better at taking other peoples cattle and more of a target for other nearby tribes who want to take their fertile cattle. Thus, the Empress allowed the situation to continue for the sake of keeping the natives fighting each other instead of her own Legions; now with the Empress gone, the Immaculate Order is taking a stronger hand.

Harborhead is one of the few Realm Satrapies allowed to keep it’s own standing army; the military of Harborhead is a deeply entrenched cultural tradition. The priests of Ahlat marry young girls to their god in both a ceremonial and legal fashion, increasing his followers and amount of worship. These Brides of Ahlat are raised to be warriors, and protect the Leopard as an “honor guard” stemming from the politically advantageous fiction that the king of Harborhead is a distant cousin of the Empress. These 15,000 elite amazons are dedicated to their duty, though they still view their king as a worthless lackey of the Realm.

Offsetting the power of the native military is the Realm’s 47th Legion, about 3500-strong, one of the best divisions of the Imperial Army led by Terrestrials of House Cathak. It is supplemented heavily by local recruits, and around a quarter of the Legion is made up of Harborheadites loyal to the Realm. Many of these soldiers have even become faithful followers of the Immaculate Order. While vastly outnumbered by the local army, the Legion boasts around 25 Dragon-Blooded of Dynastic or Lost Egg origin, evening the odds greatly against the largely mortal Harborhead military.

Finally there is the Fire Fleet, whose base of operations in the South is Kirigast. Equipped with the most powerful ships the Realm can float (including some First Age vessels), the Fire Fleet could not only dominate the coast and blockade the ports, but the Realm could easily reinforce its position with still more Legions if the natives of Harborhead revolted. Those who plot rebellion know that they might win initial engagements, but would definitely lose the war when the Realm retaliated. So they bide their time and wait.

The Delzahn Empire

A vast territory along the Southern Coast and extending south into the arid desert ruled by the Delzahn Horde. The Delzahn are a Nomadic tribal people who have conquered and ruled the vast first age city state and southern trade hub of Chiaroscuro. They are nominal tributaries of the Realm.

The Principalities of Ang Teng

On the southwest coast of the Inland Sea, are the Principalities of An-Teng, running from the Western seashore to the Fire Mountains of the South. The land itself varies from arid and dry near the coast to temperate and forested in the middle regions to harsh and brisk in the mineral-rich mountains.

Varang

Varang is a nation of cities in the south known for its rigid caste system. A citizens’ profession and function is chosen at birth by Astrology. Varang is made up of eight different City-States

Countries

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