Perapos
Flat, sparse, windswept and bleak, Perapos (PEH-rar-poss) is one of only a pair of landsmen bastions to the west of Arumthar. Settled by fleeing Arumtharns, like Kimmura to the south, even now it has a feeling of impermanence and emptiness about it. The settlers of Perapos seem to feel uncertain - as if they are living on borrowed land, and they expect it to be reclaimed at any moment. And in truth between the raids out of Usdai, and the rifts and sink-holes that are wont open in the featureless grasslands, it is not hard to think it they might be.

Tech Code: 4
Governments: Loose republic formed from allied settlements.
Religions: The Old Way, The Maylar
Industries and Trades: Agriculture (root vegetables, sheep), clear spirits.
Major Terrain: Flatlands, Swamp.
Primary Languages: Irian, Bosk.
Major Settlements: Daggel, Forudunna, Gulmet, Krothen Glade, Lobb, Pelosa, Tung.

Geography


Physical Geography

Occasionally called one of the plain states, Perapos, like Hyd and Kayaba to the north, and the northern part of Usdai to the south, is covered by the interminably flat and seemingly eternal Kayari Steppe. Featureless grasslands stretch in all directions as far as the eye can see, broken only by a few lonely hills. The winds may not be as wild or as destructive as they are to the west, or even the along the southern coast thanks to the grasses, they still have great destructive seasons when gales flatten lone farmhouses and even tornadoes touch down and tear chunks from the very heart of the earth.

But lowland Perapos is also a land of featureless marshes and bogs, where cloying mud and smothering humidity gather under thin, hanging vapours. Here the ground is perpetually wet, the air stinks of rot, massive mosquitoes and tiny water snakes slip through the cloying air, and belligerent swamp grasses lash out with sword-edged foliage at the unwary. Though the marshes serve little purpose, many settlements cluster close to the edge of one great tract of bog or another, and the creeks and streams that feed them, though sluggish, are usually rich with catfish and eels. Noodlers use their mail or leather-clad limbs as bait to draw out prey of massive proportion, and a day's catch will feed an entire village for days.

Political Geography

Perapos has no ruler of its own, but it is a united land never the less. The leaders of each community - elected from amongst the women who have borne sons to the settlement - form a women's circle, who advise them and arbitrate upon matters of justice or disagreement. Elections are a regular affair, though the traditions of each village differ as to exactly when they occur. Some set predefined terms, while others allow a leader to serve until a majority of other eligible candidates demands a new election. These hetwomen meet with the hetwomen of neighbouring towns whenever the need arises, and very occasionally (perhaps once or twice in a generation) they gather in a conclave to discuss some matter of national import. Then they elect one from amongst their number, usually the eldest, to officiate and ensure everyone is heard before putting any decisions to a vote.

The men of Perapos are not entirely without influence. They form men's circles, and usually men's matters are allowed to go before the men's circle to be dealt with. Only when a satisfactory decision is not reached do men's affairs become the province of the hetwoman and her advisers. Because men are still traditionally the heads if the family, if not the community, many matters of property and criminal activity is dealt with by the men. Priests of the Old Way tend to be of both sexes in relatively equal proportion, but if anything a priest will find he has less of a voice in community matters, and will be shut out of such proceedings more often than approached for guidance.

Setting Trait (1): Inoffensive With a population smaller than a modest city, no central government, and few resources not boasted in plenty by every one of their neighbours, the land of Perapos finds itself an afterthought in the machinations of the domains of the Farland. Even Usdai seems to see less cause to cross their northern border than to range west or east. Perapos has stayed free and prosperous because none want to change that, and its folk are usually mindful not to offend, and slow to take offence themselves.

Social Geography

Perapoi settlements are generally self-sufficient. People have their own small crops, animals for meat and milk, and sometimes even modest orchards of figs or apricots. Most families also have a still, where they will make spirits from sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip or even beet. A man toils all day to provide for him family, while women see to the proper governance of the settlement, under the Hetwoman, and communally tend to the children. If one man's crops fail, he will trade with his neighbour, and most families will try to have a surplus each year to make up for their shortcomings, as well as to trade with nearby villages or skilled craftsmen for more valuable items. Redsmiths, horse breeders, potters and the like can be found in the larger towns, and groups from smaller towns make a trip every season or to to replace or repair their goods. On the whole it is a simple life of hard work in a warm and bountiful land for the people of Perapos, and though they have much to fear from the water-adders that creep into their homes and coil in their boots, as well as the marauding southern Usdai, the wandering Org, the incursions of bandits from Taurvann or the elusive and ethereal taint leaking out of Arumthar, for the most part they live simple lives and try to forget the perils of the world around them.

Faith and Worship

Like many lands in the Southlands, the folk of Perapos follow an unusual faith. At first glance their temples seem to venerate the elder Divhidre, and like most lands in the south, they remain largely untended save for major holy days, seeking to merely appease rather than please. And they tend to favour Otta most amongst those ancient and inscrutable beings. But those who delve deeper find that there is quite something else taking place. For in secret gatherings in the marshlands of Perapos, by the sickly light of waning torches and burning swamp gases, they gather about prophets known as the Maylar.

Any man or woman can become Maylar, merely by venturing upon a pilgrimage into the swamps. First they grow both hot and cold, and become sallow and weak as the spirit takes them. Then they thrash and flail as their very limbs are given over to a will not their own. And finally their skin and eyes turn golden, and they begin to speak prophecy. It is said that they channel the Larval Spirit - the terrible mosquito-divhi, who is master of secrets and keeper of lies. But the Maylar pay a terrible price, for those few that live are never hale again in their lives. But the Maylar that survive being touched by the spirit will never be touched again. The community will venerate, provide for, and keep them as holy men for the remainder of their lives.

To the folk of Perapos, the Maylar are embodiments of the favour (or perhaps chosen sacrifices) of the swamp elemental that gives the people water, timber, rich soil for food, and abundant rains for their crops. His mosquitoes collect a blood-tax for the privilege, and occasionally take a life from amongst the Maylar. But these prices are small for the richness that the elemental gives. For this reason the Perapoi will never swat a mosquito, and turn quickly cold when an outsider does (though seldom do they make comment). Outsiders are seldom, if ever, told of the Maylar or the Larval Blessing. To visitors the Perapoi claim staunchly that they are merely initiates of the Old Way. But the few priests who have truly devoted themselves to the Old Divh, and the Goblyns of Kayaba and Bulghaz know better. They speak of the nocturnal sojourns of the Perapoi into the swamps, and their mysterious veneration of their ailing and jaundiced prophets.

Setting Trait (2): The Larval Spirit Visitors to Perapos will find its people tight-lipped about their faith, citing the privacy of such matters. Suspicion might be compounded when they see the temples in comparative disrepair, or the congregation on holy days rushing through ceremony with little conviction. And alarm might be raised if crude mosquito-masked revellers were sighted in the night on the edges of the swamp, cavorting about a bonfire. But even when confronted the Perapoi will speak nothing of their strange faith, nor the prices they pay for it. Which only serves to make the visitor yet more suspicious, and watchful, and afraid.

History


Timeline

4782 KS The first refugees from Arumthar settle around Pelosa.

5145 KS Present day.

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Today In the Perapoi Swamps…


The first rumour that a traveller will hear, if he asks a passer by on the roads of Perapos, will be that of the disappearing villages. Fanciful as it sounds, stories of the populations of entire settlements vanishing into thin air overnight are the talk of Perapos. Of course no one can name a single settlement that has been so victimized, but the story persists. Some say that they were claimed as slaves by a daring Goblyn warlord in lightening raids. Some swear that a race of grim giants marched from over the Shoulders of the World to carry away hapless folk for food, or sport, or worse. And yet others claim that fell magicks are at play, or that an ancient Divhi has awoken in the deep swamps, and taken a dislike to the race of men in its dimense.

The Sprawling Southlands and the Western Kingdoms
Esterfel Sandour, Irak, Newhone, Kipir, Talrat, Verca, Lebros, Kadar, Zulgar, Qilkur, Maradahl, Azakay, Lamorand, Sipra, Eyat, Usuk, Alare, Zeytin, Braymen Plains
Saldania Ilmarrow, Doraim, Vledos, Kasharyk, Kadoc, Pelos, Bethamzthac, Balica, Karsuk
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Farland Usdai, Kimmura, Mzrad, Bulghaz, Perapos, Kayaba, Sudar, Sorâne, Hyd
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