Nasis, The Hallowedland
The Khanate of Nasis (NASS-iss) has undergone a shocking change in the past few generations. Less than half a century ago, in the frozen northern mountains, the folk of the tiny settlement of Timbalica, not far south-east of Troca, discovered a new Divhi, and though its exact nature is unclear, word of this new faith spread. The new Divhi told its followers that it was the one and only True Divhi, and that it had chosen the people of Nasis to reveal itself to. And the One True Faith took like a spark to tinder in this once-backwater northern land to such an extent that the name Nasis is all but forgotten, and people know that place as The Hallowedland.

Tech Code: 5
Governments: Feudal Khanate of Nasis under the Tarkhan of Nasis, One True Faith
Religions: One True Faith
Industries and Trades: Logging, whaling, seal meat and fur.
Major Terrain: Ice, flatlands, mountains, sea, woods.
Primary Languages: Malish, Low Haedrasian.
Major Settlements: Bay Town, Carzini, Crone Town, Eel Town, Imbocco, Karth, Tarm, Troca, Vor Lezza, Vor Ushta, Wood Town.

Geography


Physical Geography

At the northern edge of the chain of islands that link Nardaan to mainland Allornus sits the domain of Nasis, re-dubbed the Hallowedland after the emergence of the One True Faith. Bitterly cold, and often nothing but stark snowfield, the Hallowedland is spared the eternal night of the lands to the north, and western taiga is home to diverse and hardy life. This land transforms almost unrecognisably from winter to summer, when the perpetual white of the winter gives way to violent explosions of colour, activity, and life in the short summer months.

The coast along the southern and eastern boundaries of the realm is mostly grey, rocky beach, littered with shale and other volcanic stone. Determined tussocks cling grimly to life amongst the rocks, and melting grey slush washes in off the sea daily, to reek stagnantly amongst the debris. Driftwood and even carcasses of lost ships are a common sight, beached or else smashed on remote beachheads. From the beaches the land almost immediately begins its inexorable rise towards the Nachtrekts. Tiny rivers run a few miles inland, like scars or wrinkles. Their surfaces are usually hard with ice, but only a fool would brave walking here, because the ice is hazardously thin. Out at sea islands and rocky stacks are common - a reminder of the ruination that the sundering brought to this part of the world - and sinister ice bergs pick their way amongst them, toppling those who are too frail to stand against the frozen mountains. Around the island bridge the waters are choked with pack ice, and stories of desperate men who have fled north out of Haedrasia on foot in the deepest winters are common. Around the bay of eels - named for its most famous inhabitants - however, the massive screaming eels and clever orca pulverize the ice as they go to and fro hunting, and ice-breaking ships keep the way to Vor Ushta navigable.

The inland plains are rugged, cloaked in dirty snow, and blasted by gales daily. Sea birds pick at carrion that has succumbed to the cold, and occasional cliffs rise from the great slick whiteness, but little else disturbs the deathly peace of these snowfields. Occasional patches of taiga, mostly made of hardy pines, spring up over the low hills and barrows of the inner territories. Trees in the heart of the nameless woods are a deep, dark green, but those shielding the outer edges from the hungry wind are yellow and orange, as if set aflame by their awful exposure, and older trees that remember a time that they marked the wood's edge are somewhere in between, making the forests a riot of autumn and spring hues.

In the far north the unassailable Nachtrekts finally rise properly from the gradual ascent. Jagged, dagger crags, packed so dense that they make a wall more impenetrable and towering than any a man might even conceive to build, are choked by debris and ice, and they remain forever cloaked in perfect, blinding white. Small lakes and frozen rivers that move only in the hottest summer months are common, but only Lake Imbocco, which is fed by a volcanic spring and only freezes over in the coldest months, is of a size worth remarking upon. Here the surface ice still needs to be broken to allow the passage of fishing vessels, and ice fishing close to the coast is a regular source of food, but beneath the frozen surface the waters are churning and alive with fat, silver fish.

nasis.jpg

Somewhere north of Crone Town and Troca, first perpetual twilight, and then eternal night descend. Forever in the shadow of the mountains, since time immemorial, the land here has evolved differently. Plants are strange, woody vines, that have no leaves and are black or red-brown rather than green. Moss and lichen and mold cling to everything, making every surface slick, moist and hazardous, and the air stinks with their spores, and moisture, and rot. In caves and places where the cold cannot reach humidity is unbearable, and lakes and waterways are more common. It is impossible to light fire here, even if by some miracle a traveller could find dry wood, and the clinging moisture of a sightless vale becomes the encasing ice of the next rise, quickly leaving even the most hardy to a drawn out, hopeless death. There is a sort of alien horror about the place, a land that has never known the life-giving rays of the sun, is not a land of life, but nor can it be a land of death, rather it has the feel of limbo, or as if it simmers like some primordial stew, waiting for a new sun to give it life.

Political Geography

Utterly dominated by the One True Faith, the Tarkhan of Nasis has been little more than a figurehead whose sole purpose is to ratify the rule of the Mandrate Supreme for the past two generations. His Khans, each of whom once held an ancestral tract of land, find themselves under the sway of the church, called to tithe more and more of their ancestral territories to the Mandrates of the Faith, and the loyalty of the people is now undoubtedly with the charismatic zealots who preach the world of the divh-of-divhi.

The One True Faith has worked hard to garner the support of the common man in Nasis, and in Meldoki, and so many old social barriers have been steadily broken down over the past couple of generations, as the common man has more and more access to those who rule. The Mandrate Supreme often holds public forums in the great plaza of Vor Ushta, where anyone is invited to voice an opinion - usually provided that that opinion espouses the virtues of the faith - and where he hears the suggestions and concerns of as many of his subjects as he can. However indentured labour is still the backbone of Nasis' economy, and still forms a clear lower class. Still, in this pioneering land a free man is welcome to stake his own claim to part of the vast tracts of unclaimed lands within the Hallowedland's borders, and providing that he makes appropriate offerings, and maintains proper observances with the faith then he is free to make his own fortune. For the divine of divines helps those who help themselves.

Not all villages are aligned to the one true faith of course, or even to the Tarkhan himself. Mountain villages are totally independent, they ask for no help and expect none, and while the Tarkhan's borders might mark these villages as part of Nasis, their inhabitants don't often agree. So remote and inaccessible are these lands that they see an outsider perhaps once in a generation, and so when missionaries go missing or traders are robbed and left wandering in the mountains few people know what their fate was.

Social Geography

Life in Nasis is still hard thanks to the savage environs of Nardaan. People live together in extended family units, usually sharing a large house. In most small settlements life is seasonal. The able bodied men of the village band together and live a nomadic existence in the spring and summer months, whaling, logging, trapping, or pursuing whatever the special trade of their village is. Then in the autumn they go to a major town or city to trade their goods with other semi-nomadic villagers, before returning home with winter at their backs to restock the dwindling supplies of their homes, and wait out the winter before the cycle begins again. Women are tasked with caring for the children and the elderly, but the women of the village fret, because if their men don't come home then they will have to weather winter with empty storehouses and little hope.

In the cities life is a little easier, because trade comes to you. Cities are home to skilled craftsmen, who make tools and weapons and all of those things that the men of the villages will need to trade precious whale meat, hides, cheese, timber and other goods for. Some coastal villages also see a little trade with Haedrasian vessels, where the great houses merchantmen will make stops to make repairs and refresh their stores over the calmer spring months.

The One True Faith

The One True Faith might be the fastest growing faith Allornus has ever seen. It is certainly one of the world's youngest, and yet it dominates the civilized portion of the northern continent at only a few generations old, and extends its influence into even the divh-empire of Haedrasia. Impassioned zealots abound with the word of the One True Divhi upon their lips, and His love in their hearts. The One True Faith grew from an ancient and obscure 'old religion' into the wave of enlightenment that it now represent. Its adherents preach that there was but a single divhi that created all of the others, that harnesses the forces of creation and melded the world together, and sent the other Divh as His servants, and then faded into the background, to wait and see if mortals would discover His hand. The church teaches that the ancient Mariners and some other old Myr races - the predecessors to those that now live in the world - discovered the existence of the One True Divhi, and raised up temples to Him, devoting all of Nardaan as a religious preserve for study and contemplation, but that in the horrors of the sundering nearly all trace of this True Faith was lost. However they say that their parent faith, the Cult of Maka, discovered the traces of this lore, and devoted lifetimes to searching for more in the vast snowfields in the eternal night, and piecing together the first and purest of faiths. Their belief in a benevolent Divhi, who placed mortals on the world to find Him, appeals to many in a harsh world where other Divh are demanding.

Setting Trait (3): The New Way The One True Faith - what else could possibly define the newly dubbed Hallowedland? When the Malorns first came to Nardaan they had been abandoned by a Divh they defied another to defend. Persecuted by the Draks and their new faith. Turned away by the other landsmen. Battered and brutalized by the elementals of their new home. They were utterly disillusioned with worship. They refused Divhi good or bad, and then suddenly there was the One True Divhi, and somehow in the space of a generation religion caught fire in a way it never has in the history of the world. Everything in Nasis is now defined by its relationship to this newly-emergent world order.

History


Timeline

2054 YAM/YES 1878 The One True Divhi appears in Timbalica.
2058 YAM/YED 1882 The One True Faith proclaims itself to Nardaan and establishes a headquarters in Vor Ushta.
2069 YAM/YED 1893 Parasim is named first Mandrate Supreme of the One True Faith.
2095 YAM/YED 1919 Present Day.

People


The Folk of Nasis

Malorns with some local Haedrasians, and some imperatry enclaives

Flora and Fauna

don't forget the screaming eels


The Five Tarac of Nasis

No creature is more a source of pride to the folk of Nasis than the Tarac. They adorn the shields of the Tarkhan's men, the land's banner, crates of goods coming from Nasis, and a plethora of other places - they are inescapable, even under the newfound omnipresence of the True Divhi. Only five are said to have ever lived. Five brothers sent from the eternal darkness to conquer the south. The Tarac were immense snowy lions, easily the size of the greatest white bear, but they could speak with the tongues of men, and they each had six legs. Their snowy hides were so tough that nothing could penetrate them, save for their own claws, which it is said could cut down a menhir with a single swipe.

It is told that when the Malorns first came to Nasis - driven over the cruel seas by their crueller cousins the Draks, the Tarac were at first curious. And the five Tarac came to the Malorns here and offered to be their Divh, since they had no Divhi of their own to worship. But the Malorns had had their fill of Divh. The Tarac pressed, growing tired and offended at the refusals of these battered lesser creatures, intruding in their range. And so they made an ultimatum. One of their number would come to the Malorn settlement every night, and take a single child to eat, until the Malorns submitted to worship them. And so they did, night after night, until the Malorn leader Masisa could take no more. Pleading with the Tarac he offered a desperate bargain. The Malorns must know that the Tarac were truly their betters. They had proven their superior strength, but now they must prove their wisdom. And to this end he asked a tenday's reprieve while he fashioned a puzzle. The Tarac could then come, one at a time, for five nights thereafter, and try to solve the puzzle. Intrigued, and eager to prove themselves, the Tarac agreed. And over the next ten days Masisa gathered rope, and fashioned a knot of such complexity and such skill that no man but he who had spun it could unwind it. And he spun it in such a way that the knot hid snare upon snare, for Masisa had becomes a skilled trapper in his people's flight from the grey-skinned Draks, and had caught many beasts stronger and more cunning than he with his traps.

When the tenday was over, the first of the Tarac returned, demanding to see the puzzle. But as it tried to undo the knot it became ensnared, and the more the first Tarac struggled, the deeper it sunk into the knot, until not a trace returned. And Masisa quickly secured it, covering every inch with new rope so that the knot seemed untouched. On the second night the second Tarac came, demanding to know where its brother was, and Mesisa explained that such was the first Tarac's shame at not being able to master his puzzle, that it slunk away into the snow. Laughing, the second Tarac demanded to see the puzzle, and after a time it too was entangled and bound into the knot with its brother. Two more Tarac came, and two more were imprisoned, until Mesisa's knot was of prodigious proportion.

On the fifth night the final Tarac came, and it demanded to know the whereabouts of its brothers, and Masisa told it the same story, to the same response. But when it became entangled Mesisa was ready, and he goaded the beast, saying for all its might it was bested by a simple know. And when the fifth Tarac was howling with rage, Mesisa told it that for its fine coat and its sharp claws it was nought but an animal. And with these words cunning Mesisa planted an idea in the Tarac's mind, and it proclaimed that it could untie Mesisa's knot, but slicing it to pieces! But when it made the first slash, deep and sure, the knot howled in rage as blood spilled from another Tarac tangled in the knot. And so it was that the five brothers fell to fighting and tearing and struggling against attack from talons hidden in the rope, and by the time it was over not a one lived. And thenceforth the Malorns of Nardaan called their greatest war-leader the Tarac-Khan, and emblazoned the Tarac on their banners, to remind them that with cunning they could best even the most savage elements of this unforgiving land.


Notable Individuals

Mandrate Supreme, Parasim
Parisim, first among the servants of the One True Divhi, is the true ruler of Nasis, though he claims to defer to the rightful Tarkhan, and rule only at his behest. A beautific and charismatic churchman, Parasim is known for his charity, and for his fairness when followers of the One True Faith come to him for judgement and mediation. In the twilight of his middle years, with his vitality on the cusp of fading, Parasim is infused with a sort of at-once desperate and serene energy - a desire to do all that he can and expend his every remaining moment in the service of his most divine patron. He is renowned and celebrated for his tolerance of other faiths, and his seemingly endless patience with those who have yet to realize that there is but a single divine, while still proving able to steer the One True Faith with the conviction it needs to keep it strong and expanding.

Ceris, War-King of the One True Divhi
The chosen champion of the One True Divhi is the immense Ceris, a Haedrasian of prodigious size and strength said to have been in the employ of pirates raiding the settlements of the Cosarian Islands before his conversion to the way of the One True Divhi. If this is true it seems likely that 'Ceris' is a name with which he has redubbed himself to protect himself from recrimination. Adulent in his faith, and absolute in his belief in the justness of his role, and the One True Divhi's hand guiding him, Ceris has entered into some truly foolhardy conflicts and emerged victorious and unscathed. His confidence has only redoubled in the crucible of his successes.

Tarkhan Makairus of Nasis
The Tarkhan of Nasis has been Makarius for the past nine years. Makarius is a man of questionable past and immense vice, and seems happy to serve as a figurehead while the One True Faith truly rule Nasis. As is traditional, he is also the ordained Archi-Mandrate of the city of Tarm, and he has officially converted to following the One True Divhi, though he is seldom seen actually participating in the faith, preferring his opulent suites in Ortozi's Folly to prayer and contemplation. The Tarkhan's wealth, and his appeal to those who might otherwise feel threatened by this relatively new sect, mean that there is little threat to his position, at least in Makarius' lifetime, but his influence dwindles almost by the day.

Culture


Etiquette and Custom

The Hallowedland is ruled by the strictures of the One True Faith. The mentioning one of the names attributed to the One True Divhi is considered a grave profanity, as is any indictment of the One True Faith. Though the priests claim to welcome open debate they will not tolerate hearing their Divhi maligned. Fasting on holy days, even for outsiders, is expected and largely enforced by the absence of food sellers on such days. Damaging, destroying, or even owning relics, writings, or sigils associated with the One True Faith is illegal for non-devotees. Perhaps most unusually, the people of the Hallowedland don't approve of music or dance at all, and people with musical instruments will be looked upon with extreme suspicion, while those engaging in song in a public place may be firmly moved along rather quickly. Many see them as a joyless lot, because such jubilation is foreign to them, and though this odd tradition predates the One True Faith, it is one of the major contributing factors to the perception of the One True Divhi's church as dour and serious.

Food and Eating

Like Meldoki in the west, Nasis relies heavily on the sea for its staple diet. People have no trouble keeping food fresh in the low temperatures, but often a fire has better uses than cooking, or cannot be started, so outsiders often find their predilection for raw fish dishes baffling, and preserves such as jellied squid and eels are equally daunting. The dehydrated black seaweed that is also prevalent in their diet is equally exotic, but greasy roasted elk and hardy root vegetables like parsnips, carrots and potatoes are more common fare, and are often boiled for a full day near the fire without disrupting its heat. The prevalence of fresh-fallen snow also means that drinking water is common here, where elsewhere it would be considered unhealthy. Still, strong whiskey is much better for keeping warm, and staying liquid, on a winter's night. People tend to eat with their fingers in the Hallowedland, and not to be willing to touch the food with ones own hands is considered an insult to one's host.

Attire

Heavy fur-lined garments are a must in every part of Nardaan, and even in the comparative civilization of the Hallowedland there is no exception. Amongst the common folk a woollen under-shirt, with a woollen over-shirt, fur-lined boots, woollen or fur-lined trousers, a fur-lined hood, coarse gloves, and a sealskin cloak would be common enough attire for men and women, while amongst the upper classes bulky gowns on both sexes become almost comical in volume, with pointed caps and high collars, and decoratively embroidered over-garments. Visitors often remark that the merchants look almost like balls so broad are their gowns. Sheepskin coats are also popular, especially when going about a city or town when one expects to only be outdoors briefly. People pride themselves particularly on fine caps, worn over gaily-coloured head-scarves, and on holy days or market days the array of decorative headgear is staggering, with only the warriors leaving their heads bare to display their topknots. Priests of the One True Faith have no distinct vestments as such, but wear a violet stole and mitre embroidered in gold when they wish to make themselves known. Otherwise, dyed clothing (other than hats) is a luxury, and most settle for dark brown or pale blue when they can get it. Broad snow shoes made from woven flax are a must in the plains.

Arms and Armour

Warriors tend to shy from weighty armour, preferring an open-faced helmet with a tapering point, bracers, and a breast plate that amounts to little more than a round shield belted over the abdomen, all usually of brass and heavily lined where metal meets flesh. The weapon of choice is normally the combination of spear, hand axe, and short bow. Huntsmen also favour this combination, while whalers are known for their proficiency with wicked javelins. Common folk often go armed against desperate wildlife, and short spears are considered an excellent combination of walking stick and protection that keeps attackers at a good distance. Warriors universally wear a long, tightly plaited khokhol (a long tail of hair at back of an otherwise shaven head). Those that are not warriors and wear the khokhol are making a dangerous claim, and will find themselves challenged to prove the skill at arms that earns them the right to the long whipping braid. Beards are popular, as much for warmth as fashion, and are even worn when the scalp is shaven.

Moving Around

Most beasts of burden are near useless in Nasis, but sledges drawn by dogs are excellent personal conveyances. Indeed, even an individual with no dogs will find a small sledge far superior to carrying his burdens on his back. Oversea travel proves much easier, with small fishing vessels piloted by men who understand the dangers of ice flows and screaming eels plentiful. And larger whaling vessel simple enough to catch if you don't happen to be in a hurry. Messages must be carried by hand - no animal that could brave the wilds of Nasis alone can be easily trained - but professional messengers make regular between Vor Ushta and Tarm, relaying verbal, and sometimes delivering written messages, and carrying small deliveries for master craftsmen. They are also happy to take a passenger should the opportunity arise, though no local would think of travelling at such expense when he's following a road. Outsiders, however, are strongly advised to rely on a guide, even on the highway.

Political


The Theocratic Tarkhanate

maintain formatting

The Law

maintain formatting

Economy


Trade

The bulk of the folk of the Hallowedland make their living as whalers, sealers, fishermen or furriers, and there is great demand for all of these industries. The harsh winters make agriculture all but unknown, but with most households having enough land to provide a small vegetable patch this is usually enough to supplement the diet. The trade in dried seaweed as a dietary staple within Nasis is growing, and elk or even moose meat fetches a fine price amongst those that can afford it. Flax grown in the mountains and woven into hardy textiles is also an industry capable of internal trade, though llamas are also crucial for their wool. But for the most part settlements are self-sufficient, and only furriers and fishermen make regular trips into the major cities. In turn some of their goods, especially smoked fish, find their way as far south as Haedrasia. But every settlement has a single, specialist trade that they consistently produce a surplus in. They use this surplus to trade with neighbouring settlements for whatever they're short of in a given season.

Money

Currency is in relatively good supply in the Hallowedland, despite its remote location, and unforgiving conditions. The coins are almost exclusively of Haedrasian origin, and the Imperator's gold noble marks the upper denomination the powerful merchants, and of course the church, trade in. In Vor Ushta and Tarm the average working commoner can expect to be paid in food and keep for the duration of their service, or by some other pre-arranged barter, as lower-classes receiving monetary reward for their services in unknown here, but even simple craftsmen will usually trade amongst themselves in coin. All Haedrasian coinage is known and accepted in the two cities, with the 4.5 gram brass drab being the common denomination, seven of which buy a 16 gram steel meld. About a dozen variations of the Meld exist, each valued to reflect a particular set wage within Haedrasia, but these are less common here, though recognized. Silver and gold 3.5 gram nobles, worth nine and sixteen drabs respectively, are also regularly circulated for particularly expensive items, or for whole cargoes in Vor Ushta. Outside the cities, however, currency is all but useless, and proves more of a burden in the deep snow than an asset.

Today In His Most Favoured Realm…


maintain formatting

Nardaan, Land of Chill and Eternal Night
The Hallowedland, The Heathen North, Arkenrecht, Meldoki
Director's Miscellany Amenities, Gear, Prices, Professions, Random Encounters, Sample Characters, Series Loglines, Small Settlement Generator, Supporting Cast Generator