THE HIGH KINGDOM OF ACA-SANTERRA

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - COAT OF ARMS
CLIMATE -
FLORA -  FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

The High Kingdom of Aca-Santerra ("Sacred Land/Region") is one of the most powerful nations on the continent of Nybelmar. Its people populate the islands east and northeast of the mainland and also a portion of the continent itself that lies between the broad Jerrah river and the hills of Thales ("Oberion Thaleseth"). The kingdom has earned a reputation as being the greatest seafaring nation of whole Caelereth with the biggest fleet on the Western Seas.

Description
. As the kingdom spans from the plains of the continent to the rocky shores of the islands its landscape is very diversive. The homeleands of the Santerrans lie at the rocky coasts of the Isles, most of them of black granite with sharp cliffs and burly stones. The pure Santerrans are in many ways like these black cliffs unyielding and unforgiving. The best example of these regions are the fortified cities along the coasts that for centuries defended the common population of fishermen and craftsmen against all kinds of invaders and were often built in terraces against the cliffs.

Beyond these cliffs usually lie the rural hamlets of shephards and farmers. The soil is poor and
so are the life conditions so that the Santerrans depended early on what could be harvested from the sea and laid the base for the seapower that once emerged from it.

The only fertile plains - that are capable of feeding most of the Santerran population - are the Plains of the Jerrah. These are the only fertile plains that permit farming
with great measures and their importance was proven when Jhelim the Great moved the capital of the High Kingdom from the capital of Delvynnar to the city of Altyr overseeing the plains.

The hillands north and south of the plains are again mainly inhabitated by other tribes
, the northern being the more troublesome as here the tribes of the Murmillions (translated "Men of the Glens") live, who were the fiercest enemies of the kingdom for centuries. Beyond this natural border in the north still live the independent tribes of the Murmillions in their stone castles and mountain cities.

The High
Kingdom controls some of the most prosperous harbours on Nybelmar, the greatest of them all being their capital Altyr. From here most trade from North to South and beyond the continent's waters is maintained, controlled and regulated, giving Aca-Santerra a great impact on the foreign policies of the continent with any kingdoms abroad. Most of the kingdom's wealth is based on this trade that is even enriched by the goods and resources the Santerrans produce themselves.

While meat and grain is always short the Santerrans export great amounts of tools, armory, weapons and jewellery as well as gold, silver and iron. Among the goods they import are spices, all kinds of cloth and pottery.

The ships of Aca-Santerra reach nearly any port of the Western Sea which brings -
beside profit - great political influence in most ports and the tribes depending on them.

The most common religion in Aca-Santerra - which is also the state religion - is the "cult of the Erin"
, the Highgods and the Twins of the Beginning. The priesthood is omnipresent in the kingdom and has major influence in any domestic affairs and politics. The priesthood - that only consists of women - has full powers as enforcers of the godly law. In many ways the male nobility is completely limited in maintaining the kingdom and waging war against any outside threat.

Spiritually the kingdom is ruled by the priesthoods of Barkhas - the Highest God of the Kingdom -, the followers of Angus
, whose main seat is in Altyr and the priesthood of Retarra, the Deity of War.

Added to these priesthoods are the male mages of the kingdom, the Horathrar
(the female mages are usually becoming priests on their own), who serve in the name of the temples as magic without the acceptance of a temple is seen as an unholy act and punished even with death.

With strict laws and rules the Santerrans often look with great suspicion at strangers who are often referred to as "Outlanders".
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Location. The kingdom is located on the islands northeast of the continent of Nybelmar. Itys southern border on the mainland is the Jerrah river, a 100 peds wide stream that seperates - and protects! - the High Kingdom against the Empire of Korweyn. The northern border, inhabitated by the conquered tribes of the Murmillions, are the "Oberion Thaleseth" (Hills of Thales). The river and the hills define a triangle that closes in the west at the border of the Gaeldorioth (the Emerald Woods). Everything in between and on the islands is Santerran.
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People. The High Kingdom is inhabitated by various tribes - most conquered by the Santerrans in centuries of war - but the ethnic borders are still pretty clear as the Santerrans don't like to mix with the native population.

The homelands of the Santerrans themselves are the coasts and the cities of the kingdom which they populate in urban communities since the beginning of history. Most villages, towns and cities were built around a harbour from where their fishing fleets launch to harvest the treasures of Barkhas.

In the backlands of the islands, the hills and mountains usually other tribes care for themselves, producing food or raw materials from one of the many mines on the islands and the hills. While not completely merged into the Santerran tribe they're accepted by them as mostly equal, only of "less noble blood".

The northern hills however, that are inhabitated by the Murmillions are only referred to as "allies" because the Santerran still don't see these people as equal in their kingdom. The Murmillions herd cattle and sheep in hills and add to the strength of the kingdom by providing about the fiercest swordsmen known to Nybelmar. Despite that the northern border region remains a territory of unrest.

The complete population of the kingdom might be about 2 million people of which about fifty percent are Santerran or affiliated tribes.
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Coat of Arms/Sign. The Santerrans have coat of arms like most Santharian settlements have, most noble house differ from each other by just wearing differently dyed clothes. The colors of the High Kingdom are usually the royal blue and orange which refer to the sky and the water.

The mythical beast associated to the High Kingdom is the "Hydra of Barkhas" a giant seasnake that has the heads of all incarnations of Barkhas as well as the heads of the seagull, the lion and the goat to refer to the lands which now are part of Aca-Santerra and to honor Angus, Injeylla and Retarra as other important deities of the kingdom.

The incarnations of Barkhas are many but usually are a shark, a dolphin and the kraken. Sometimes this symbol can be seen on the blue and orange of the Saaterran flag but usually it stands alone to mark something as decreeted by the Highking.
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Climate. The climate in Aca-Santerra varies from mediterran to subtropical, the northern hills having a more moderate climate.

While the weather throughout the year is very moist most regions of Aca-Santerra lack the soil to produce great amounts of crops. The only exception are the Plains of the Jerrah that are fertile nearly all year thanks to moderate temperatures and much rain.

Snow and Ice are seldom in these regions of the world and only occur at rare occasions but the mountain ranges and hillands can be quite cold in winter. Aca-Santerra is especially dependent on the tides and currents that send them the valuable fish swarms that come to the Santerran islands each spring and autumn. The island cliffs are usually haunted by a rough north-south wind, another reason they built their cities in the shadow of the cliffs. In autumn and winter the wind changes and comes more from the east to west and means heavy rainfalls on the islands and the coastal hills.

While rain or cold winds usually disturb the stay on the islands or coasts the Pains of the Jerrah are comfortable all year, the reason for three harvests each year.
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Flora. [...] Return to the top

Fauna. [...]
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Resources. The islands have little major resources beside granite and marble though some very rich deposits of silver can be found in the mountains of Vunmeer and Thegal. The only other resource is tin from Euri. Both resources are mined only at few places on these islands.

The hills of the mainland are far richer, especially in coal and iron that is mined there extensively for weapons and tools. The coal can be found mainly west, iron to the east. The coastal hills have some more deposits of silver. The few gold that can be found is usually used for jewellery. Silver is the common currency in Aca-Santerra.

At the islands also pearls are harvested in artifical shell farms and used for export. The name of the Delvynnar derives from this profitable industry, the City of Delv, the city of Nacre. Here the greatest farms of this kind can be found.

What Aca-Santerra lacks most is wood as the demand for this material is enormous to build and heat houses and to built the enormous fleets so most forests that can be found in Aca-Santerra are strictly regulated to gather as much construction wood as possible without destroying the actual source.
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Myth/Lore. For the myth on how Aca-Santerra came to be see the History section. Other mythological stories you can read here:

While Aca-Santerra has earned much respect having one of the greatest navies most other kingdoms of Nybelmar look with suspicion at them as outside the foreign harbours and off the ships they are very isolationists that don't like to spare their time with strangers. Referring to them is often to mark a certain stubborness but also strength.

One of the most famous examples for this is the myth about the "Santerran Seawitch" which usually means the Highpriestess of Barkhas. The powers of the priesthood are legendary and are said to have saved the High Kingdom more than once. Whenever a storm rises, a ship is lost or the wind travels one fast forward most sailors believe that the "Santerran Seawitch" helps or haunts them. While being a mere human in the stories of the sailors the highest priestess of Aca-Santerra is said to possess nearly godly powers concerning the Oceans and the Weather.

In many other ways for "Outlanders" the Santerrans seem to combine good and bad properties in often radical ways.
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THE ERA OF MYTHS
(YEARS 4.300 B.S. - 3.170 B.S.)
3500 b.S. The Immigration of the Santerrans
The Santerrans are said to immigrate from the east on the islands east of Nybelmar: The Santerrans say their ancestors escaped a great threat east of the continent. In their suffering they pleaded one god - any god! - to help them out of their misery and they would worship him till the end of the world.

According to the myth Barkhas, the God of the Seas, hears their pleadings and sends four islands as gigantic ships to bring them away from the threat in the east and in his own realm. The islands travel two years over the oceans and stop at the place where now an archipelago encircles what is called the "Depths of Barkhas", the holiest place of Aca-Santerra (Aca-Santerra actually means "Sacred Land"). The ships are now the islands of Aca-Wyr, the sanctuary of Barkhas. From there Barkhas orders them to settle on all land north and west but not the new continent, yet. However, he promises them that one day they will rule all shores his waters reach. And so the Santerrans grow and prosper on the islands under the guidance of Barkhas the Ruler of all Seas...

THE CURRENT AGE
(YEARS 2.970 B.S. - 1.667 A.S.)
2433 b.S. The Reign of Jhelim the Great
Jhelim, Lord of Delvynnar and Highpriest, becomes the first leader that manages to ally many of the Santerran towns and colonies under his reign. During his lifetime many outposts are founded on the continent as tradeposts and military forts. Several tribes living at the coast pay tribute to Santerran cities and offer military assisstance. They'll become the first generation of allies of the Santerran realm who will earn the name "Santerran" for their services for the realm.

Altyr is founded to watch the river mouth of the Jerrah.
  

1700 b.S. The Fall of the Murmillion Kingdom
The last king of the Murmillions leaves the kingdom in a power vacuum and various factions begin to fight for the throne. The kingdom falls into complete disorder with each noble Family only caring for their own advantages. Poverty and hunger strike the kingdom so the Murmillions only concentrate on internal affairs not bothering about a new power setting its foot onto the continent: Aca-Santerra founds its first cities and outposts along the Jerrah river and the coastal regions.
  

1649 b.S. The Reign of Asthalon the Black
According to Murmillion interpretation a solar eclipse determines a religious movement towards the Dark One, the husband of Mari, and the Murmillions gather once more to wage war. Asthalon, son of Narn the Blue of Delvynnar, claims command over the Santerran forces gathering in the besieged city of Delvynnar to fend off the attacking hordes.

With the help of the gods he manages to hold the city untl the end of darkness and defeat the Murmillions in a huge land battle one year later. At the command of the Highpriestess of Barkhas he rides alone into the corelands of the Murmillions to seek the legendary throne of Menemronn and his deeds on his way become famous in the "Tales of the Stoneking". Asthalon is said to defend the throne of darkness until the end of all times.

Under his short rule - he only reigns the combined forces of Santerra for one and a half year - and in these desperate times the Goddess Mari, formerly a Goddess of the Murmillions, only becomes one of the Aca-Tar as counterbalance of the fanatic belief the free tribes of the Murmillions share.
  

320 b.S. Rage of the Isle-Kingdoms
The Santerran houses turn against each other in disputes about land, fishing rights and domination in the conquered lands. They prove to be little of a match as the new empire of Korweyn rises and risks to be conquered but until very late the so-called "Rage of the Seakings" is an epoch of ongoing war and campaigns between the noble houses. Euri is added to the Santerran domain.
  

ca. 0 Kassite Border Duties
The Kassites settle beside their traditional grazing ground also farther east near the Jerrah as part of a security policy by the Empire to secure the border to Aca-Santerra. Believing in the absolute loyalty of the Kassites the emperor thinks that having trained warrior clans nearby would help to ensure peace at this border.
  

298 The "Oath of the Three Seakings"
The lords of Therigal, Zigorath and Delvynnar sign a treaty to counter the threat of the Korweynites to the west and the Murmillions to the north. The footholds on the continent are entrenched, the fleet increased in size.
  

363 Founding of the Kingdom of Aca-Santerra
With the death of the last Seaking in the war against Korweyn the prince of Zigorath, Amir of Tersal, and the princess of Delvynnar, Oranna of Vannary, marry and unite the three kingdoms and various others under their reign.
  

422 Founding of the Aca-Santerran Duchy of Altyr
Aca-Santerra makes peace with Korweyn which is forced to accept the Jerrah as the borderline between Atyra and the Empire.
  

600 Santerran Expansion along the Jerrah
The Aca-Santerran duchies of Katarrah and Artakar are founded. Another war against Korweyn end in the gain of the Green Fields.
  

715 Moving of the Aca-Santerran Capital to Altyr
To emphasize the gain of the Green Fields the capital is moved to Altyr whose port develops to the biggest tradecenter in Southern Nybelmar. Many colonies are founded in the Wernam.
  

875 Korweyn overruns the Green Fields
In a terrible onlsaught the legions of Korweyn overrun the Green Fields winning a bridge over the Jerrah besieging Katarrah and Altyr. The port of Altyr is completely destroyed during this war because of the major fighting that takes place at the entrance of the port to cut off supplies for the cities.
  

876 Peace between Korweyn and Ac-Santerra in exchange for the Green Fields
Aca-Santerra pledges for peace in exchange for the Green Fields and an incredible amount of money. The Zerrevan dynasty of Korwein accepts and initiates the building of heavy defense structures at the Jerrah.
  

878 Construction of the Great Harbour of Altyr is started
The Aca-Santerran Great Harbour of Altyr is planned with many docks and warehouses and a great warport turning Altyr in the commercial hub of eastern Nybelmar.
  

962 Completion of the Aca-Santerran Port of Barkhas
The construction of the Port of Barkhas with massive military facilities and many docks and warehouses is completed. The navy of Aca-Santerra is said to have the biggest navy of all in Nybelmar undertaking major exploration in and beyond the Wernam.
  

1.002
to 1.072
Struggle for the Ferrath Islands
Anis-Anpagan, which has controlled these islands for centuries already, Aca-Santerra and Korweyn lead a row of campaigns in order to gain control over the Ferrath to control the trade with the Sarvonian continent.
  

1.087 The Ferrath Islands stay under the control of Anis-Anpagan
Despite all effort of Aca-Santerra and Korweyn, the Ferrath Islands of Nybelmar remain with Anis-Anpagan. even though various priviliges are given to Aca-Santerra and Korweyn. Various smaller colonies all over Wernam break down due to the massive exploitation of resources of the soil. They are abandoned leaving the native population with nothing left. Trade with Sarvonia is slow due to long travel times, the restrictive policy of the Santerrans and the dangerous sea. Usually expensive luxuary goods from both continents are exchanged.

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