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Decipher Ziron
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« on: 10 August 2009, 03:48:34 »

The Scepteres of Tarshiin



Overview

One of the most prosperous nations on the continent, the Scepteres of Tarshiin is situated on Nybelmar's Western Bay, sandwiched between the vast seas to the West and the rocky teeth of the Germon Doilth to the East.Tarshiinite historians debate as to the root of the name 'Scepteres' amongst Tarshiinite academics, though the most common theory is that it sprung from the Tiquaitan. As the 'Scepterera' was an ornate crown considered as a symbol of sovereignty due to its association with the Tiquaitan King, the phrase 'Scepteres of Tarshiin' was derived to express Tarshiinite dominion over these specific areas. However, others think that the phrase might actually have been a Tiquaitan joke. Since the word 'Sceptereri' referred to the gifts that were given to a newborn baby, some believe the phrase 'Scepteres of Tarshiin' patronises the Tarshiinites, suggesting that the Tiquaitan merely allowed the child-like Tarshiinites to do what they liked with the lands given to them.


Though Tarshiin's past is laden with deception and atrocity against their neighbours, the Tarshiinites are first and foremost an intellectual people, and this aspect has shaped their state immeasurably. Famously abstinent from archaic magic unlike the majority of its neighbours, the pragmatism and resourcefulness of its citizens have formed a political juggernaught, making underestimation of Tarshiin's potential very dangerous.

The Scepteres of Tarshiin are among the most powerful and affluent nations of North Western Nybelmar due to their well-established trade links in lucrative industries, Tarshiin notably being the greatest exporter of gold in the entire West. Coupled with their economic prosperity, the Tarshiinites have advanced from their humble beginnings as farmers into a cultured and sophisticated people, originally modelling their society somewhat on the now dead Kingdom of the Tiquaitan. It is through a well-established balance of rationality and passion that the Tarshiinites have achieved their seat of power within the North-Western Peninsula. Further, due to the multiplicity of their strength, the Tarshiinites make either an invaluable ally or formidable foe - the Tarshiinite's have little time for neutrality.


Location

The Scepteres is located in Nybelmar's Western Bay, north of the overground holdings of the Trumarim and south of the Kazai Morchin-I. It holds the most of the Western Coast of any of the nations, with perhaps the exception of the Inami wastes, though the general chaos of the region somewhat excludes them from holding the title of 'civilised nation'. As mentioned before, the relatively thin strip of land is sandwiched between the choppy Western seas and the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth.


Description

The Scepteres of Tarshiin are characterised by an odd combination of rustic serenity and buzzing activity, reflecting perfectly the Tarshiinite philosophy that things in motion are the essence of beauty. Specifically the nation can be divided into a number of distinct scenes:

The Agrarian Tear

Occupying the Southern Extent of Tarshiin, 'The Agrarian Tear' is the agricultural centre of Scepteres and is the grain basket for the rest of the nation, providing the staple rila flour, honey and one of Tarshiin's most famous and popular exports, silk. As the agricultural heart of the nation, the Tear itself is littered with wide open fields of proud golden, Rila, providing a startling contrast to the concentrated buildings of the cities to the North. However despite the tranquility and perpetual sunlight darting through the silhouettes of the grain fields, the air of busyness does not abstain from The Tear, the constant chattering of silk weavers at work, the soft crack of husks in the mills or the melodic buzzing of honey bees all showing that The Tear is as lively as any of the bustling metropoli.

The Black Coasts

The ironically named Black Coasts lie towards the south and central areas of Tarshiin, and consist of sparkling white beaches set against romantically aggressive rock pools and sea caves. Named 'black' due to the traditional Tarshiinite ink industry that revolves around the area, the Black Coasts epitomise the Tarshiinite infatuation with water, the ferociously choppy waves further exemplifying how movement and motion underpin a number of important philosophical teachings for its inhabitants. The bounty provided by the oceans to the coastal settlers embellish the Tarshiinite diet with a whole manner of delectable seafood that rivals even the Gondolwenmith, a cornucopia of colourful cuisine born out of the monochrome juxtaposition of white sands and dark waters.

The Lakes of Kimka

Generally considered the most beautiful region of Tarshiin, the undulating landscape of the Kimka composes itself in a weave of rivers and streams born at much greater altitudes in the peaks of Germon Doilth, creating an idyllic wetland where the violent waters pour into expansive basins, eroding against rock and soil, creating picturesque lakes that reach into as far as the eye can see. With steep, rapid currents in some areas set against calm, tranquil awe-inspiring meres, the waters of Kimka readily demonstrate the two facets of Tarshiin- the contemplative stillness of thought and the aggressive tenacity of activity.

As well as providing some of the most breathtaking vistas in the nation, the lakes of Kimka are vital to the prosperity of Tarshiin, being the centre of the gold-panning trade. With seemingly endless supplies of fragmented wealth flowing through the sediment of the rushing Kimka waters, the panning of gold in Tarshiin has embellished the nation with unbelievable prosperity, also leading Kimka to become the homes of the affluent Tarshiinites, their extravagant fancies leading Kimkatee, the region's capital, to become an artistic (if not hedonistic) paradise.

The Fragrant Hills

Previously belonging to the Tsohamin and still referred to as their 'spiritual home' by those who reside in the Municipen di Fa, the Fragrant Hills are a landscape somewhat reminiscent of the rolling hills in the Plains of the Faen, though inhabited by a whole manner of other flora and fauna. Rich in natural diversity, it is from the patchy woodland and tall grass that a whole number of natural ingredients can be garnered for the Tarshiinite alchemists, who form nature's fruits into a whole number of potions and powders. As their name would suggest, the Fragrant Hills are dominated by an assortment of aroma, though in ways one might not expect. Though there is no shortage of flowers, some of the most pungent scents come from flora such as the Sweetbark Tree, whose peeled skin can be used to make a popular Tsohamin sweet, or even more unusual sources, such as the Mint Dove, whose dried excrement produces a delightful, minty perfume (as long as you distance the product from where it came from).

The serenity of the Fragrant Hills is frequently disturbed by bloody clashes between the military and militant Tsohamin, usually banded together through the dissatisfaction that life on the 'Tsohamin Reservations' affords. As such there is strong juxtaposition between the expansive tranquility that the scenery presents and the ruthless metallic thump of the mobilised military.  

Coat of Arms

The official insignia of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as well as the symbol of the Tarshiinite Priesthood, is simply three vertical parallel lines spaced an equal distance from one another. Though there are no specific colours associated with the coat of arms, the shade is important: if the lines are darker than the background, the insignia is representative of the state, while if the lines are lighter than than the background, the insignia is representative of the priesthood.

While there is no preset heraldry, certain schemes can be associated with certain provinces, cities or even important buildings. The Grand Temple in Shintee, for instance, uses banners pure white lines set against a Goldspun silk background. As such, any delegation or convoy flying these colours within Tarshiin commands almost immediate respect, while in foreign lands they are usually received as an omen of impending war due to the Priesthood's aggressive reputation.


People and Culture

The population of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as one might guess from the name, is predominately made up of the Tarshiinite men. However, the lands that constitute the nation have historical ownership from two other tribes, the Tsohamin and the (now extinct) civilisation of the Ancient Tiquaitan. In modern times though, the Tarshiinites marginalise the Tsohamin to the extent that now the largest community of Tsohamin actually exists within the Municipen di Fa, where they are free from persecution.

Despite the Tarshiinite aggression displayed against the Tsohamin since the end of the Republican Wars, the shared roots of the Tarshiinites and Tsohamin are still reflected in mainstream Tarshiinite culture, perhaps most notably the architecture of their oldest cities, where architects abided by the spiritual doctrines of the Kunijen faith, which the Tsohamin still follow today.

The Tarshiinites

The Tarshiinites reflect an odd duality, guided both by unquestioning allegiance to their religion and a strong appreciation for rationality, logic and productivity. Standing tall for humans at over two peds for both genders and glowing from their lives bathed in Injera's light, the Tarshiinites have a proud, healthy appearance. Through their lives of religiously prescribed exercise most Tarshiinites hold a well-toned psyche, despite their horrendously indulgent diets and inclusion of alcohol into any and all occasions. (More information on Tarshiinite appearance as well as their obsessive attitude towards hygiene can be found in the appropriate entry).

One of the central Tarshiinite principles is that of productivity, which paves the way for a huge number of pursuits and occupations. As the ruling tribe in one of the most prosperous and powerful nations in Western Nybelmar, Tarshiinites tend to have an innate desire for expansion and conquest. As such they have a thriving military that attracts all classes of society to its ranks. Possessed by quests for knowledge and understanding Tarshiinite churns out some of the greatest scholars in all of Nybelmar, with alchemists and engineers possessing knowledge and skills which can hardly be matched by Tarshiin's Kaerethi neighbours.

Given these qualities, it is odd that, unlike most of their neighbours, the Tarshiinites do not pursue the magic and arcane. While they obviously do not lack the aptitude to understand sorcery, there are a number of compounding factors that result in a Tarshiinite abstinence from spell craft. Around the time the Tarshiinites began to turn from their simple roots in agriculture to the construction of their first cities (circa 4600 b.s.), the Tarshiinites had already witnessed the corrupting influence of magic in greater societies, including the Faen expulsion of the Morshani Earth Magi to the Northern Wastes in 4700 b.s. and the violence incited by the Sorcerers of the Akalara Sun Cult in 4623 b.s.. While there were exceptions to the rule, such as the high-standing of Fire Magi in Orcal, these events engendered a critical attitude towards magic in the ancient times of the Western Bay. If these historical teachings were not enough to dissuade budding wizards, Tiquaitan philosopher Aroonate Masmalama in 3605 b.s. produced a hugely  influential writing that highlighted magic as the pursuit of reality in falseness. By the time the Priesthood rose to power these social rejections of magic had been integrated into the dogma, with Tarshiinite society viewing sorcery as a forbidden practice because of its interference with the natural course of the spirits (see Religion). As a result, by the time the second wave of magic surfaced in Kaereth (with the arrival of tribes like the Amorai) the Tarshiinites had already closed their minds on the matter - though over time their resistance to sorcery did not prove an obstacle between Tarshiin and their magically-inclined allies.

In addition to their pursuit of pragmatism the Tarshiinites have developed a spirit of adventure, where people strive to emulate the exploits of great treasure hunters such as the fictional 'Otapii'. Perhaps the epitome of the Tarshiinite, adventurous spirit is that of the Tugaru Divers. Investing enormous sums of money in apparatus that allow them to breathe underwater for variable periods of time and regularly ingesting a whole manner of alchemical concoctions to overheat themselves to offset the freezing temperatures of ocean waters, the Tugaru Divers seem to represent a culmination of scientific knowledge and intrepid bravery and as such represent the true multiplicity Tarshiinite nature. Employed in either academic exploration of the Western Bays expansive coral reefs or diving for pearls, the Tugaru Divers are most definitely Tarshiinite-incarnate.

The Tsohamin

The Tsohamin would seem to be the stockier, rougher counterpart of the Tarshiinites. Characterised by their fiery red hair, which is grown into an almost bestial mane by men and is kept at shoulder length for women, the Tsohamin are a hardy, muscular people. Somewhat shorter than the Tarshiinites with a richer, dark brown skin coloration set against the warm Tarshiinite tan, the Tsohamin express a strength and resilience in their gait and demeanour.

First and foremost the Tsohamin are workers. In the thousands of years since their arrival in the Western Bay they have continued to rear semi-domesticated boars and goats and many stay true to these unfaltering traditional occupations. The Tsohamin are dominated by their absolute veneration of Kunijen and, without it, it is not inaccurate to say there would be little purpose to the lives of simple livestock keepers. Famous for their worship practices, where it is believed chiefly that imitating a spirit shows it deep respect, the Tsohamin are able to enter a number of roles under the guise of its patron spirit (or 'Kuni'). The most renowned of all the spiritual venerations is that of the Reikuni or 'Rage Spirits,' whereby Tsohamin adopt the roles of chaotic, destructive spirits, honing their combat abilities with meticulous practice to show respect (and to appease) the Reikuni themselves.

It is through their religious training in weaponry that the most successful of the Tsohamin pursuits came into existence: that of the Tsohamin Mercenary. It is thought that at least two thirds of all Tsohamin (both men and women) are professional mercenaries, chiefly in the employment of the Faen which, since the reformation of the 'Old Nation,' have had no organised army of their own. Deadly warriors, famous for a seeming invulnerability during the heat of battle, the reputation of their devastating onslaughts using barbaric hand scythes leaving the Tsohamin renowned as one of the most formidable foes on the continent. It is actually quite ironic that the Tsohamin consider themselves to be pacifistic and that they only engage in such mortal combat as the crux of religious duty.

State Organization

The governing of Tarshiin is separated into three very distinct authorities that co-exist with one another: the Jartanic government, the military and the priesthood.


The Jartanic Government


 Firstly, the Jartanic Government, which represents the bureaucratic and political arm of the state, is (theoretically) the most powerful arm of the nation. The government itself can be divided into a number of echelons: the free assembly, the open house, the Senate and the Jartan.

  • The Free Assembly

Essentially the most democratic of the echelons, 'The Free Assembly' is open to all citizens of Tarshiin and has one date every month reserved in Goshuntee's Tarajuni Hall (which is also used on a full-time basis by the Open House). One the specified date every month debates are held and directed by the 'Speaker' of the Open House, who then compiles the concerns of the public to be addressed at the next session in the Open House. The debates within the assembly are known for their rowdiness, however, especially concerning controversial issues. As such many disagree that the assembly actually provides anything useful and critics suggest it is a superfluous link to 'normal' people to make the state seem more credible.

  • The Open House

Where most politicians will find themselves, 'The Open House' is the main occupying body of the Tarajuni Hall and is open to anyone who has an academic qualification in politics (usually attained from universities in the Northern City of Jirai). Meeting around ten times every month (at the discretion of the speaker) the Open House is, as the name suggests, open to any topic. As they are discussed by professional academics, the conclusions and solutions deduced by the Open House are greatly respected by the higher branches of the government.

While the Open House has a tendency to build upon the issues brought up in the Free Assembly in conjunction with other recent changes in Tarshiin since the last meeting (which can, in some cases, be only a day ago), it is commonplace for the Senate to refer issues to the Open House before they discuss them completely. These referrals usually concern legislative changes and have resulted in the creation of the 'Open House Veto' to give the Open House more actual clout. Though rarely used and only ever successful in a handful of cases, the Speaker of the Open House can attempt to veto a decision made by the senate, though only if they can gain a majority of at least nine tenths.

  • The Senate

Comprised of twelve senators, the High Commander, a Grand Priest from the Priesthood and seated by the Jartan, the senate is generally considered the most powerful facet of the government. As a single body they possess a whole number of important powers. If they can gain a majority of nine or more then they are able to veto legislation, expenditure changes and resolutions proposed by the Jartan.

Additionally, the twelve 'normal' senators are elected by a civllian vote, parallel to elections for Provincial Governors. The usual term length for both senator and governor is five years and as such, when the officials enter their fourth year of office they begin their re-election campaigns (though a rival's campaign may have been ongoing for the whole term). Three months before the completion of a five year term, elections are conducted in each of the twelve provinces, with each ethnically-Tarshiinite adult (anyone over the age of 16) having a vote for both governor and senator.

  • The Jartan

The Jartan, theoretically, has the most power in all the state. Unless opposed by a suitable majority in the senate, the Jartan does have great control over how the state affairs are ordered. The Jartan, does not, however, pull all the strings, lacking for instance the ability to declare war without the agreement of the Senate or the joint blessing of both the Military and Grand Temple.

The seat of the Jartan is decided by a vote between the twelve elected senators, nominating one of their peers. Since all the senators are elected by the civilian public, it is thought that by proxy the entire nation has a say in who is declared Jartan. Due to the perceived omnipotence of the role, an important issue in elections for senatorhood is to whom the candidate intends to give their vote for Jartan to, as this is the only real influence the normal citizens have in this massively important decision.
  
The Military

Parallel to the more mundane political system, the military, for the most part, is considered independent from the government. When, thousands of years ago, the military capacity of Tarshiin grew the influence of the military within the Scepteres was enormous. Being of equal if not greater influence to the Jartanic Government, a series of unsuccessful but frightening coups had given the generals and admirals a stranglehold over the Jartan until the emergence of the Priesthood amidst the Black Throat Fever epidemic (See 'Priesthood' below).

In times since the Priesthood's ascension the bulk of the Military has been absorbed into the 'Armies of Faith' under the Grand Temple's direct control, taming the once unruly beast. The independent army and navy have been significantly downsized to around a third of the Priesthood's. While there were initial power struggles with bloody consequences, the physical ability of the Priesthood to put down any dissidence and their mental ability to manipulate the figureheads of the military through the Vassal System has long since kept the aggressive power of Tarshiin within the Grand Temple's hands.


However, the remnants of the military's dominating past still exist. By far and large, soldiers and sailors live very different lives to normal citizens due to the changed bureaucracy affecting them, demonstrated perhaps most dramatically by the introduction of a completely separate legal system affecting members of the military. Due to the number of fundamental differences there is a whole other system in place designed to deal with the iron fist of Tarshiin.

  • The Courts of the Sword and Sea

While not directly related to the politics of the military 'caste' in Tarshiin, The Court of the Sword and The Court of the Sea (dealing with land-based soldiers and naval sailors respectively) are of huge importance to the lives of military personnel. With various branches throughout the Scepteres, whenever the civilian security services apprehend an accused criminal they must be sent for a trial at the nearest military court. With every Tarshiinite who has completed the standard training, exchanging their status as 'civilian' to 'armsman,' these establishments are often very busy, with soldiers and sailors having a reputation for bending the law more so than others.

Generally run by senior (and thus older) members of the respective armed forces who are now unfit for service and have the necessary legal education, the 'Swordjudges' and 'Seajudges' have sole authority over how to deal with a criminal armsman. Since trials are conducted in private courts without a jury, on many occasions with only the guard who detained the armsman and the accused himself, the sentence given to lawbreakers revolves around entirely on how the judge feels about the situation. While a whole number of crimes carry much harsher possible sentences under military law, such as assault which can be punished by exile, many offences treat the armsmen in a favourable light; theft, vandalism, hostage-taking and poaching, amongst others, warranting incredibly minor fines.  

  • The Armed Coffer

The only division of armsman politics that isn't run entirely by those who have served in combat, 'The Armed Coffer' orchestrates both the payment and taxation of serving armsman. Taxes applied to armsmen are notoriously lower than those applied to the rest of Tarshiin by the Jartanic Government, making them exempt from times of economic hardship throughout the nation.

  • The Armed Councils

With the navy and army maintaining their own committees, the Council of the Sea (made up of the Admirals and seated by the High Admiral), and the Council of the Sword (made up of the Generals and seated by the High General) are the second most powerful bodies in deciding how the affairs of the military are orchestrated, often making important liaisons with the Jartanic government in times of war. The Armed Councils also play an important part in the training and stationing of the military across Tarshiin, or rather they give a general outline to their legion of underlings.

  • The Triad of the Legion

This committee consists of the High General, High Admiral and lead by the High Commander (who is chosen by a joint decision between the current Jartan and the other two committee members). The Triad of the Legion only meet in times of great need, almost exclusively during war, where they can declare 'Martial Autonomy' and use their forces how they see fit without the government's approval. The powers of the Triad, however, only materialise when an official declaration of war has been made by the government, since a variety of unsuccessful but devastating coups littered the Tarshiinite past before the military became centralised.

The Tarshiinite Priesthood  

During the build up to the First Gondol-Tarshiin War, the Gondolwenmith Amor Sedia Martia famously stated 'The Scepteres of Tarshiin are a nation that dresses in the clothes of an academic, dynamic democracy, where only a few scratches on the surface will reveal a mindless, dogmatic, de facto theocracy, with the Grand Consulate of Psuedo-Holy Men presiding over every minute nugget of activity throughout the lands'.

Now while it we must respect the right of the enemy to exaggerate their foes shortcomings on the political stage, the aforementioned quote is not entirely inaccurate. Since long before the Republican Wars, when the Kingdom of the Tiquaitan still reigned as the dominant power of the Western Bay, the Priesthood has had an amazing level of control within the political and martial framework of Tarshiin.

The Priesthood revealed themselves
as bearers of vitality during the devastating Black Throat Fever epidemic, which was crippling the then atheist nation in all of its echelons. The desperate state of affairs in which the Priesthood arrived allowed them free-reign in dictating their will in reforming the broken country. Though there is little documentation and historians in this area often generate a number of conflicting ideas, it is possible that the fever's cure which the Priesthood had managed to acquire was only to be administered to Tarshiin in exchange for a number pivotal powers within the Scepteres.


  • The Army of Faith/ Fleet of Faith

The Priesthood maintains its own armies and fleets in complete separation from the government. The forces themselves are approximately a three times the size of the actual state's armed forces, and are much better equipped and paid, having the additional benefit of being held to account under The Holy Law. Though in all major conflicts the two armies have co-operated, the selfish aims of the Priesthood are often orchestrated through their armed branch, the sacking of Tsu, for instance, is attributed to Priesthood.

Furthermore, since the absolute authority on the Priesthood's armies and fleets is the Grand Consulate, generally consisting of five very war-hungry Grand Priests, a handful of conflicts between Tarshiin and other nations (particularly the Kazai)  are thought to have been initial strikes by the Priesthood, reported as unprovoked foreign aggression. These false claims then prompt a decision in the senate to wage full-scale war.

  • The Courts of Faith

Similarly to the independent legal system governing soldiers and naval sailors, the Priesthood and all its associated branches (such as the armsmen serving in the Priesthood's military) have their own law and court to deal with their misdemeanors. Unlike the scattered branches that constitute the Court of the Sea and Court of the Sword, there is only one building which can adjudicate criminal accusations against members of the Priesthood- The Court of Faith in Shintee, a city which acts as the hub of all the Priesthood's activity. The Court of Faith itself is seated by one of the Grand Priests, and similarly to the absolute power held by the Sword/Seajudges, the final decision for prosection is based solely on their decision.

The Court of Faith itself is notorious for its soft sentences against members of the priesthood, with murderers, thieves and smugglers receiving nothing more than an inconvenient fine, or in cases of remorseless offenders 'severance', a process which exiles the criminal from the Priesthood by using aceeds to remove their distinguishing forehead tattoos and in a majority of cases, exile from the realm of Tarshiin as a whole. Jail sentences or executions are practically unheard of, unless the victim of the crime is also a member of the Priesthood.  

Many criminals that are governed by the 'Holy Law' are often never taken to trial. Since the chances of receiving a substantial punishment are practically non-existent, the accused would need to be taken to the City and the fact that the Court of Faith actually charges a fee on every case it judges, it seems like far less of a hassle to simply allow the holy man to slide through the net, making the Priesthood, in many instances, above the law.

  • Vassals

Probably their most powerful method of controlling Tarshiin, the Priesthood maintains vast numbers of 'vassals'- personal spiritual advisors who have the convenient ability as priests to define morality. As a result, by supplying individuals of power with incredibly influential vassals, whose ability to define morality to a fiercely religious people is by no means always observed with the purest intentions, the Priesthood is able to insidiously lead people of power to make decisions that favour the Priesthood's own ambitions.

The network of vassals is remarkably extensive, with most important military officers, wealthy merchants, mayors, provincial governors, senators, diplomats and judges having their own personal vassal assigned to them to ensure their 'moral health'. One of the Consulate's Grand Priests also acts as the Holy Vizier to the Jartan, allowing the Priesthood to exert incredible control over the nation should the Jartan be especially weak-willed or impressionable.

  • The Grand Temple

Situated in Shintee along most other important protrusions of holy bureaucracy, the Grand Temple is both an organisation and a building. Within the Grand Temple, besides the gigantic sermon halls and serene meditation gardens, it also serves as the staging ground where cohorts of high-ranking priests organise the internal affairs of the Priesthood. While the duties performed by the priests within the Grand Temple vary from maintaining the grounds to archiving delivered sermons, the main business of the Temple circulates around the expenditure of the Priesthood's gargantuan budget. Since approximately a third of all money earned by a Tarshiinite in their lifetime is donated to the Priesthood, as well as the Grand Temple taking a significant cut of the Senate's taxation coffers, the Grand Temple is by far the wealthiest institution on the Western Bay. As great investors in Kimkanite land, a region of lakes littered with gold-laden waters, the Grand Temple continues to expand its wealth. In addition, with most of its enterprises remaining self-sufficient, the Priesthood itself is afforded a luxurious and powerful existence.

  • Grand Consulate

The upper tier of the Priesthood and the absolute authority on all of its members is the Grand Consulate, a council of the five Grand Priests. While their concrete powers within Tarshiin are mostly undefined, their influence matches and may even exceed that of the Jartan. Between them they must fulfill a number of duties, which including delivering three daily sermons to pilgrims amassing at the Grand Temple, seating the Court of Faith, occupying their seat in the Senate or acting as the Jartan's Holy Vizier (the latter two requiring them to live in the capital Goshuntee). However, these duties are not particularly demanding and as such much of the time the Grand Consulate concerns itself with using the Grand Temple's vast wealth to pursue their own aims and ambitions. It is known, for instance, during the Republican Wars the Grand Consulate were particularly devious, beginning to orchestrate a mass repossession of profitable Tiquaitan land around ten years before the Kingdom fell.

The Grand Consulate itself is a very exclusive group. Once you have been promoted into its ranks you remain there until death, at which point a promising candidate is usually selected from the current High Vassals. In order to enter the consulate, however, all current Grand Priests and the Jartan must agree that the candidate is suitable for the job. If there is a unanimous majority of the Grand Priests that disagrees with the Jartan, the decision is made nonetheless and the Jartan's vote is discarded. As a result, it is often seen that the Jartan's vote in the process simply shows his blessing rather possessing any actual clout in the decision making.


Climate

The citizens of Tarshiin enjoy a very favourable climate. Flanked by the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth, the Scepteres is sheltered from the ravaging winds of the Municipen but still manages to inherit the crop-quenching rainfall that blesses the agricultural heart of the Kazai Morchin-i throughout the colder seasons.

The settlements of Tarshiin, particularly along the coast, experience pleasing amounts of sunshine from the arrival of spring to the fall of autumn, creating a warm but precipitous middle of the year, creating a number of romantic vistas along airy Tarshiinite streets punctuated with bursts of skin-warming showers

However, at any time in the year there is great variation in the temperatures. While the injera bathed sands of the Tarshiinite beaches can reach somewhere between 2.5 and 3 periks at the peak of summer, the northeastern foothills of the Doilth can drop to even less than half a perik, as the warmth of the Western Sea currents dissipates into the easterly lowlands. At the upmost limit of the foothills, at such high altitudes where one becomes dangerously close to the Germon Doilth themselves, it can become bitterly cold. In the past it has been so cold that in the depths of winter one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena graces the brink: a dusting of snow, which most Tarshiinites or Tsohamin will only see once or twice in their lives.


Economy

The Scepteres of Tarshiin is rich in both resources and industrious inhabitants, and is perhaps a prime example of how nature's bounty can be cultivated and harvested without scarring the land irreparably (as, for instance, could be seen in the mass deforestation of Zhun). Distanced from their origins as small-scale crop-growers, the Tarshiinite economy classically centred around four main trades: ink, silk, sea-salt and honey. However, after the dust settled at the end of the Tiquaitan Republican Wars, the Tarshiinites inherited the crown jewel of their fallen foe, the Lakes of Kimka. Through their expansion upon the existing infrastructure established by the Ancient Tiquaitan, the Tarshiinites quickly became the principle exporters of gold throughout Nybelmar. As the monopolies of Tarshiin grew in size, flushing wealth into all of the Scepteres' provinces, the economy of the state became more and more prosperous.

There is an odd balance between entrepreneurship and state control in the economy of Tarshiin. While anyone with sufficient investments can capitalise on the bounty of Tarshiin for their own financial designs the main impediment to expanding business in the nation is land ownership. Though no different under the law from a commercial landowner, huge regions in Tarshiin belong either directly to the provincial governor or one of the consortia affiliated with the Grand Temple. As such, while there is no such thing as a completely worthless piece of land within the Scepteres, laying your hands upon can pose the greatest challenge.

Resources

The territories making up Tarshiin are rich in resources:

  • The Coasts

As the traditional domain of the Tarshiinites, the coasts of the Scepteres are the heart of the nation's oldest industries. Aside from the huge numbers of delicious seafood, rivaling that of Gondolwain, the Tarshiinite sea offers huge numbers of harvestable sea-salt on the picturesque coasts. Possibly the oldest of the Tarshiinite occupations, the salt trade has been steady one for thousands of years, with the landlocked realms to the south and the east demanding it for a whole number of pragmatic uses.

The Tarshiinite waves also yield the Filachara or 'Ink Dumplings,' a creature as odd as it is useful. Possessing the unfathomable ability to reconstruct itself after grievous wounds, Filachara have long since been farmed for their plentiful ink sacs. With the consideration that these unique sources of ink are perhaps the epitome of renewability, the ink industry in Tarshiin has always been one capable of catering to the economic climate.  

  • The Agrarian Tear


Besides providing Tarshiin with cattle and all the associated products, the Agrarian Tear is the oldest territory belonging to the Tarshiinites and has changed little through the ages. The Tear has the most suitable climate for agriculture, and yields huge amounts of grain, crops and meat to feed the nation.

The Tear is, notably, also the home to two very small yet very important creatures: the silkworm and the malise.  Both of these creatures have been the target of Tarshiinite pragmatism and, as such, have developed into unbelievably effective trades for the nation.

  • The Lakes of Kimka

While the old Zhunite phrase 'and even the waters run with gold' has never been experienced by those in Southern Nybelmar, the sheer volume of gold which flows through Kimka's rivers is inconceivable. The waters are so rich in the precious metal that the gold  industry has easily remained the most profitable in Tarshiin since shortly after the Republican Wars. The scarring to the land has also been impressively minimal, with the Tarshiinites using more effective Sluice Mining techniques, where the Tiquaitan before them tried constantly in vain to drain entire rivers. The value of Kimkanite lakes is in fact so enormous that the principal river 'Narsira' (a Tiquaitan homage to the innovative King Narsira the Green) generates more revenue than the provinces of Farshun and Tikwa combined.

  • The Fragrant Hills

Typically seen in the shadow of the industrial regions of Tarshiin, the
Fragrant Hills are far from absent in produce. Littered with a number of sturdy forests, Tarshiinite lumber is known for its durability all across the continent. Due to its beautiful ashen hue and extreme strength, itis a prized construction material, a particular favourite of the Ancient Tiquaitan who built most of their three cities from it.

  • The Germon Doilth

Easily the most treacherous of all territories in Tarshiin, the mountain ranges of the Germon Doilth are home to some of the richest mineral deposits in the Kaereth. While miners have harvested silver from its depths since the reign of the Tiquaitan, the ranges themselves are rich in tin, as well as possessing significantly smaller deposits of copper, though mostly in Morchini-owned regions.

Production

When contrasted against the number of resources within Tarshiin, the number of finished products created by the Tarshiinites is relatively low. Tarshiinite silk, particularly the Goldspun Silk of the Goldworm, is a highly prized fabric both within and outside of the Scepteres, developing a specific rivalry with Gondolsilk. Finished inks, which come in a variety of colours, are another principle export of Tarshiin.

Not much is done with the collected gold by the Tarshiinites beyond smelting. Most Tarshiinite gold merchants make their trade in the easily stored gold bars- allowing other creative types to do with it what they like. There is, however, a very niche market for coloured gold in the continent, and as such there are dedicated craftsmen in Kimka concerned solely for its production. An even smaller market within the province is that of damascening: once a popular art form, it has declined in popularity in the last two centuries.

Tarshiinite alchemy is also one of the most advanced in all of Caelereth. While much of the nation's formula and products are kept secret, a few examples of Tarshiinite ingenuity reach other nations: consisting mainly of pastes for cleaning teeth.

If the Tarshiinites are proud of anything, however, it is their skills in invention. Possessing some of the most skilled and precise engineers on the continent, Tarshiinites are famed for their production of everything from incredibly accurate thermometers to running hot water to tindersticks, a wondrous invention that ignites a small piece of wood with the smallest amount of effort.

The height of Tarshiinite engineering, however, is their weaponry. While the well-disciplined infantrymen of the Tarshiinite army form a ruthlessly effective fighting force in themselves, the Tarshiinite military is famed for the wide array of devastating siege engines they employ. Their naval masterpiece, the Dreadhammer Warship, is so effective in battle that only two were sunk in the ten year Gondol-Tarshiin conflict. However, offensive technology is not always for sale, though military engineers from Tarshiin have historically been in high demand from nations such as Orcal during times of war.

Trade


The Tarshiinites are one of the principle partners of the Faen Merchants, both exporting and importing from the various trading houses that their neighbours operate. The primary exports of Tarshiin are bulk quantities of silk, gold, ink and sea salt. Though most trade is conducted directly with the Faen (who use their wide web to find costumers for the goods) it is possible to trace where the products end up. While gold tends to carry weight in a number of luxury-loving nations throughout the continent, coloured golds (particularly Rose and Turquoise gold) are a particular fancy of the Aesterans of the Northern Bay. Silk and ink are particularly popular with the Zhunite Citystates of the South, with salt and honey being purchased in high quantities by Tarshiin's longstanding ally the Amorai. In addition to their penchant for the rather domestic products of Tarshiin's economy, the Amorai are also the only other nation with whom the true bounty of Tarshiinite alchemy and technology is shared, with a small proportion of the Amorai armies being equipped with hand-held incendiaries and the (admittedly small) Amorai navies being stocked with Warships that are remarkably similar to Tarshiinite designs, though enquiring whether the Amorai bought a navy from their ally rarely receives a simple answer.

Furthermore, independent of the coventional Faen trade web, Tarshiin also holds a number of trading contracts directly with the Trumarim, where the Dwarven Rock Oil (essential for Tarshiinite heating systems) is traded for exceptionally large amounts of gold.

Imports are an integral part of Tarshiin, with large parts of their culture being dependent on goods unavailable in the Scepteres. The first love of any Tarshiinite is alcohol, and it is probably a solid claim that the Tarshiinites drink more Jinn than the Morchini who make it; morning, noon and night. The more sophisticated types within Tarshiin, however, have developed tastes for more exotic drinks. As such, both Zhunite Grape and Rice Wine are particularly popular imports. In addition, Tarshiin is one of the few markets in Nybelmar where foreign liquor is actually available (mainly through Gondolwenmith intercontinental trade), and as such Vhodka, Wisk-Away and R'unorian Brandy can be found if you know the right places to look.

As well as satisfying their expensive tastes for alcohol, Tarshiinite cooking also involves larges amounts of frying and as such they are a huge importer of Zhunite olive oil.


Military

Tarshiin represents one of the major military powers in North-Western Nybelmar. The Tarshiinite military is a noted institution both within and outside the Scepteres. The most common way of attaining affluence and social standing in the nation involves distinguishing oneself in combat. Distinction, however, is difficult with the extreme skill and discipline of the military, with each serving armsmen receiving excellent education in both the practicalities and tactics of combat.

  • The Army

The Tarshiinite army is one of incredible organisation, with the main bulk of the institution made up of infantrymen armed with swords and shields large enough to conceal most of their height. The army is famed for its complex maneuvers, most famously the 'Turtle Shell', wherein a unit's shields are arranged into one seamless piece that protects them all.

Despite their effectiveness, the average Tarshiinite infantrymen is taught only three sword strikes, one of which only applies to unarmed targets. However, their limited repertoire is compensated by their extreme precision. The usual intent is to mortally wound an enemy, rather than to hack away at them zealously. Tarshiinite swordsmen are also notorious slow in their advances, keeping their impenetrable formations by maintaining only a light pace. As such most of Tarshiinite close-combat is counter-active, the Swordsmen relying on the enemy to both advance and provide an opening where a single thrust will be fatal.

The most devastating arm of the Tarshiinite army, however, is its missile forces. Completely bereft of bows, the Tarshiinites have long since armed themselves with spring-loaded Spearlaunchers, an ingeniously designed and relatively lightweight contraption that can fire wooden spears over incredible distances. Spearshooters (the operators of Spearlaunchers) themselves are given a more comprehensive education in ranged warfare; they are trained to disrupt heavily armoured units, inflict huge casualties on lightly armed troops or to pave a clear path for the central moving body of swordsmen. Exceptionally skilled Spearshooters known as 'Sharpshooters' are deployed to eliminate particularly dangerous or important individuals from long-distances, armed with specifically enhanced Spearlaunchers that measure around twice as long, though are unimaginably accurate in capable hands.


The crowning jewel of the Tarshiinite army are the Rhino-Mounted Captains, 'The Horn of Tarshiin,’ a group of warriors as ornate as they are dangerous. Selected only from the cream of the Tarshiinite forces, the Rhino riders are always at the front of battle, relying on both their eremonial halberds and enormous steeds to devastate the enemy. As The Horn of Tarshiin itself is made up almost entirely of distinguished Captains, Lieutenants and Generals, and as such it is the ultimate aim of every foot soldier to one day earn the privilege of riding atop the White Rhinoceros, an opportunity reserved only for the most adept members of The Horn. However, while the Horn of Tarshiin as an institution is well-acknowledged it does not constitute an actual battalion in itself and as such the highly skilled warriors are assigned to lead or (in the case of incredibly prestigious forces) integrate as a part of one of the existing battalions. The prestige associated to the Rhino Captains, however, is enormous within Tarshiinite society, with almost every High General having at one point served within The Horn of Tarshiin.



  • The Navy

Tarshiin is a disproportionately important naval power with regard to the size of its fleet, which is somewhat smaller than that of Anis-Anpagan. The key to Tarshiinite naval success, as with success in all of Tarshiinite pursuits, relies on astuteness. Despite being few in number, the warships of Tarshiin are maritime juggernauts, being spectacular examples of offensive engineering, making use of much of the siege weaponry used by the army (see above). So devastating is the Tarshiinite Navy that after its first mobilisation against Tiquaitan in 1688 b.s. that by 1686 b.s. the entire Tiquaitan fleet had been destroyed or captured. This is particularly impressive since the Tiquaitan were by no means a weak nation. The coalition forces of the Tsohamin and Tarshiinites required another 38 years to vanquish their magically-augmented armies.

Tarshiinite intelligence is not only applied to weaponry, but also propulsion. Due to the combined efforts of conventional sails and huge numbers of manual rowers, the Tarshiinite storms. The number of rowers is in fact so large within the Tarshiinite navy that the records w around two thousand 'Rowmen' (an unskilled rank in the Navy) serving in both the Tiquaitan Republican Wars and the First Kazai-Tarshiin War, and these rowmen never actually left the lower decks of their ships.

The Tarshiinite navy holds a whole number of ship designs, though the most common is the Hammerhead. Lightly-armed for a Tarshiinite warship with only two ballistae and three Spearlauncher armaments, the principle weapon of the Hammerhead is its heavy iron 'nose.’ Streamlined for acceleration, the Hammerhead’s primary objective is to crash into enemy craft, often with such speed that the opponent is torn in two with the whole Hammerhead passing straight through.

At the opposite end of the scale, the rarest and most powerful of the Tarshiinite warships is the Dreadhammer, a floating beast which is plated in metal and has a top deck of just under half a stral in length, armed to the teeth with all imaginable war machines Tarshiin has to offer. So great is the power of these seafaring monsters that in all history only two have been sunk and one captured (all by the Gondolwenmith). Additionally, despite their enormous power, there have never been more than eight in service at anyone time, usually acting as the spearhead of large fleets or as a single opponent for smaller flotillas.

As is quintessential of Tarshiinite nature, the navy is laden with specialist roles, perhaps most famously the Naval Tugarus. Unlike the civilian Tugaru divers, who search the ocean commercially for coral and pearls or academically in employment of the Enkyklopadië Nybelmarnica, Naval Tugarus are employed as expert saboteurs. These specialists swim underwater to penetrate the bottom of a ship's hull, then release into the ship’s bowels a incendiary device known as 'Wetflame,’ which ignites more ferociously when wet.



Religion

  • Context

While each respective tribe of the Scepteres has its own religion, the Tarshiinite attitude of domination towards the Tsohamin is not any different with regard to faith. As a result, the Kunijen (Appeasing the Spirits) faith of the Tsohamin has a very low prevalence Religious iconography and shamanic rituals are more prominent in Municipen di Fa, where the largest population of Tsohamin live and where they are much freer to worship whatever they like.

While religion is an enormously important aspect of Tarshiinite life, it was not always so cemented. In fact in simpler times, many ages ago, both Tsohamin and Tarshiinite alike revered the spirits of the Kunijen Pantheon. Even in modern Tarshiin the influences of their previous religion are evident: Tarshiinite roofs have the curved pagoda design people once believed attracted Karkuni (Fire Spirits, ones associated with good fortune), and Tarshiinites still continue the practice of hanging wind chimes on the edges of windows, residual practices from the belief that the twinkling sound kept Suukuni (Water Spirits, associated with harm) away.

However, from the time the Tarshiinites began to idolise their enormously advanced Northern neighbour, the Tiquaitan, they distance themselves from their humble origins with the Tsohamin, and more or less abandoned Kunijen. Imitating the atheism of the Tiquaitan, Tarshiinites began to invest more and more of their time in advancing their civilization.

However, considering the impact of the Priesthood's arrival (See the appropriate 'State Organisation' section) the Tarshiin had little trouble in accepting the dogma that had cured the largest crisis they had ever known, the Blackthroat Fever Epidemic.


  • Beliefs

The fundamental assumption of the Tarshiinite faith is that the world is made up of a variety of spiritual essences: The Natural Spirit, The Moral Spirit and the Mental Spirit.

The Natural Spirit emanates from almost everything, and its concentration causes animated life. Ultimately it is believed that all living things are made living by their by their 'Natural Spirits.’ People are made up of this spirit (partially) and it is the only essence shared between humanity and the rest of animal life (as well as trees, rocks etc.). A person's internal natural spirit ultimately keeps them in constant commune with nature as a whole. Pure health cannot be attained if the world's nature is rejected.

The Moral Spirit is specific only to people. Moral spirits are nurtured by positive ethical decisions and choices (though one should note ethics are defined by the Priesthood). The 'centre' of the moral spirit is supposed to be the heart of a person. Among other things generosity, strong family bonds and love help to nourish this spirit.

The Mental Spirit (a.k.a. Spirit of the Mind) is also human specific. This essence provides intelligence, rationality and logic if nourished properly. Qoans (generally unfathomable statements) are given by the priests directly or read from Qoan compilations to improve this essences potency. Education and intelligent thought are essential to ensuring the health of this spirit, which is why a lot is invested in Tarshiinite education.

(more information on the details of the Tarshiinite faith can be found in the 'Tarshiinite Men' entry under the relevant section)


  • Impact within Tarshiin

The power of The Priesthood to define morality and essentially mold what Tarshiinite's consider to be a third of their being should not be underestimated. While for the most part the lower echelons of the Priesthood are of pure intention, with the priests of minor temples being reliable sources of guidance, there seems to be a long-standing trend that power corrupts. As such many high-ranking priests, from Vassals to influential Tarshiinites, are directly ordered by the Grand Temple to influence their decisions in favour of the Priesthood under the guise of 'morality.’

The ability of the Priesthood to essentially be the absolute authority on what is right and wrong permeates throughout the entire society. So dedicated are the Tarshiinites to honing their spirits that almost all of them wake before sunrise to perform their Shiigar exercises, allocate specific portions of their day for intellectual expansion and spend most of Shiinria ('Day of the Spirit'- The first day of the Tarshiinite week) deep in contemplative meditation.

Perhaps the epistome of religion's involvement in Tarshiinite affairs is their influence in economic activity. With the average Tarshiinite giving around a third of all they will ever earn to the Priesthood in good faith, in conjunction with state subsidies and well-managed business interests, the economic (and thus political) weight pulled by the Priesthood is immense. This, coupled with their substantial, independent military, levies enormous influence and autonomy onto the Priesthood, therefore allowing them to pursue their own aims with relative ease. Thus, while their influence in Tarshiinite affairs remains for the most part unofficial and indirect, it is remarkably potent



History (optional)

Postponed 'til substantial cooperation can occur between Coren, Mira and I


« Last Edit: 23 January 2010, 21:53:20 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 23 October 2009, 09:11:58 »

*wipes brow in exhaustion*

This one was the culmination of a huge pot of ideas and while the History section isn't included (since this needs significant synchronisation with Morchini, Amorai, Faen etc. timelines and I havent consulted the appropriate colleagues yet) the rest is ready for your persual.

So anyone who is looking for a time-consuming challenge, I set this!

Thanks in Advance,

Deci  grin
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« Reply #2 on: 25 October 2009, 22:12:40 »

70+ Views, and nothing has been said...I feel like I'm just talking to myself  grin
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« Reply #3 on: 26 October 2009, 14:53:58 »

Hi Deci!

Here's some comments for your ginormous entry. :)


I don't know much about Nybelmar, but I'll try and give some less specific comments based on more general opinions.


---

The Scepteres of Tarshiin



Names

While the references on official documentation are phrased as 'The Scepteres of Tarshiin' in common speech the state and the territories belonging to it are referred to as 'Tarshiin' or 'The Scepteres' independently, rather than as one verbose phrase.

Any chance you could describe here, or in the overview, what a Scepteres (Scepter?) is, briefly? I've never heard that phrase before. You also might want to consider incorporating the names section into the Overview, since that not only needs expanding, but the Overview usually goes first anyway and I don't believe any of the other kingdom entries on site have an explicit Names section.


Overview

One of the most prosperous nations on the continent, the Scepteres of Tarshiin is situated on Nybelmar's Western Bay, sandwiched inbetween the vast seas to the West and the rocky teeth of the Germon Doilth to the East. Though their past is laden with deception and atrocity agaisnt their neighbours, the Tarshiinites are first and foremost an intellectual people, an aspect which has shaped their state immeasurably. Famously abstinent from archaic magic unlike the majority of its neighbours, the pragmatism and resourcefulness of its citizens have formed a political juggernaught, making underestimation of Tarshiin's potential a very dangerous game.

Considering the size of this entry, the Overview should probably be expanded significantly.


Location

The Scepteres is located in Nybelmar's Western Bay, north of the overground holdings of the Trumarim and south of the Kazai Morchin-I. It holds the most of the Western Coast of any of the nations, with perhaps the exception of the Inami wastes, though the general chaos of the region somewhat excludes them from holding the title of 'civilised nation'. As aforementioned, the relatively thin strip of land is sandwiched inbetween the choppy Western seas and the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth.


Description

The Scepteres of Tarshiin are characterised by a rustic serenity, their realms being shrouded in an air of activity and dynamism, reflecting perfectly the Tarshiinite philosophy that things in motion are the essence of beauty. Specifically the nation can be divided into a number of distinct scenes:

The Agrarian Tear

Occupying the Southern Extent of Tarshiin, 'The Agrarian Tear' is the agricultural centre of Scepteres and is grain basket of the rest of the nation, providing the staple Rila Flour, Honey and one of Tarshiin's most famous and popular exports, Silk. As the agricultural heart of the nation, the Tear itself is littered with wide open fields of proud golden  Rila that provide a startling contrast to the concentrated buildings of the cities to the North. However despite the tranquility and perpetual sunlight darting through the silhouettes of the grain fields, the air of busyness does not abstain from The Tear, the constant chattering of silk weavers at work, the soft crack of husks in the mills or the melodic buzzing of honey bees all showing that The Tear is as lively as any of the bustling metropoli.

The Black Coasts

The ironically named Black Coasts towards the south and central areas of Tarshiin consist of sparkling white beaches set against romantically aggressive rock pools and sea caves. Named 'black' due to the traditional Tarshiinite ink industry that revolves around the area, the Black Coasts epitomise the Tarshiinite infatuation with water, the ferociously choppy waves further exemplifying how movement and motion underpin a number of important philosophical teachings to its inhabitants. The bounty provided by the oceans to the coastal settlers embellish the Tarshiinite diet with a whole manner of delectable seafood that rivals even the Gondolwenmith, a cornucopia of delicious colour born out of the monochrome juxtaposition of white sands and dark waters.

The Lakes of Kimka

Generally considered the most beautiful region of Tarshiin, the undulating landscape of the Kimka composes itself in a weave of rivers and streams born at much greater altitudes in the peaks of Germon Doilth, pouring down into idyllic wetland into expansive basins, eroding against rock and soil, creating picturesque lakes that reach into as far as the eye can see. With steep, rapid currents in some areas set against calm, tranquil awe-inspiring meres, the waters of Kimka readily demonstrate the two facets of Tarshiin- the contemplative stillness of thought and the aggressive tenacity of proactivity.

As well as providing some of the most breathtaking vistas in the nation, the lakes of Kimka are vital to the prosperity of Tarshiin, being the centre of the gold-panning trade. With seemingly endless supplies of fragmented wealth flowing through the sediment of the rushing Kimka waters, the panning of gold in Tarshiin has embellished the nation with unbelievable prosperity, also leading Kimka to become the homes of the affluent Tarshiinites, their extravagent fancies also causing Kimkatee, the region's capital, to become an artistic (if not hedonistic) paradise.

The Fragrant Hills

Previously belonging to the Tsohamin and still referred to as their 'spiritual home' by those who reside in the Municipen di Fa, the Fragrant Hills are a landscape somewhat reminiscent of the rolling hills in the Plains of the Faen, though inhabited by a whole manner of other flora and fauna. Rich in natural diversity, it is from the patchy woodland and tall grass that a whole number of natural ingredients can be garnered for the Tarshiinite alchemists, forming nature's fruits into a whole number of potions and powders.

The serenity of the Fragrant Hills is frequently disturbed by bloody clashes between the military and militant Tsohamin, usually banded together through the dissatisfaction that life on the 'Tsohamin Reservations' affords. As such their is strong juxtaposition between the expansive tranquility that the scenery presents and the ruthless metallic thump of the mobilised military machine.  

Why are they named the Fragrant Hills? That seems to indicate some kind of particular smell from some kind of plants or tree (aside from the alchemy materials you already mention). Considering it's their 'spiritual home', perhaps whatever plant causes the smell is used in certain religious ceremonies?

Coat of Arms

The official insignia of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as well as the symbol of the Tarshiinite Priesthood, is simply three vertical parallel lines spaced an equal distance from one another. Though there are no specific colours associated with the coat of arms, though the shade is important, as if the lines are darker than the background, the insignia is representative of the state, while if the lines are lighter than than the background, the insignia is representative of the priesthood.

Even if there are no specific colours, surely there is a commonly used colour. Maybe certain regions use certain colours, and while there is no unifying colour scheme for the whole state, there are specific colours that might be associated with certain areas? If not, at least some colour combination will be the most common, and you should probably give mention of that.


People and Culture

The population of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as one might guess from the name, is predominately made up of the Tarshiinite men. However, the lands that constitute the nation have historical ownership from two other tribes, the Tsohamin and the (now extinct) civilisation of the Ancient Tiquaitan. In modern climes though, the Tsohamin are marginalised  to such an extent that now the largest community of Tsohamin actually exists within the Municipen di Fa, where they are free from persecution.

Despite the aggression displayed against the Tsohamin since the end of the Republican Wars, the shared roots of the Tarshiinites and Tsohamin do reflect still within mainstream Tarshiinite culture, perhaps most notably the architecture of their oldest cities, where architects abided by the spiritual doctrines of the Kunijen faith still followed by the Tsohamin today.

The Tarshiinites

The Tarshiinites present themselves as an odd duality, guided both by doubtless allegiance to their religion and a strong appreciation for rationality, logic and productivity. Standing tall for humans at over a ped and two fores for both genders and glowing from their lives bathed in Injera, the Tarshiinites hold a proud, healthy appearance. Through their lives of religiously prescribed exercise most Tarshiinites hold a well-toned psyche, despite their horrendously indulgent diets and integration of alcohol into any and all equations. (More information on Tarshiinite appearance as well as their obsessive attitude towards hygiene can be found in the appropriate entry).

One of the central Tarshiinite principles is that of productivity, which paves the way for a huge number of pursuits and occupations. As the ruling tribe in one of the most prosperous and powerful nations in Western Nybelmar, Tarshiinites tend to have an innate desire for expansion and conquest. As such they have a thriving military which attracts all classes of society to its ranks. Possessed by a quest for knowledge and understanding Tarshiinite churns out some of the greatest scholars in all the continent, with alchemists and engineers that can hardly be matched by its neighbours. In addition to their pursuit of pragmatism the Tarshiinites have developed a spirit of adventure, where people strive to emulate the exploits of great treasure hunters such as the fictional 'Otapii'. Perhaps the height of the adventurous Tarshiinite occupation is that of the Tugaru Divers. Investing enormous sums of money in apparatus that allow them to breathe underwater for variable periods of time and regularly ingesting a whole manner of alchemical concoctions to overheat themselves and offset the freezing temperatures of ocean waters, the Tugaru Divers seem to represent a culmination of scientific knowledge and intrepid bravery and as such represent the true multiplicity of what it means to be a Tarshiinite. Employed in either academic exploration of the Western Bays expansive coral reefs or diving for pearls, the Tugaru Divers are most definitely Tarshiinite-incarnate.

If they are scholars, why don't they pursue some kind of magic system? Since you mentioned so clearly that they don't have any kind of arcane practice early on, you might want to mention here just why that is. It clearly isn't because they aren't smart enough for it, so there must be some cultural reason why they disdain it or can't practice it, no? Considering the power of your religion, perhaps they see magic as some kind of dark, demon-spawned sorcery, and it is banned for that purpose?

The Tsohamin

The Tsohamin would seem to be the stockier, rougher counterpart of the Tarshiinites. Characterised by their fiery red hair colour, which is grown into an almost bestial mane by men and is kept at shoulder length for women, the Tsohamin are a hardy, muscular people. Somewhat shorter than the Tarshiinites with a richer, dark brown skin coloration set against the warm Tarshiinite tan, the Tsohamin express a strength and resilience in their gait and demeanour.

First and foremost the Tsohamin are workers. In the thousands of years since their arrival in the Western Bay they have continued to rear semi-domesticated boars and goats and many stay true to these unfaltering traditional occupations. The Tsohamin are dominated by their absolute veneration of Kunijen and, without it, it is not inaccurate to say there would be little purpose to the lives of simple livestock keepers. Famous for their worship practices, where it is believed chiefly that imitating a spirit shows it deep respect, the Tsohamin are able to enter a number of roles under the guise of its patron spirit (or 'Kuni'). The most renowned of all the spiritual venerations is that of the Reikuni or 'Rage Spirits', whereby Tsohamin adopt the roles of chaotic, destructive spirits, honing their combat abilities with meticulous practice to show respect (and to appease) the Reikuni themselves.

It is through their religious training in weaponry that easily the most successful of the Tsohamin pursuits came into existence, that of the Tsohamin Mercenary. It is thought that at least two thirds of all Tsohamin are professional mercenaries, chiefly in the employment of the Faen which, since the reformation of the 'Old Nation', have had no organised army of their own. Deadly warriors in battle, famous for a seeming invulnerability during the heat of battle, the devastating impact of the barbaric onslaught of the Tsohamin hand scythes has left them amongst the most frightening foes on the continent. It is actually quite ironic that the Tsohamin consider themselves to be pacifistic and that they only engage in such mortal combat as the crux of religious duty.

State Organization

The governing of Tarshiin is separated into three very distinct authorities that co-exist with one another: the Jartanic government, the military and the priesthood.


The Jartanic Government


 Firstly, the Jartanic Government, which represents the bureaucratic and political arm of the state, is (theoretically) the most powerful arm of the state. The government itself can be divided into a number of echelons: the free assembly, the open house, the Senate and the Jartan.

  • The Free Assembly

Essentially the most democratic of the echelons, 'The Free Assembly' is open to all citizens of Tarshiin and has one date every month reserved in Goshuntee's Tarajuni Hall (which is also used on a full-time basis by the Open House). One the specified date every month debates are held and directed by the 'Speaker' of the Open House, who then compiles the concerns of the public to be addressed at the next session in the Open House. The debates within the assembly are known for their rowdiness, however, especially concerning controversial issues. As such many refute that the assembly actually provides anything useful, critics suggesting it is a superfluous link to 'normal' people to make the state seem more relatable.

Do any politicians attend these Free Assemblies (aside from the Speaker), or is it only regular citizens? IE, do certain politicians participate in order to try and get popular support for certain ideas from the citizenship outside of the 'official medium' of the House?

  • The Open House

Where most politicians will find themselves, 'The Open House' is the main occupant of the Tarajuni Hall and is open to anyone who has an academic qualification in politics (usually attained from universities in the Northern City of Jirai). Meeting around ten times every month (at the discretion of the speaker) the Open House is, as the name suggests, open to any topic. As they are discussed by professional academics, the conclusions and solutions that are deduced by the Open House are greatly respected by the higher branches of the government.

How are conclusions and solutions decided by the politicians in the Open House? Popular vote? Can the Senate (or other higher branches) recommend topics for discussion to the Speaker to bring up?

  • The Senate

Comprising of twelve elected senators Who elects them?, the High Commander, a vassal from the Priesthood and seated by the Jartan, the senate are generally considered the most powerful facet of the government. As a single body they possess a whole number of important powers. If they can gain a majority of nine or more they are able to veto legislation, expenditure changes and resolutions proposed by the Jartan.

What official links, if any, does the Senate have with the Open House? Is the Open House purely for kicks, or is there some kind of procedure in which certain ideas expressed by the House must be discussed/decided upon in some manner by the Senate?

  • The Jartan

The Jartan, thereotically, has the most power in all the state. Unless opposed by a suitable majority in the senate, the Jartan does have great control over how the state affairs are ordered. The Jartan, does not, however, pull all the strings, lacking for instance the ability to declare war without the agreement of the Senate or the joint blessing of both the Military and Grand Temple.

The seat of the Jartan is decided by a vote between the twelve elected senators, nominating one of their peers. Since all the senators are elected by the civilian public You should mention this in the Senate section, perhaps with more specific details if you can think of any that we should know about., it is thought that by proxy the entire nation has a say in who is declared Jartan. Due to the perceived omnipotence of the role, an important part of elections for senatorhood is who the candidate intends to give his vote for Jartan to, as this is the only real influence the normal citizens have in this massively important decision.
  
The Military

Parallel to the more mundane political system, the military, for the most part, is considered a body that is independent from the government. Though it is inaccurate to say that the military is a force beyond the Jartan and the senate's control, the armed forces maintained by Tarshiin are self-regulating and are given a lot of autonomy. For example, in regions already agreed upon by the senate the army and navy are allowed to conduct whatever operations they see fit.

By far and large, soldiers and sailors are treated in a completely different way than normal citizens, seen perhaps most dramatically by the introduction of a completely separate legal system affecting members of the military. Due to whole number of fundamental differences there is a whole other system in place designed to deal with the iron fist of Tarshiin.

If the military is independent from the government, what keeps them in check and prevents them from staging a coup? The military of Japan kept a tight stranglehold on their government during WWII. On the other hand, Hitler kept the largely independent German military on his side by appealing to their anger at the 'stab in the back' of the politicians of World War I, and increased the size and supply of the military while engaging in his conquests. Since you mention that the Scepteres often try to conquer nearby territories, you might want to mention this as a way that the Jartan pulls leverage with the military. Of course, this may backfire if too many pointless wars are done or lost. Another possibility would be a heavy-handed cultural incentive on youth to support the central government to the point that when they grow up they're less likely to go against the government.

Ultimately, point is, that if the military is independent, you should establish some method that the central government uses to control them, or there is a good chance that the military will try and take over when times are rough. Of course, maybe you'd prefer that, and perhaps some time in the past the military did such a thing. ;)

See my comments lower down on the Priesthood for some ideas on this.


  • The Courts of the Sword and Sea

While not directly related to the politics of the military 'caste' in Tarshiin, The Court of the Sword and The Court of the Sea (dealing with land-based soldiers and naval sailors respectively) are of huge importance to the lives of military personnel. With various branches throughout the Scepteres, whenever the civillian security services apprehend an accused criminal they must be sent for a trial at the nearest military court. With every Tarshiinite who has completed the standard training relinquishing their status as 'civilian' to 'armsman', these establishments are often very busy, with soldiers and sailors having a reputation for bending the law more so than others.

Generally run by senior (and thus older) members of the respective armed forces who are now unfit for service and have the necessary legal education, the 'Swordjudges' and 'Seajudges' have sole authority over how a criminal armsman is dealt with. Since trials are conducted in private courts without a jury, on many occasions with only the guard who detained the armsman and the accused himself, the sentence given to lawbreakers revolves around entirely on how the judge feels about the situation. While a whole number of crimes carry much harsher possible sentences under military law, such as assault which can be punished by exile, many offences treat the armsmen in a favourable light; theft, vandalism, hostage-taking and poaching, amongst others, warranting incredibly minor fines.  

  • The Armed Coffer

The only division of armsman politics which isn't run entirely by those who have served in combat, 'The Armed Coffer' orchestrates both the payment and taxation of serving armsman. Taxes applied to armsmen are notoriously lower than those decided upon by the Jartanic government, making them exempt from times of economic hardship throughout the nation.

  • The Armed Councils

With the navy and army maintaining their own committees, the Council of the Sea, made up of the Admirals and seated by the High Admiral, and the Council of the Sword, made up of the Generals and seated by the High General, are the second most powerful body in deciding how the affairs of the military are orchestrated, often making important liaisons with the Jartanic government in times of war. The Armed Councils also play an important part in the training and stationing of the military across Tarshiin, or rather they give a general gnosis to their legion of underlings.

  • The Triple of the Legion

Made up of the High General, High Admiral and lead by the High Commander, who is chosen by a joint decision between the current Jartan and the other two committee members. The Triple of the Legion only meet in times of great need, almost exclusively during war, where they can declare 'Martial Autonomy' and use their forces how they see fit without the government's approval. The powers of the Triple, however, only come into their own when an official declaration of war has been made by the government, since a variety of unsuccessful but devastating coups littered the Tarshiinite past before the military was centralised.

The Tarshiinite Priesthood  

During the build up to the First Gonol-Tarshiin War, the Gondolwenmith Amor Sedia Martia famously stated 'The Scepteres of Tarshiin are a nation who dress in the clothes of an academic, dynamic democracy, where only a few scratches on the surface will reveal a mindless, dogmatic, de facto theocracy, with the Grand Consulate of Psuedo-Holy Men presiding over every minute nugget of activity throughout the lands'.

Now while it we must respect the right of the enemy to exaggerate their foes shortcomings on the political stage, the aforementioned quote is not entirely inaccurate. Since long before the Republican Wars, when the Kingdom of the Tiquaitan still reigned as the dominant power of the Western Bay, the Priesthood have had an amazing level of control within the political and martial framework of Tarshiin.

Revealing themselves as bearers of vitality during the devastating Black Throat Fever epidemic, which was crippling the then atheist nation in all of its echelons, the desperate state of affairs in which the Priesthood arrived allowed them free-reign in dictating their will in reforming the broken country. Though there is little documentation and historians in this area often generate a number of conflicting ideas, it is thought possible that the fever's cure which the Priesthood had managed to acquire was only to be administered to Tarshiin in exchange for a number pivotal powers within the Scepteres.


  • The Army of Faith/ Fleet of Faith

The Priesthood maintains its own armies and fleets in complete separation from the government. See my comments above on separate armies. The forces themselves are approximately a third of the size of the actual state's armed forces, but are much better equipped, paid and treated, having the additional benefit of being held to account under The Holy Law. Though in all major conflicts the two armies have co-operated, the selfish aims of the Priesthood are often orchestrated through their armed branch, the sacking of Tsu, for instance, being attributed to Priesthood.

Furthermore, since the absolute authority on the Priesthood's armies and fleets is the Grand Consulate, generally consisting of five very war-hungry Grand Priests, a handful of conflicts between Tarshiin and other nations (particularly the Kazai)  are thought to have been initial strikes by the Priesthood, reported as unprovoked foreign aggression. These false claims then prompt a decision in the senate to wage full-scale war.

Same comment as before. You might want to consider making the Priesthood armies the army of the government instead of another separate one (or at least, with closer ties), so that it can keep the non-priest armies in line. Perhaps in the past they were both separate, but the Priesthood ended up taking control of the government (considering their aggression) at sometime and, while perhaps separate again, that take over resulted in the central government being partially at sway from the Priesthood? So the Priesthood might be more defensive of the government than the Army, since it stands to lose some influence if the Army were to attempt a coup.

Perhaps, in addition to the faith's emergence during the Fever, this past takeover is what cemented the Priesthood as the main religion of Tarshiin, and thus the central government (being nowadays raised to support the church) is biased towards the Priesthood's wishes.


  • The Courts of Faith

Similarly to the independent legal system governing soldiers and naval sailors, the Priesthood and all its associated branches (such as the armsmen serving in the Priesthood's military) have their own law and court which deals with their misdemeanors. Unlike the scattered branches that constitute the Court of the Sea and Court of the Sword, there is only one single building which can adjudicate criminal accusations agaisnt members of the Priesthood- The Court of Faith in Shintee, a city which acts as the hub of all the Priesthood's activity. The Court of Faith itself is seated by one of the Grand Priests, and similarly to the absolute power held by the Sword/Seajudges, the final decision in whether or not the accused is prosecuted is based solely on their decision.

The Court of Faith itself is notorious for its soft sentences agaisnt members of the priesthood, with murderers, thieves and smugglers receiving nothing more than an inconvenient fine, or in cases of remorseless offenders 'severance', a process which exiles the criminal from the Priesthood by using aceeds to remove their distinguishing forehead tattoos and in a majority of cases, exile from the realm of Tarshiin as a whole. Jail sentences or executions are practically unheard of, unless the victim of the crime is also a member of the Priesthood.  

Many criminals that are governed by the 'Holy Law' are often never taken to trial. Since the chances of receiving a substantial punishment are practically non-existent, the accused would need to be taken to the City and the fact that the Court of Faith actually charges a fee on every case it judges, it seems like far less hassle to simply allow the holy man to slide through the net- making the Priesthood, in many instances, above the law.

  • Vassals

Probably their most powerful method of controlling Tarshiin, the Priesthood maintains vast numbers of 'vassals'- personal spiritual advisors who have the convenient ability as priests to define morality. As a result, by supplying individuals of important powers with incredibly influential vassals, whose ability to define morality to a fiercely religious people is by no means always observed with the purest intentions, the Priesthood is able to underhandedly lead people of power to make decisions that favour their own ambitions.

The network of vassals is remarkably huge, with most important military officers, wealthy merchants, mayors, provincial governors, senators, diplomats and judges having their own personal vassal assigned to them to ensure their 'moral health'. One of the Consulate's Grand Priests also acts as the Holy Vizier to the Jartan, allowing the Priesthood to exert incredible control over the nation should the Jartan be especially weak-willed or impressionable.

See my previous comments on the Armies and the Priesthood. This fits in line with the Priesthood having a significant influence over the central government through these vassals. Thus while the Priesthood might be separate, its control over the government in this fashion means it's more likely to desire the status quo, and so keeps the non-religious Army in check.

  • The Grand Temple

Situated in Shintee along most other important protrusions of holy bureaucracy, the Grand Temple is both an organisation and a building. Within the Grand Temple, besides the gigantic sermon halls and serene meditation gardens, cohorts of high-ranking priests organise the internal affairs of the Priesthood. While the duties performed by the priests within the Grand Temple vary from maintenance of the grounds to the archiving of delivered sermons, the main business of the Temple circulates around the expenditure of the Priesthood's gargantuan budget. Since approximately a third of all money earned by a Tarshiinite in their lifetime is donated to the Priesthood, as well as the Grand Temple taking a significant cut of the Senate's taxation coffers, the Grand Temple is by far the wealthiest institution on the Western Bay. As great investors in Kimkanite land, a region of lakes littered with gold-laden waters, the Grand Temple continues to expand its wealth, and with most of its enterprises remaining self-sufficient, the Priesthood itself is afforded a luxurious and powerful existence.

  • Grand Consulate

The upper tier of the Priesthood and the absolute authority on all of its members is the Grand Consulate- a council of the five Grand Priests. While their concrete powers within Tarshiin are mostly undefined, their influence matches if not exceeds that of the Jartan. Between them they must fulfill a number of duties, such as the deliverance of three daily sermons to pilgrims amassing at the Grand Temple, seating the Court of Faith, occupying their seat in the Senate or acting as the Jartan's Holy Vizier (the latter two requiring them to live in the capital Goshuntee). However, these duties are not particularly demanding and as such much of the time the Grand Consulate concerns itself with using the Grand Temple's vast wealth to pursue their own aims and ambitions. It is known, for instance, that the Grand Consulate during the Republican Wars were particularly devious, beginning to orchestrate a mass repossession of profitable Tiquaitan land around ten years before the Kingdom fell.

The Grand Consulate itself is a very exclusive group. Once you have been promoted into its ranks you remain there until death, at which point a promising candidate is usually selected from the current High Vassals. In order to enter the consulate, however, all current Grand Priests and the Jartan must agree that the candidate is suitable for the job. However, if a unanimous majority is achieved from the Grand Priests that disagrees with the Jartan, the decision is made nonetheless and the Jartan's vote is discarded. Resultantly, it is often seen that the Jartan's vote in the process simply shows his blessing rather possessing any actual clout in the decision making.


Climate

The citizens of Tarshiin enjoy a very favourable climate. Flanked by the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth, the Scepteres is sheltered from the ravaging winds of the Municipen but still manages to inherit the crop-quenching rainfall that blesses the agricultural heart of the Kazai Morchin-i throughout the colder seasons.

The settlements of Tarshiin, particularly along the coast, experience pleasing amounts of sunshine from the advent of spring to the fall of autumn, creating a warm but precipitous middle of the year, creating a number of romantic vistas along airy Tarshiinite streets punctuated with bursts of skin-warming showers

However, at any time in the year there is great variation in the temperatures. While the injera bathed sands of the Tarshiinite beaches can reach somewhere between 2.5 and 3 periks at the peak of summer, the northeastern foothills of the Doilth can drop to even less than half a perik, as the warming sea currents from the western oceans dissipate into the easterly lowlands. At the complete limit of the foothills, at such high altitudes where one becomes dangerously close to the Germon Doilth, it can become bitterly cold. In the past it is well documented that it is in fact so cold that in the depths of winter one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena graces the brink- a dusting of snow, which most Tarshiinites or Tsohamin will only see once or twice in their lives.


Economy

The Scepteres of Tarshiin is rich in both resources and industrious inhabitants, and is perhaps a prime example of how nature's bounty can be cultivated and harvested without scarring the land irreparably (as, for instance, could be seen in the mass deforestation of Zhun). Distanced from their origins as small-scale crop-growers, the Tarshiinite economy classically centred around four main trades: Ink, Silk, Sea-salt and Honey. However, after the dust settled at the end of the Tiquaitan Republican Wars, the Tarshiinites inherited the crown jewel of their fallen foe, the Lakes of Kimka. Through their expansion upon the existing infrastructure established by the Ancient Tiquaitan, the Tarshiinites quickly became the principle exporters of gold throughout Nybelmar. As the monopolies of Tarshiin grew in size, flushing wealth into all of the Scepteres' provinces, the economy of the state became more and more prosperous.

There is an odd balance between entrepreneurship and state control in the economy of Tarshiin. While anyone with sufficient investments can capitalise on the bounty of Tarshiin for their own financial designs the main impediment to expanding business in the nation is land ownership. Though no different under the law from a commercial landowner, huge regions in Tarshiin belong either directly to the provincial governor or one of the consortia affiliated the Grand Temple. As such, while there is almost not such thing as a worthless piece of land within the Scepteres, laying your hands upon it is usually the greatest task.

Resources

The territories making up Tarshiin are rich in resources:

  • The Coasts

The traditional domain of the Tarshiinites, the coasts of the Scepteres are the heart of the nation's oldest industries. Aside from the huge numbers of delicious seafood, rivaling that of Gondolwain, the Tarshiinite sea filters huge numbers of sea-salt onto the picturesque beaches. Possibly the oldest of the Tarshiinite occupations, the salt trade has been a steady one for thousands of years, with the landlocked realms to the south and the east demanding it for a whole number of pragmatic uses.

The Tarshiinite waves also yield the Filachara or 'Ink Dumplings', a creature as odd as it is useful. Possessing the unfathomable ability to reconstruct itself after grevious wounds, Filachara have long since been farmed for their plentiful ink sacs. With the consideration that these unique sources of ink are perhaps the epitome of renewable, the ink industry in Tarshiin has been one that can always cater to the economic climate.  

  • The Agrarian Tear


Besides providing Tarshiin with cattle and all the associated products, the Agrarian Tear is the oldest territory belonging to the Tarshiinites and has changed little through the ages. The Tear has the most suitable climate for agriculture, and yields huge numbers of grain, crops and meat to feed the nation.

The Tear is, notably, also the home to two very small yet very important creatures: the silkworm and the malise.  Both of these creatures have been the target of Tarshiinite pragmatism and, as such, have developed into unbelievably effective trades for the nation.

  • The Lakes of Kimka

While the old Zhunite phrase 'and even the waters run with gold' was never really seen as a practicality by those in Southern Nybelmar, the sheer volume of gold which flows through Kimka's rivers is inconceivable. The waters are so rich in the precious metal that the gold panning industry has easily remained the most profitable in Tarshiin since shortly after the Republican Wars. The value of Kimkanite lakes is in fact so enormous that one the principal river 'Narsira' (a Tiquaitan homage to the innovative King Narsira the Green) generates more revenue than the provinces of Farshun and Tikwa combined.

  • The Fragrant Hills

Typically seen in the shadow of the industrial regions of Tarshiin, the
Fragrant Hills are far from absent in their produce. Littered with a number of sturdy forests, Tarshiinite lumber is known for its durability all across the continent. Due to its beautiful ashen finish and extreme strength is a prized construction material, a particular favourite of the Ancient Tiquaitan who craft most of their three cities from it.

As the name would suggest, the open spaces of The Hills also cultivate a number of fragrant flora.

What flora? See my comments in the Description section.

  • The Germon Doilth

Easily the most treacherous of all territories in Tarshiin, so much so that there is no permanent human population, the mountain ranges of the Germon Doilth are home to some of the richest mineral deposits in the Kaereth. While miners have harvested silver from its depths since the reign of the Tiquaitan, the ranges themselves are rich in tin, as well as possessing significantly smaller deposits of copper, though mostly in Morchini-owned regions.

Production

When contrasted against the number of resources within Tarshiin, the number of finished products created by the Tarshiinites is relatively low. Tarshiinite silk, particularly the Goldspun Silk of the Goldworm, is a highly prized fabric both within and outside of the Scepteres, developing a specific rivalry with Gondolsilk. Finished inks, which come in a variety of colours, are another principle export of Tarshiin.

Not much is done with the collected gold by the Tarshiinites beyond smelting. Most Tarshiinite gold merchants make their trade in the easily stored gold bars- allowing other creative types to do with it what they like. There is, however, a very niche market for coloured gold in the continent, and as such there are dedicated craftsmen in Kimka solely for the purpose of its production. An even smaller market within the province is that of damascening which, once a popular art form, has declined in popularity in the last two centuries.

Tarshiinite alchemy is also one of the most advanced throughout all of Caelereth. While much of the nation's formula and products are kept secret, a few examples of Tarshiinite science reach other nations: consisting mainly pastes for the cleaning of teeth.

If the Tarshiinites are proud of anything, however, it is their skills in invention. Possessing some of the most skilled and precise engineers on the continent, Tarshiinites are famed for their production of everything from incredibly accurate thermometers to running hot water and tindersticks, a wondrous invention that ignites a small piece of wood with the smallest amount of effort.

The height of Tarshiinite engineering, however, is that of their weaponry. While the well-disciplined infantrymen of the Tarshiinite army form an ruthlessly effective fighting force in themselves, the Tarshiinite military is famed for the wide array of devastating siege engines they employ. Their naval masterpiece, the Dreadhammer Warships, are so effective in battle that only two were sunk in the ten year Gondol-Tarshiin conflict. However, offensive technology is not always for sale, though military engineers from Tarshiin have historically been in high demand from nations such as Orcal during times of war.

Trade


The Tarshiinites are one of the principle partners of the Faen Merchants, both exporting and importing from the various trading houses that their neighbours operate. The primary exports of Tarshiin are bulk quantities of silk, gold, ink and sea salt, and though most trade is conducted directly with the Faen (who use their wide web to find costumers for the goods) it is possible to trace where the products end up. Though gold tends to carry weight in a number of luxury-loving nations throughout the continent, coloured golds (particularly Rose and Turquoise gold) are a particular fancy of the Aesterans of the Northern Bay. Silk and ink are particularly popular with the Zhunite Citystates of the South, with salt and honey being purchased in high quantities by Tarshiin's longstanding ally the Amorai. In addition to their penchant for the rather domestic products of Tarshiin's economy, the Amorai are also the only other nation with whom the true bounty of Tarshiinite alchemy and technology is shared, with a small proportion of the Amorai armies being equipped with hand-held incendiaries and the (admittedly small) Amorai navies being stocked with Warships of peculiarly Tarshiinite design.

Furthermore, independent of the coventional Faen trade web, Tarshiin also holds a number of trading contracts directly with the Trumarim, where the essential Dwarven Rock Oil is traded for exceptionally large amounts of gold.

Imports are an integral part of Tarshiin, with large parts of their culture being dependent on goods unavaliable in the Scepteres. The first love of any Tarshiinite is alcohol, and it is probably a solid claim that the Tarshiinites drink more Jinn than the Morchini who make it; morning, noon and night. The more sophisticated types within Tarshiin, however, have developed tastes for more exotic drinks. As such, both Zhunite Grape and Rice Wine are particularly popular imports. In addition, Tarshiin is one of the few markets in Nybelmar where foreign liquor is actually avaliable (mainly through Gondolwenmith intercontinental trade), and as such Vhodka, Wisk-Away and R'unorian Brandy can be found if you know the right places to look.

As well as satisfying their expensive tastes for alcohol, Tarshiinite cooking also involves larges amounts of frying and as such there are a huge importer of Zhunite olive oil.


Military

Tarshiin is one of the major military powers in North-Western Nybelmar. The Tarshiinite military is a noted institution both within and outside of the Scepteres, the most common way of attaining affluence and social standing in the nation being to distinguish oneself in combat. Distinction, however, is difficult with the extreme skill and discipline of the military, with each serving armsmen receiving excellent education in both the practicalities and tactics of combat.

  • The Army

The Tarshiinite army is one of incredibly organisation, with the main bulk of the force being made up of infantrymen armed with swords and sheilds large enough to conceal most of their height. The army is famed for its complex maneuvers, most famously the 'Turtle Shell', wherein a unit's shields are arranged into one seamless piece that protects them all.

Despite their effectiveness, the average Tarshiinite infantrymen is taught only three sword strikes, one of which only applies to unarmed targets. However, their limited repertoire is compensated for by their extreme precision. The usual intent is to mortally wound an enemy, rather than the hack away at them zealous. Tarshiinite swordsmen are also notorious slow in their advances, keeping their impenetrable formations by maintaining only a light pace. As such most of Tarshiinite close-combat is counter-active, the Swordsmen relying on the enemy to both get close enough and to provide an opening where a single thrust will be fatal.

The most devastating arm of the Tarshiinite army, however, is its missile forces. Completely bereft of bows, the Tarshiinites have long since armed themselves with spring-loaded Spearlaunchers, an ingeniously designed and relatively lightweight contraption that can fire wooden spears over incredibly distances. Spearshooters (the operators of Spearlaunchers) themselves are given a much more comprehensive education in ranged warfare and are trained to disrupt heavily armoured units, inflict huge casualties on lightly armed troops or to pave a clear path for the central moving body of swordsmen. Exceptionally skilled Spearshooters known as 'Sharpshooters' are deployed to eliminate particularly dangerous or important individuals from long-distances, armed with specifically enhanced Spearlaunchers that measure around twice as long, though are unimaginably accurate in capable hands.

The Tarshiinites have much more to offer than the Spearshooters when it comes to ranged combat, where the Tarshiinite love of engineering and conquering spirit culminate into arguably the most effective siege weaponry on Nybelmar. Whether it is modified Spearlaunchers designed to shoot anywhere up to thirty spears at once, the repeating ballistas which can fire five metal bolts in ten blinks or the huge Firelance catapults which can launch tuns of flaming liquid, the technology the Tarshiinites have developed for warfare is ruthlessly effective.

The crowning jewel of the Tarshiinite army are the Rhino-Mounted Captains, 'The Horn of Tarshiin', a group of warriors as ornate as they are dangerous. Selected only from the cream of the Tarshiinite forces, the Rhino riders are always at the front of battle, relying on both their ceremonial halberds and enormous steeds to devastate the enemy. As The Horn of Tarshiin itself is made up almost entirely of distinguished Captains, Lieutenants and Generals, and as such it is the ultimate aim of every footsoldier to one day earn the privelege of riding atop the White Rhinoceros, an opportunity reserved only for the most adept members of The Horn . However, while the Horn of Tarshiin as an institution is well-acknowledged it does not constitute an actual battalion in itself and as such the highly skilled warriors are assigned to lead or (in the case of incredibly prestigious forces) integrate as a part of one of the existing battalions. The presitde associated to the Rhino Captains however is enormous within Tarshiinite society, with almost every High General having at one point served within The Horn of Tarshiin.

  • The Navy

Tarshiin is a disproportionately important naval power with regard to the size of its fleet, which is somewhat smaller than that of Anis-Anpagan. The key to Tarshiinite naval success, as with success in all of Tarshiinite pursuits, relies on astuteness. Despite being few in number, the warships of Tarshiin are maritime juggernaughts, being spectacular examples of offensive engineering, making use of much of the siege weaponry used by the army (see above). Such was the devastating effect of the Tarshiinite Navy that after its first mobilisation against Tiquaitan in 1688 b.s. that by 1686 b.s. the entire Tiquaitan fleet had been destroyed or captured. This is particularly impressive since the Tiquaitan were by no means a weak nation, the coalition forces of the Tsohamin and Tarshiinites requiring another 38 years to vanquish their magically-augmented armies.

Tarshiinite intelligence is not only applied to weaponry, but also propulsion. Due to the combined efforts of coventional sails as well as huge numbers of manual rowers, the Tarshiinite navy is amongst the very few that can continue on course through adverse winds and ocean storms. The number of rowers is in fact so large within the Tarshiinite navy that there records of around two thousand men who served in both the Tiquaitan Republican Wars and the First Kazai-Tarshiin War but never actually left the lower decks of their ships.

Who mans the oars? Lower class servants? Soldiers? Slaves? Prisoners?

The Tarshiinite navy holds a whole number of ship designs, though the most common is the Hammerhead. Lightly-armed for a Tarshiinite warship with only two ballistas and three Spearlauncher armaments, the principle weapon of the Hammerhead is its heavy iron 'nose'. Streamlined for acceleration, the Hammerheads primary objective is to crash into enemy craft, often with such speed that the opponent is torn in two with the whole Hammerhead passing straight through.

At the opposite end of the scale, the rarest and most powerful of the Tarshiinite warships is the Dreadhammer, a floating beast which is plated in metal and has a top deck of just under half a stral in length, armed to the teeth with all imaginable war machines Tarshiin has to offer. So great is the power of these seafaring monsters that in all history only two have been sunk and one captured (all by the Gondolwenmith). Additionally, despite their enormous power there have never been more than eight in service at anyone time, usually acting as the spearhead of against large fleets or as a single opponent for smaller flotillas.

In a quintessentially Tarshiinite way the navy is laden with specialist, perhaps most famously the Naval Tugarus. Unlike the civillian Tugaru divers who search the ocean commercially for coral and pearls or academically in employment of the   Enkyklopadië Nybelmarnica, Naval Tugarus are employed as expert saboteurs. Swimming underwater and penetrating the bottom of a ship's hull and releasing 'Wetflame' into its bowels, an incendiary which ignites more ferociously when wet.

Religion

  • Context

While each respective tribe of the Scepteres has its own religion, the Tarshiinite attitude of domination towards the Tsohamin is not any different with regard to faith. As a result, the Kunijen (Appeasing the Spirits) faith of the Tsohamin has a very low prevalence, with religious iconography and shamanic rituals being more prominent in Municipen di Fa, where the largest population of Tsohamin live and where they are much freer to worship whatever they like.

While religion is an enormously important aspect of Tarshiinite life, it was not always so cemented. In fact in simpler times, many ages ago, the both Tsohamin and Tarshiinite alike revered the spirits of the Kunijen Pantheon. Even in modern Tarshiin the influences of their previous religion are evident: Tarshiinite roofs have the curved pagoda design since it was believed this would attract Karkuni (Fire Spirits, ones associated with good fortune) and Tarshiinites still continue the practice of hanging wind chimes on the edges of windows, residual from the belief that the twinkling sound kept Suukuni (Water Spirits, associated with harm) away.

However, during the long period of history where the Tarshiinites began to idolise their enormously advanced Northern neighbour the Tiquaitan and distance themselves from their humble origins with the Tsohamin Kunijen was more or less abandoned by the Tarshiinites. Imitating the atheism of the Tiquaitan, Tarshiinites began to invest more and more of their time in the advancing of their civilisation, though no community of philosophers emerged as was the case in the atheistic Tiqua.

However, considering the impact of the Priesthood's arrival (See the appropriate 'State Organisation' section) there was little trouble in Tarshiin accepting the dogma which had cured the largest crisis they had ever known, the Blackthroat Fever Epidemic.

  • Beliefs

The fundamental assumption of the Tarshiinite faith is that the world is made up of a variety of spiritual essences: The Natural Spirit, The Moral Spirit and the Mental Spirit.

The Natural Spirit is exuded by almost everything, and its concentration causes animated life. Ultimately it is believed that all living things are made to do so by their 'Natural Spirits' . People are made up of this spirit (partially) and it is the only essence shared between humanity and the rest of animal life (as well as trees, rocks etc.). A person's internal physical spirit ultimately keeps them in constant commune with nature as a whole. Pure health cannot be attained if the world's nature is rejected.

The Moral Spirit is specific only to people. Moral spirits are nurtured by positive ethical decisions and choices (though one should note ethics are defined by the Priesthood). The 'centre' of the moral spirit is supposed to be the heart of a person. Amongst other things- generosity, strong family bonds and love help to nourish this spirit.

The Mental Spirit (a.k.a. Spirit of the Mind) is also human specific. This essence provides intelligence, rationality and logic if nourished properly. Qoans (generally unfathomable statements) are given by the priests directly or read from Qoan compilations to improve this essences potency. Education and intelligent thought are essential to ensuring the health of this spirit, which is why a lot is invested in Tarshiinite education.

(more information on the details of the Tarshiinite faith can be found in the 'Tarshiinite Men' entry under the relevant section)
  • Impact within Tarshiin

The power of The Priesthood to define morality and essentially mold what Tarshiinite's consider to be a third of their being should not be underestimated. While for the most part the lower echelons of the Priesthood are of pure intention, with the priests tending to minor temples being reliable sources of guidance, there seems to be a long-standing trend that power corrupts. As such many high-ranking priests, particularly Vassals to influential Tarshiinites, are ordered by the Grand Temple directly to influence their decisions in favour of the Priesthood under the guise of 'morality'.

The ability of the Priesthood to essentially be the absolute authority on what is right and what is wrong permeates throughout the entire society. Such is their dedication to honing their spirits that almost all Tarshiinites wake before sunrise to perform their Shiigar exercises, allocate specific portions of their day for intellectual expansion and spend most of Shiinria ('Day of the Spirit'- The first day of the Tarshiinite week) deep in contemplative meditation.

Perhaps the height of religion's involvement in Tarshiinite affairs is their economic power. With the average Tarshiinite giving around a third of all they will ever earn to the Priesthood in good faith, in conjunction with state subsidies and well-managed business interests, the economic (and thus political) weight pulled by the Priesthood is immense. This, coupled with their substantial, independent military, levies enormous influence and autonomy onto the Priesthood- allowing them to pursue their own aims with relative ease. As such, while their influence in Tarshiinite affairs remains for the most part unofficial and indirect, this does not retract from their potency.

History (optional)

Postponed 'til substantial cooperation can occur between Coren, Mira and I


Overall, great entry, lots of succulent culture and attention to detail. :)
« Last Edit: 26 October 2009, 14:58:48 by Fox » Logged
Decipher Ziron
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« Reply #4 on: 26 October 2009, 23:57:21 »

Thanks so much Fox  heart !

I might have some more time later for the commentary but I did address why the Tarshiinites dont practice magic (with alot of multiplicity and  historical reference!).

I do like the idea of the Priesthood being able to exert much greater control over the military, so I will look at placing the Military in as an arm of the Grand Temple. It would make a lot of sense since as I had envisioned a history laden with a number of failed coups for Tarshiin before the Priesthood, and it seems more plausible that they would end if the army were on the Grand Temple's tight leash.

Thanks again!

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« Reply #5 on: 02 November 2009, 00:21:49 »

Okeydokey, I think I covered everything in there  grin

Thanks Again Fox, and Aura for your troubles!

Anyone else got anything to contribute (specifically my Nybelmarian Partners)?

Deci  grin
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« Reply #6 on: 03 November 2009, 11:26:56 »

I have a little question. I only got through the economy section, so I may have missed it, but I was wondering, what are the qualifications for military or ecclesiastical service? You've mentioned that people either in the military or the priesthood are outside the regular legal system, and are much more lightly taxed, but how much of the population is that? If serving for a term in the military or the priesthood makes you immune for life to normal law, and normal taxation, why aren't 3/4 of your population military vets? Is there for example a height requirement? How much of your population has at one time served in the Army, the Navy, the Army of Faith, or the Navy of Faith? Also, how does your regular legal and tax system work? Do you have Roman tax collectors, paid by the extra they extort from the citizens? Are their courts in every town? Every county? Every province? or do they bring all criminals to the capitol for judgement?
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« Reply #7 on: 05 November 2009, 01:31:56 »

Rations? Check. Torches? Check. Bribes? Check. Green ink? Check.. awrighty, let's tackle this puppy! *And so Miraran sets out on an epic quest to discover the End of Deciphers latest creation..*


The Scepteres of Tarshiin

Overview

One of the most prosperous nations on the continent, the Scepteres of Tarshiin is situated on Nybelmar's Western Bay, sandwiched inbetween the vast seas to the West and the rocky teeth of the Germon Doilth to the East.There is some historical debate as to the root of the name 'Scepteres' amongst Tarshiinite academics, though the most common theory is that it sprung from the Tiquaitan. As the 'Scepterera' was an ornate crown considered as a symbol of sovereignty due to its association with the Tiquaitan King, the phrase 'Scepteres of Tarshiin' was born to display that the Tarshiinites simply had control over these specific area. However, some think that the phrase might actually have been a Tiquaitan joke. Since the word 'Sceptereri' referred to the gifts that were given to a newborn baby, some believe the phrase 'Scepteres of Tarshiin' patronises the Tarshiinites, suggesting that the Tiquaitan merely allowed the child-like Tarshiinites to do what they liked with the lands they saw they had given them.


Though their past is laden with deception and atrocity against their neighbours, the Tarshiinites are first and foremost an intellectual people, an aspect which has shaped their state immeasurably. Famously abstinent from archaic magic unlike the majority of its neighbours, the pragmatism and resourcefulness of its citizens have formed a political juggernaught, making underestimation of Tarshiin's potential a very dangerous game.

The Scepteres of Tarshiin are amongst the most powerful and affluent nations of North Western Nybelmar due to their well-established trade links in lucrative industries, notably being the greatest exporter of gold in the entire West. Coupled with their economic prosperity, the Tarshiinites have refined themselves from their humble beginnings as farmers into a cultured and sophisticated people, originally modelled somewhat on the now dead Kingdom of the Tiquaitan. It is through a well-established balance of rationality and passion that the Tarshiinites have achieved their seat of power within Kaerath Well, they are not present at all within the actual Moredein Kaerath, are they? that's just the land north of the germon D. and due to the multiplicity of their strengthan intruiging word, but i have no idea what miltiplicity in this context means :P, the Tarshiinites make either an invaluable ally or formidable foe- the Tarshiinite's have little time for neutrality.


Location

The Scepteres is located in Nybelmar's Western Bay, north of the overground holdings of the Trumarim and south of the Kazai Morchin-i. It holds the most of the Western Coast of any of the nations, with perhaps the exception of the Inami wastes, though the general chaos of the region somewhat excludes them from holding the title of 'civilised nation'. As mentioned before, the relatively thin strip of land is sandwiched inbetween the choppy Western seas and the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth.


Description

The Scepteres of Tarshiin are characterised by a rustic serenity, their realms being shrouded in an air of activity and dynamism isn't activity the opposite (somewhat) of serenity?, reflecting perfectly the Tarshiinite philosophy that things in motion are the essence of beauty. Specifically the nation can be divided into a number of distinct scenes:

The Agrarian Tear

Occupying the Southern Extent of Tarshiin, 'The Agrarian Tear' is the agricultural centre of Scepteres and is the grain basket of the rest of the nation, providing the staple Rila Flour, Honey and one of Tarshiin's most famous and popular exports, Silk. As the agricultural heart of the nation, the Tear itself is littered with wide open fields of proud golden Rila Hey now, no undermining my Hububat trade! ;) that provide a startling contrast to the concentrated buildings of the cities to the North. However despite the tranquility and perpetual sunlight darting through the silhouettes of the grain fields, the air of busyness does not abstain from The Tear, the constant chattering of silk weavers at work, the soft crack of husks in the mills or the melodic buzzing of honey bees all showing that The Tear is as lively as any of the bustling metropoli.

The Black Coasts

The ironically named Black Coasts towards the south and central areas of Tarshiin consist of sparkling white beaches set against romantically aggressive rock pools and sea caves. Named 'black' due to the traditional Tarshiinite ink industry that revolves around the area, the Black Coasts epitomise the Tarshiinite infatuation with water, the ferociously choppy waves further exemplifying how movement and motion underpin a number of important philosophical teachings to its inhabitants. The bounty provided by the oceans to the coastal settlers embellish the Tarshiinite diet with a whole manner of delectable seafood that rivals even the Gondolwenmith, a cornucopia of delicious colour born out of the monochrome juxtaposition of white sands and dark waters.

The Lakes of Kimka

Generally considered the most beautiful region of Tarshiin, the undulating landscape of the Kimka composes itself in a weave of rivers and streams born at much greater altitudes in the peaks of Germon Doilth, pouring down into idyllic wetland into expansive basins, eroding against rock and soil, creating picturesque lakes that reach into as far as the eye can see. With steep, rapid currents in some areas set against calm, tranquil awe-inspiring meres, the waters of Kimka readily demonstrate the two facets of Tarshiin- the contemplative stillness of thought and the aggressive tenacity of proactivity.

As well as providing some of the most breathtaking vistas in the nation, the lakes of Kimka are vital to the prosperity of Tarshiin, being the centre of the gold-panning trade. With seemingly endless supplies of fragmented wealth flowing through the sediment of the rushing Kimka waters, the panning of gold in Tarshiin has embellished the nation with unbelievable prosperity, also leading Kimka to become the homes of the affluent Tarshiinites, their extravagent fancies also causing Kimkatee, the region's capital, to become an artistic (if not hedonistic) paradise.

The Fragrant Hills

Previously belonging to the Tsohamin and still referred to as their 'spiritual home' by those who reside in the Municipen di Fa, the Fragrant Hills are a landscape somewhat reminiscent of the rolling hills in the Plains of the Faen, though inhabited by a whole manner of other flora and fauna. Rich in natural diversity, it is from the patchy woodland and tall grass that a whole number of natural ingredients can be garnered for the Tarshiinite alchemists, forming nature's fruits into a whole number of potions and powders. As their name would suggest, the Fragrant Hills are dominated by an assortment of aroma, though in ways one might not expect. Though there is no shortage of flowers, some of the most pungent scents come from the barks of flora such as the Sweetbark Tree, whose bark can be used to make a popular Tsohamin sweet, or even more unusual sources, such as the Mint Dove, whose dried excrement produces a delightful, minty perfume (as long as you distance the product from where it came from).

The serenity of the Fragrant Hills is frequently disturbed by bloody clashes between the military and militant Tsohamin, usually banded together through the dissatisfaction that life on the 'Tsohamin Reservations' affords. As such their is strong juxtaposition between the expansive tranquility that the scenery presents and the ruthless metallic thump of the mobilised military machine. Is that a good word, considering this setting?

Coat of Arms

The official insignia of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as well as the symbol of the Tarshiinite Priesthood, is simply three vertical parallel lines spaced an equal distance from one another. Though there are no specific colours associated with the coat of arms, though the shade is important, as if the lines are darker than the background, the insignia is representative of the state, while if the lines are lighter than than the background, the insignia is representative of the priesthood.

However, while there is no preset heraldry, certain schemes can be associated with certain provinces, cities or even important buildings. The Grand Temple in Shintee, for instance, uses banners pure white lines set against a Goldspun silk background. As such, any delegation or convoy flying these colours within Tarshiin commands almost immediate respect, while in foreign lands they are usually received as an omen of impending war based on the Priesthood's aggressive reputation.


People and Culture

The population of the Scepteres of Tarshiin, as one might guess from the name, is predominately made up of the Tarshiinite men. However, the lands that constitute the nation have historical ownership from two other tribes, the Tsohamin and the (now extinct) civilisation of the Ancient Tiquaitan. In modern climes though, the Tsohamin are marginalised  to such an extent that now the largest community of Tsohamin actually exists within the Municipen di Fa, where they are free from persecution.

Despite the aggression displayed against the Tsohamin since the end of the Republican Wars, the shared roots of the Tarshiinites and Tsohamin do reflect still within mainstream Tarshiinite culture, perhaps most notably the architecture of their oldest cities, where architects abided by the spiritual doctrines of the Kunijen faith still followed by the Tsohamin today.

The Tarshiinites

The Tarshiinites present themselves as an odd duality, guided both by doubtless allegiance to their religion and a strong appreciation for rationality, logic and productivity. Standing tall for humans at over a ped and two fores Is that tall for a caelerethian human? I mean, i'm not very tall, and i'm almost 2 palmspans longer than that.. for both genders and glowing from their lives bathed in Injera, the Tarshiinites hold a proud, healthy appearance. Through their lives of religiously prescribed exercise most Tarshiinites hold a well-toned psyche, despite their horrendously indulgent diets and integration of alcohol into any and all occasions. (More information on Tarshiinite appearance as well as their obsessive attitude towards hygiene can be found in the appropriate entry).

One of the central Tarshiinite principles is that of productivity, which paves the way for a huge number of pursuits and occupations. As the ruling tribe in one of the most prosperous and powerful nations in Western Nybelmar, Tarshiinites tend to have an innate desire for expansion and conquest. As such they have a thriving military which attracts all classes of society to its ranks. Possessed by a quest for knowledge and understanding Tarshiinite churns out some of the greatest scholars in all the continent, with alchemists and engineers that can hardly be matched by its neighbours.

As a result it is odd that, unlike most of their neighbours, the Tarshiinites do not pursue the magic and arcane. While they obviously do not lack the aptitude to understand sorcery, there are a number of compounding factors that result in a Tarshiinite abstinence from spellcraft. Around the time the Tarshiinites began to turn from their simple roots in agriculture and began the construction of their first cities (circa 4600 b.s.) the Tarshiinites had already witnessed the corrupting influence of magic in greater societies, including the Faen expulsion of the Morshani Earth Magi to the Northern Wastes in 4700 b.s. and the violence incited by the Sorcerers of the Akalara Sun Cult in 4623 b.s.. While there were exceptions to the rule, such as the high-standing of Fire Magi in Orcal, there seemed to be a highly critical attitude towards magic in the ancient times of the Western Bay. If these historical teachings were not enough to dissuade budding wizards, a hugely  influential writing much later by the Tiquaitan philosopher Aroonate Masmalama in 3605 b.s. highlighted magic as the pursuit of reality in falseness. By the time of the rise of the Tarshiinite Priesthood these social rejections of magic had been integrated into the dogma, with sorcery seen as a forbidden practice due to the way it interferes with the natural course of the spirits (see Religion). As a result, by the time the second wave of magic surfaced in Kaereth (with the arrival of tribes like the Amorai) the Tarshiinites had already closed their minds on the matter, though over time they became more and more accepting of its practice elsewhere.

In addition to their pursuit of pragmatism the Tarshiinites have developed a spirit of adventure, where people strive to emulate the exploits of great treasure hunters such as the fictional 'Otapii'. Perhaps the height of the adventurous Tarshiinite occupation is that of the Tugaru Divers. Investing enormous sums of money in apparatus that allow them to breathe underwater for variable periods of time and regularly ingesting a whole manner of alchemical concoctions to overheat themselves and offset the freezing temperatures of ocean waters, the Tugaru Divers seem to represent a culmination of scientific knowledge and intrepid bravery and as such represent the true multiplicity of what it means to be a Tarshiinite. Employed in either academic exploration of the Western Bays expansive coral reefs or diving for pearls, the Tugaru Divers are most definitely Tarshiinite-incarnate.

The Tsohamin

The Tsohamin would seem to be the stockier, rougher counterpart of the Tarshiinites. Characterised by their fiery red hair colour, which is grown into an almost bestial mane by men and is kept at shoulder length for women, the Tsohamin are a hardy, muscular people. Somewhat shorter than the Tarshiinites with a richer, dark brown skin coloration set against the warm Tarshiinite tan, the Tsohamin express a strength and resilience in their gait and demeanour.

First and foremost the Tsohamin are workers. In the thousands of years since their arrival in the Western Bay they have continued to rear semi-domesticated boars and goats and many stay true to these unfaltering traditional occupations. The Tsohamin are dominated by their absolute veneration of Kunijen and, without it, it is not inaccurate to say there would be little purpose to the lives of simple livestock keepers. Famous for their worship practices, where it is believed chiefly that imitating a spirit shows it deep respect, the Tsohamin are able to enter a number of roles under the guise of its patron spirit (or 'Kuni'). The most renowned of all the spiritual venerations is that of the Reikuni or 'Rage Spirits', whereby Tsohamin adopt the roles of chaotic, destructive spirits, honing their combat abilities with meticulous practice to show respect (and to appease) the Reikuni themselves.

It is through their religious training in weaponry that easily the most successful of the Tsohamin pursuits came into existence, that of the Tsohamin Mercenary. It is thought that at least two thirds of all Tsohamin meybe mention here that this profession is shared fairly evenly mongst both male as female Tsohamin? At least i envisioned it were. are professional mercenaries, chiefly in the employment of the Faen which, since the reformation of the 'Old Nation', have had no organised army of their own. Deadly warriors in battle, famous for a seeming invulnerability during the heat of battle, the devastating impact of the barbaric onslaught of the Tsohamin hand scythes has left them amongst the most frightening foes on the continent. It is actually quite ironic that the Tsohamin consider themselves to be pacifistic and that they only engage in such mortal combat as the crux of religious duty.

State Organization

The governing of Tarshiin is separated into three very distinct authorities that co-exist with one another: the Jartanic government, the military and the priesthood.


The Jartanic Government

 Firstly, the Jartanic Government, which represents the bureaucratic and political arm of the state, is (theoretically) the most powerful arm of the state. The government itself can be divided into a number of echelons: the free assembly, the open house, the Senate and the Jartan.


The Free Assembly

Essentially the most democratic of the echelons, 'The Free Assembly' is open to all citizens of Tarshiin and has one date every month reserved in Goshuntee's Tarajuni Hall (which is also used on a full-time basis by the Open House). One the specified date every month debates are held and directed by the 'Speaker' of the Open House, who then compiles the concerns of the public to be addressed at the next session in the Open House. The debates within the assembly are known for their rowdiness, however, especially concerning controversial issues. As such many refute that the assembly actually provides anything useful, critics suggesting it is a superfluous link to 'normal' people to make the state seem more relatable.


The Open House

Where most politicians will find themselves, 'The Open House' is the main occupant of the Tarajuni Hall and is open to anyone who has an academic qualification in politics (usually attained from universities in the Northern City of Jirai). Meeting around ten times every month (at the discretion of the speaker) the Open House is, as the name suggests, open to any topic. As they are discussed by professional academics, the conclusions and solutions that are deduced by the Open House are greatly respected by the higher branches of the government.

While the Open House has a tendency to build upon the issues brought up in the Free Assembly in conjunction with other recent changes in Tarshiin since the last meeting (which can, in some cases, be only a day ago), it is commonplace for the Senate to refer issues to the Open House before they discuss them completely. These referrals usually concern legislative changes and have resulted in the creation of the 'Open House Veto' to give the Open House more actual clout. Though rarely used and only ever successful in a handful of cases, the Speaker of the Open House can attempt to veto a decision made by the senate, though only if they can gain a majority of at least nine tenths.


The Senate

Comprising of twelve senators, the High Commander, a Grand Priest from the Priesthood and seated by the Jartan, the senate are generally considered the most powerful facet of the government. As a single body they possess a whole number of important powers. If they can gain a majority of nine or more they are able to veto legislation, expenditure changes and resolutions proposed by the Jartan.

Additionally, the twelve 'normal' senators are elected by a civllian vote, parallel to elections for Provincial Governors. The usual term length for both senator and governor is five years and as such, when the officials enter their fourth year of office they begin their re-election campaigns (though a rival's campaign may have been ongoing for the whole term). Three months before the completion of a five year term votes are conducted in each of the twelve provinces, with each ethnically-Tarshiinite adult (anyone over the age of 16) having a vote for both governor and senator.


The Jartan

The Jartan, thereotically, has the most power in all the state. Unless opposed by a suitable majority in the senate, the Jartan does have great control over how the state affairs are ordered. The Jartan, does not, however, pull all the strings, lacking for instance the ability to declare war without the agreement of the Senate or the joint blessing of both the Military and Grand Temple.

The seat of the Jartan is decided by a vote between the twelve elected senators, nominating one of their peers. Since all the senators are elected by the civilian public, it is thought that by proxy the entire nation has a say in who is declared Jartan. Due to the perceived omnipotence of the role, an important part of elections for senatorhood is who the candidate intends to give his vote for Jartan to, as this is the only real influence the normal citizens have in this massively important decision.
 
The Military

Parallel to the more mundane political system, the military, for the most part, is considered a body that is independent from the government. When, thousands of years ago, the military capacity of Tarshiin began to grow their power in Tarshiin was enormous. Being of equal if not greater influence to the Jartanic Government, a series of unsuccessful but frightening coups had given the Generals and Admirals a stranglehold over the Jartan until the emergence of the Priesthood amidst the Black Throat Fever epidemic (See 'Priesthood' below).

In times since the Priesthood's ascension the bulk of the Military has been absorbed into the 'Armies of Faith' under the Grand Temple's direct control, taming the once unruly beast. The independent army and navy have been significantly downsized to around a third of the Priesthood's, and while there were initial power struggles with bloody consequences, the physical ability of the Priesthood to put down any dissidence and their mental ability to manipulate the figureheads of the military through the Vassal System has long since kept the aggressive power of Tarshiin within the Grand Temple's hands.

However, the remnants of the military's dominating past still exist. By far and large, soldiers and sailors are treated in a completely different way than normal citizens, seen perhaps most dramatically by the introduction of a completely separate legal system affecting members of the military. Due to whole number of fundamental differences there is a whole 2nd whole in this sentence other system in place designed to deal with the iron fist of Tarshiin.


The Courts of the Sword and Sea

While not directly related to the politics of the military 'caste' in Tarshiin, The Court of the Sword and The Court of the Sea (dealing with land-based soldiers and naval sailors respectively) are of huge importance to the lives of military personnel. With various branches throughout the Scepteres, whenever the civillian security services apprehend an accused criminal they must be sent for a trial at the nearest military court. With every Tarshiinite who has completed the standard training relinquishing their status as 'civilian' to 'armsman', these establishments are often very busy, with soldiers and sailors having a reputation for bending the law more so than others.

Generally run by senior (and thus older) members of the respective armed forces who are now unfit for service and have the necessary legal education, the 'Swordjudges' and 'Seajudges' have sole authority over how a criminal armsman is dealt with. Since trials are conducted in private courts without a jury, on many occasions with only the guard who detained the armsman and the accused himself, the sentence given to lawbreakers revolves around entirely on how the judge feels about the situation. While a whole number of crimes carry much harsher possible sentences under military law, such as assault which can be punished by exile, many offences treat the armsmen in a favourable light; theft, vandalism, hostage-taking and poaching, amongst others, warranting incredibly minor fines. 


The Armed Coffer

The only division of armsman politics which isn't run entirely by those who have served in combat, 'The Armed Coffer' orchestrates both the payment and taxation of serving armsman. Taxes applied to armsmen are notoriously lower than those decided upon by the Jartanic government, making them exempt from times of economic hardship throughout the nation.


The Armed Councils

With the navy and army maintaining their own committees, the Council of the Sea, made up of the Admirals and seated by the High Admiral, and the Council of the Sword, made up of the Generals and seated by the High General, are the second most powerful body in deciding how the affairs of the military are orchestrated, often making important liaisons with the Jartanic government in times of war. The Armed Councils also play an important part in the training and stationing of the military across Tarshiin, or rather they give a general gnosis to their legion of underlings.


The Triple Triple? of the Legion

Made up of the High General, High Admiral and lead by the High Commander, who is chosen by a joint decision between the current Jartan and the other two committee members. The Triple of the Legion only meet in times of great need, almost exclusively during war, where they can declare 'Martial Autonomy' and use their forces how they see fit without the government's approval. The powers of the Triple, however, only come into their own when an official declaration of war has been made by the government, since a variety of unsuccessful but devastating coups littered the Tarshiinite past before the military was centralised.

The Tarshiinite Priesthood 

During the build up to the First Gonol-Tarshiin War, the Gondolwenmith Amor Sedia Martia famously stated 'The Scepteres of Tarshiin are a nation who dress in the clothes of an academic, dynamic democracy, where only a few scratches on the surface will reveal a mindless, dogmatic, de facto theocracy, with the Grand Consulate of Psuedo-Holy Men presiding over every minute nugget of activity throughout the lands'.

Now while it we must respect the right of the enemy to exaggerate their foes shortcomings on the political stage, the aforementioned quote is not entirely inaccurate. Since long before the Republican Wars, when the Kingdom of the Tiquaitan still reigned as the dominant power of the Western Bay, the Priesthood have had an amazing level of control within the political and martial framework of Tarshiin.

Revealing themselves as bearers of vitality during the devastating Black Throat Fever epidemic, which was crippling the then atheist nation in all of its echelons, the desperate state of affairs in which the Priesthood arrived allowed them free-reign in dictating their will in reforming the broken country. Though there is little documentation and historians in this area often generate a number of conflicting ideas, it is thought possible that the fever's cure which the Priesthood had managed to acquire was only to be administered to Tarshiin in exchange for a number pivotal powers within the Scepteres.



The Army of Faith/ Fleet of Faith

The Priesthood maintains its own armies and fleets in complete separation from the government. The forces themselves are approximately a three times the size of the actual state's armed forces, and are much better equipped, paid and treated, having the additional benefit of being held to account under The Holy Law. Though in all major conflicts the two armies have co-operated, the selfish aims of the Priesthood are often orchestrated through their armed branch, the sacking of Tsu, for instance, being attributed to Priesthood.

Furthermore, since the absolute authority on the Priesthood's armies and fleets is the Grand Consulate, generally consisting of five very war-hungry Grand Priests, a handful of conflicts between Tarshiin and other nations (particularly the Kazai)  are thought to have been initial strikes by the Priesthood, reported as unprovoked foreign aggression. These false claims then prompt a decision in the senate to wage full-scale war.


The Courts of Faith

Similarly to the independent legal system governing soldiers and naval sailors, the Priesthood and all its associated branches (such as the armsmen serving in the Priesthood's military) have their own law and court which deals with their misdemeanors. Unlike the scattered branches that constitute the Court of the Sea and Court of the Sword, there is only one single building which can adjudicate criminal accusations agaisnt members of the Priesthood- The Court of Faith in Shintee, a city which acts as the hub of all the Priesthood's activity. The Court of Faith itself is seated by one of the Grand Priests, and similarly to the absolute power held by the Sword/Seajudges, the final decision in whether or not the accused is prosecuted is based solely on their decision.

The Court of Faith itself is notorious for its soft sentences agaisnt members of the priesthood, with murderers, thieves and smugglers receiving nothing more than an inconvenient fine, or in cases of remorseless offenders 'severance', a process which exiles the criminal from the Priesthood by using aceeds to remove their distinguishing forehead tattoos and in a majority of cases, exile from the realm of Tarshiin as a whole. Jail sentences or executions are practically unheard of, unless the victim of the crime is also a member of the Priesthood. 

Many criminals that are governed by the 'Holy Law' are often never taken to trial. Since the chances of receiving a substantial punishment are practically non-existent, the accused would need to be taken to the City and the fact that the Court of Faith actually charges a fee on every case it judges, it seems like far less hassle to simply allow the holy man to slide through the net- making the Priesthood, in many instances, above the law.


Vassals

Probably their most powerful method of controlling Tarshiin, the Priesthood maintains vast numbers of 'vassals'- personal spiritual advisors who have the convenient ability as priests to define morality. As a result, by supplying individuals of important powers its either "individuals of power" or "important individuals" with incredibly influential vassals, whose ability to define morality to a fiercely religious people is by no means always observed with the purest intentions, the Priesthood is able to underhandedly lead people of power to make decisions that favour their own ambitions. We do have a thing for theocracies, don't we? We've got the ''vikh, morchini, faen, and tarshiinites all under spiritual government, effectively..

The network of vassals is remarkably huge, with most important military officers, wealthy merchants, mayors, provincial governors, senators, diplomats and judges having their own personal vassal assigned to them to ensure their 'moral health'. One of the Consulate's Grand Priests also acts as the Holy Vizier to the Jartan, allowing the Priesthood to exert incredible control over the nation should the Jartan be especially weak-willed or impressionable.


The Grand Temple

Situated in Shintee along most other important protrusions of holy bureaucracy, the Grand Temple is both an organisation and a building. Within the Grand Temple, besides the gigantic sermon halls and serene meditation gardens, cohorts of high-ranking priests organise the internal affairs of the Priesthood. While the duties performed by the priests within the Grand Temple vary from maintenance of the grounds to the archiving of delivered sermons, the main business of the Temple circulates around the expenditure of the Priesthood's gargantuan budget. Since approximately a third of all money earned by a Tarshiinite in their lifetime is donated to the Priesthood, as well as the Grand Temple taking a significant cut of the Senate's taxation coffers, the Grand Temple is by far the wealthiest institution on the Western Bay. As great investors in Kimkanite land, a region of lakes littered with gold-laden waters, the Grand Temple continues to expand its wealth, and with most of its enterprises remaining self-sufficient, the Priesthood itself is afforded a luxurious and powerful existence.


Grand Consulate

The upper tier of the Priesthood and the absolute authority on all of its members is the Grand Consulate- a council of the five Grand Priests. While their concrete powers within Tarshiin are mostly undefined, their influence matches if not exceeds that of the Jartan. Between them they must fulfill a number of duties, such as the deliverance of three daily sermons to pilgrims amassing at the Grand Temple, seating the Court of Faith, occupying their seat in the Senate or acting as the Jartan's Holy Vizier (the latter two requiring them to live in the capital Goshuntee). However, these duties are not particularly demanding and as such much of the time the Grand Consulate concerns itself with using the Grand Temple's vast wealth to pursue their own aims and ambitions. It is known, for instance, that the Grand Consulate during the Republican Wars were particularly devious, beginning to orchestrate a mass repossession of profitable Tiquaitan land around ten years before the Kingdom fell.

The Grand Consulate itself is a very exclusive group. Once you have been promoted into its ranks you remain there until death, at which point a promising candidate is usually selected from the current High Vassals. In order to enter the consulate, however, all current Grand Priests and the Jartan must agree that the candidate is suitable for the job. However, if a unanimous majority is achieved from the Grand Priests that disagrees with the Jartan, the decision is made nonetheless and the Jartan's vote is discarded. Resultantly, it is often seen that the Jartan's vote in the process simply shows his blessing rather possessing any actual clout in the decision making.


Climate

The citizens of Tarshiin enjoy a very favourable climate. Flanked by the domineering peaks of the Germon Doilth, the Scepteres is sheltered from the ravaging winds of the Municipen but still manages to inherit the crop-quenching rainfall that blesses the agricultural heart of the Kazai Morchin-i throughout the colder seasons.

The settlements of Tarshiin, particularly along the coast, experience pleasing amounts of sunshine from the advent of spring to the fall of autumn, creating a warm but precipitous middle of the year, creating a number of romantic vistas along airy Tarshiinite streets punctuated with bursts of skin-warming showers

However, at any time in the year there is great variation in the temperatures. While the injera bathed sands of the Tarshiinite beaches can reach somewhere between 2.5 and 3 periks at the peak of summer, the northeastern foothills of the Doilth can drop to even less than half a perik, as the warming sea currents from the western oceans dissipate into the easterly lowlands. We have a sea current running from the coast into the mountains? Now that would be a sight indeed.. At the upmost limit of the foothills, at such high altitudes where one becomes dangerously close to the Germon Doilth themselves, it can become bitterly cold. In the past it is well documented that it is in fact so cold that in the depths of winter one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena graces the brink- a dusting of snow, which most Tarshiinites or Tsohamin will only see once or twice in their lives.


Economy

The Scepteres of Tarshiin is rich in both resources and industrious inhabitants, and is perhaps a prime example of how nature's bounty can be cultivated and harvested without scarring the land irreparably (as, for instance, could be seen in the mass deforestation of Zhun). Distanced from their origins as small-scale crop-growers, the Tarshiinite economy classically centred around four main trades: Ink, Silk, Sea-salt and Honey. However, after the dust settled at the end of the Tiquaitan Republican Wars, the Tarshiinites inherited the crown jewel of their fallen foe, the Lakes of Kimka. Through their expansion upon the existing infrastructure established by the Ancient Tiquaitan, the Tarshiinites quickly became the principle exporters of gold throughout Nybelmar. As the monopolies of Tarshiin grew in size, flushing wealth into all of the Scepteres' provinces, the economy of the state became more and more prosperous.

There is an odd balance between entrepreneurship and state control in the economy of Tarshiin. While anyone with sufficient investments can capitalise on the bounty of Tarshiin for their own financial designs the main impediment to expanding business in the nation is land ownership. Though no different under the law from a commercial landowner, huge regions in Tarshiin belong either directly to the provincial governor or one of the consortia affiliated with the Grand Temple. As such, while there is no such thing as a completely worthless piece of land within the Scepteres, laying your hands upon it is usually the greatest task. replace with 'challenge'?

Resources

The territories making up Tarshiin are rich in resources:


The Coasts

The traditional domain of the Tarshiinites, the coasts of the Scepteres are the heart of the nation's oldest industries. Aside from the huge numbers of delicious seafood, rivaling that of Gondolwain, the Tarshiinite sea filters huge numbers of sea-salt onto the picturesque beaches. You do know that seasalt doesn't just wash up on the shores, do you? 'cause that's about how it's worded here. Possibly the oldest of the Tarshiinite occupations, the salt trade has been a steady one for thousands of years, with the landlocked realms to the south and the east demanding it for a whole number of pragmatic uses.

The Tarshiinite waves also yield the Filachara or 'Ink Dumplings', a creature as odd as it is useful. Possessing the unfathomable ability to reconstruct itself after grevious wounds, Filachara have long since been farmed for their plentiful ink sacs. With the consideration that these unique sources of ink are perhaps the epitome of renewable, the ink industry in Tarshiin has been one that can always cater to the economic climate.   


The Agrarian Tear


Besides providing Tarshiin with cattle and all the associated products, the Agrarian Tear is the oldest territory belonging to the Tarshiinites and has changed little through the ages. The Tear has the most suitable climate for agriculture, and yields huge amounts of grain, crops and meat to feed the nation.

The Tear is, notably, also the home to two very small yet very important creatures: the silkworm how uncharacteristically unimaginative of you! and the malise.  Both of these creatures have been the target of Tarshiinite pragmatism and, as such, have developed into unbelievably effective trades for the nation.


The Lakes of Kimka

While the old Zhunite phrase 'and even the waters run with gold' was never really seen as a practicality by those in Southern Nybelmar, the sheer volume of gold which flows through Kimka's rivers is inconceivable. The waters are so rich in the precious metal that the gold panning industry has easily remained the most profitable in Tarshiin since shortly after the Republican Wars. The value of Kimkanite lakes is in fact so enormous that obsolete word deleted the principal river 'Narsira' (a Tiquaitan homage to the innovative King Narsira the Green) generates more revenue than the provinces of Farshun and Tikwa combined.


The Fragrant Hills

Typically seen in the shadow of the industrial regions of Tarshiin, the
Fragrant Hills are far from absent in their produce. Littered with a number of sturdy forests, Tarshiinite lumber is known for its durability all across the continent. Due to its beautiful ashen finish it comes with a finish? naturally? and extreme strength is a prized construction material, a particular favourite of the Ancient Tiquaitan who built most of their three cities with it. Not from stone/bricks then? I'd hate to be paying the cost of that particulr fire-insurance policy..

As the name would suggest, the open spaces of The Hills also cultivate a number of fragrant flora (See Description). Bit unelegant. Either shortlist some fragrant stuff, or make a more general comment about the  industial value/revenue.


The Germon Doilth

Easily the most treacherous of all territories in Tarshiin, so much so that there is no permanent human population, the mountain ranges of the Germon Doilth are home to some of the richest mineral deposits in the Kaereth. While miners have harvested silver from its depths since the reign of the Tiquaitan, the ranges themselves are rich in tin, as well as possessing significantly smaller deposits of copper, though mostly in Morchini-owned regions.

Production

When contrasted against the number of resources within Tarshiin, the number of finished products created by the Tarshiinites is relatively low. Tarshiinite silk, particularly the Goldspun Silk of the Goldworm, is a highly prized fabric both within and outside of the Scepteres, developing a specific rivalry with Gondolsilk. Finished inks, which come in a variety of colours, are another principle export of Tarshiin.

Not much is done with the collected gold by the Tarshiinites beyond smelting. Most Tarshiinite gold merchants make their trade in the easily stored gold bars- allowing other creative types to do with it what they like. There is, however, a very niche market for coloured gold in the continent, and as such there are dedicated craftsmen in Kimka solely for the purpose of its production. An even smaller market within the province is that of damascening which, once a popular art form, has declined in popularity in the last two centuries.

Tarshiinite alchemy is also one of the most advanced throughout all of Caelereth. While much of the nation's formula and products are kept secret, a few examples of Tarshiinite science GAH! YOU USED THE 'S'-WORD! HERETIC! reach other nations: consisting mainly of pastes for the cleaning of teeth.

If the Tarshiinites are proud of anything, however, it is their skills in invention. Possessing some of the most skilled and precise engineers on the continent, Tarshiinites are famed for their production of everything from incredibly accurate thermometers to running hot water and tindersticks, a wondrous invention that ignites a small piece of wood with the smallest amount of effort.

The height of Tarshiinite engineering, however, is that of their weaponry. While the well-disciplined infantrymen of the Tarshiinite army form an ruthlessly effective fighting force in themselves, the Tarshiinite military is famed for the wide array of devastating siege engines they employ. Their naval masterpiece, the Dreadhammer Warships, are so effective in battle that only two were sunk in the ten year Gondol-Tarshiin conflict. However, offensive technology is not always for sale, though military engineers from Tarshiin have historically been in high demand from nations such as Orcal during times of war.

Trade

The Tarshiinites are one of the principle partners of the Faen Merchants, both exporting and importing from the various trading houses that their neighbours operate. The primary exports of Tarshiin are bulk quantities of silk, gold, ink and sea salt, and though most trade is conducted directly with the Faen (who use their wide web to find costumers for the goods) it is possible to trace where the products end up. Though gold tends to carry weight in a number of luxury-loving nations throughout the continent, coloured golds (particularly Rose and Turquoise gold) are a particular fancy of the Aesterans of the Northern Bay. Silk and ink are particularly popular with the Zhunite Citystates of the South, with salt and honey being purchased in high quantities by Tarshiin's longstanding ally the Amorai. In addition to their penchant for the rather domestic products of Tarshiin's economy, the Amorai are also the only other nation with whom the true bounty of Tarshiinite alchemy and technology is shared, with a small proportion of the Amorai armies being equipped with hand-held incendiaries and the (admittedly small) Amorai navies being stocked with Warships of peculiarly Tarshiinite design.

Furthermore, independent of the coventional Faen trade web, Tarshiin also holds a number of trading contracts directly with the Trumarim, where the essential Dwarven Rock Oil is traded for exceptionally large amounts of gold. Whee! Gold!

Imports are an integral part of Tarshiin, with large parts of their culture being dependent on goods unavaliable in the Scepteres. The first love of any Tarshiinite is alcohol, and it is probably a solid claim that the Tarshiinites drink more Jinn than the Morchini who make it; morning, noon and night. The more sophisticated types within Tarshiin, however, have developed tastes for more exotic drinks. As such, both Zhunite Grape and Rice Wine are particularly popular imports. In addition, Tarshiin is one of the few markets in Nybelmar where foreign liquor is actually avaliable (mainly through Gondolwenmith intercontinental trade), and as such Vhodka, Wisk-Away and R'unorian Brandy can be found if you know the right places to look.

As well as satisfying their expensive tastes for alcohol, Tarshiinite cooking also involves larges amounts of frying and as such there are a huge importer of Zhunite olive oil.


Military

Tarshiin is one of the major military powers in North-Western Nybelmar. The Tarshiinite military is a noted institution both within and outside of the Scepteres, the most common way of attaining affluence and social standing in the nation being to distinguish oneself in combat. Distinction, however, is difficult with the extreme skill and discipline of the military, with each serving armsmen receiving excellent education in both the practicalities and tactics of combat.


The Army

The Tarshiinite army is one of incredibly organisation, with the main bulk of the force being made up of infantrymen armed with swords and sheilds large enough to conceal most of their height. The army is famed for its complex maneuvers, most famously the 'Turtle Shell', wherein a unit's shields are arranged into one seamless piece that protects them all.

Despite their effectiveness, the average Tarshiinite infantrymen is taught only three sword strikes, one of which only applies to unarmed targets. However, their limited repertoire is compensated for by their extreme precision. The usual intent is to mortally wound an enemy, rather than the hack away at them zealous. Tarshiinite swordsmen are also notorious slow in their advances, keeping their impenetrable formations by maintaining only a light pace. As such most of Tarshiinite close-combat is counter-active, the Swordsmen relying on the enemy to both get close enough and to provide an opening where a single thrust will be fatal.

The most devastating arm of the Tarshiinite army, however, is its missile forces. Completely bereft of bows, the Tarshiinites have long since armed themselves with spring-loaded Spearlaunchers, an ingeniously designed and relatively lightweight contraption that can fire wooden spears over incredibly distances. Spearshooters (the operators of Spearlaunchers) themselves are given a much more comprehensive education in ranged warfare and are trained to disrupt heavily armoured units, inflict huge casualties on lightly armed troops or to pave a clear path for the central moving body of swordsmen. Exceptionally skilled Spearshooters known as 'Sharpshooters' are deployed to eliminate particularly dangerous or important individuals from long-distances, armed with specifically enhanced Spearlaunchers that measure around twice as long, though are unimaginably accurate in capable hands.

The Tarshiinites have much more to offer than the Spearshooters when it comes to ranged combat, where the Tarshiinite love of engineering and conquering spirit culminate into arguably the most effective siege weaponry on Nybelmar. Whether it is modified Spearlaunchers designed to shoot anywhere up to thirty spears at once, the repeating ballistas which can fire five metal bolts in ten blinks or the huge Firelance catapults which can launch tuns of flaming liquid, the technology the Tarshiinites have developed for warfare is ruthlessly effective.

The crowning jewel of the Tarshiinite army are the Rhino-Mounted Captains, 'The Horn of Tarshiin', a group of warriors as ornate as they are dangerous. Selected only from the cream of the Tarshiinite forces, the Rhino riders are always at the front of battle, relying on both their ceremonial halberds and enormous steeds to devastate the enemy. As The Horn of Tarshiin itself is made up almost entirely of distinguished Captains, Lieutenants and Generals, and as such it is the ultimate aim of every footsoldier to one day earn the privelege of riding atop the White Rhinoceros, an opportunity reserved only for the most adept members of The Horn . However, while the Horn of Tarshiin as an institution is well-acknowledged it does not constitute an actual battalion in itself and as such the highly skilled warriors are assigned to lead or (in the case of incredibly prestigious forces) integrate as a part of one of the existing battalions. The prestige associated to the Rhino Captains however is enormous within Tarshiinite society, with almost every High General having at one point served within The Horn of Tarshiin.


The Navy


Tarshiin is a disproportionately important naval power with regard to the size of its fleet, which is somewhat smaller than that of Anis-Anpagan. The key to Tarshiinite naval success, as with success in all of Tarshiinite pursuits, relies on astuteness. Despite being few in number, the warships of Tarshiin are maritime juggernaughts, being spectacular examples of offensive engineering, making use of much of the siege weaponry used by the army (see above). Such was the devastating effect of the Tarshiinite Navy that after its first mobilisation against Tiquaitan in 1688 b.s. that by 1686 b.s. the entire Tiquaitan fleet had been destroyed or captured. This is particularly impressive since the Tiquaitan were by no means a weak nation, the coalition forces of the Tsohamin and Tarshiinites requiring another 38 years to vanquish their magically-augmented armies.

Tarshiinite intelligence is not only applied to weaponry, but also propulsion. Due to the combined efforts of coventional sails as well as huge numbers of manual rowers, the Tarshiinite navy is amongst the very few that can continue on course through adverse winds and ocean storms. The number of rowers is in fact so large within the Tarshiinite navy that there records of around two thousand 'Rowman' (an unskilled rank in the Navy) who served in both the Tiquaitan Republican Wars and the First Kazai-Tarshiin War but never actually left the lower decks of their ships.

The Tarshiinite navy holds a whole number of ship designs, though the most common is the Hammerhead. Lightly-armed for a Tarshiinite warship with only two ballistas and three Spearlauncher armaments, the principle weapon of the Hammerhead is its heavy iron 'nose'. Streamlined for acceleration, the Hammerheads primary objective is to crash into enemy craft, often with such speed that the opponent is torn in two with the whole Hammerhead passing straight through.

At the opposite end of the scale, the rarest and most powerful of the Tarshiinite warships is the Dreadhammer, a floating beast which is plated in metal and has a top deck of just under half a stral in length, armed to the teeth with all imaginable war machines Tarshiin has to offer. So great is the power of these seafaring monsters that in all history only two have been sunk and one captured (all by the Gondolwenmith). Additionally, despite their enormous power there have never been more than eight in service at anyone time, usually acting as the spearhead of against large fleets or as a single opponent for smaller flotillas.

In a quintessentially Tarshiinite way the navy is laden with specialists, perhaps most famously the Naval Tugarus. Unlike the civillian Tugaru divers who search the ocean commercially for coral and pearls or academically in employment of the Enkyklopadië Nybelmarnica, Naval Tugarus are employed as expert saboteurs. Swimming underwater and penetrating the bottom of a ship's hull and releasing 'Wetflame' into its bowels, an incendiary which ignites more ferociously when wet.


Religion

Context

While each respective tribe of the Scepteres has its own religion, the Tarshiinite attitude of domination towards the Tsohamin is not any different with regard to faith. As a result, the Kunijen (Appeasing the Spirits) faith of the Tsohamin has a very low prevalence, with religious iconography and shamanic rituals being more prominent in Municipen di Fa, where the largest population of Tsohamin live and where they are much freer to worship whatever they like.

While religion is an enormously important aspect of Tarshiinite life, it was not always so cemented. In fact in simpler times, many ages ago, the both Tsohamin and Tarshiinite alike revered the spirits of the Kunijen Pantheon. Even in modern Tarshiin the influences of their previous religion are evident: Tarshiinite roofs have the curved pagoda design since it was believed this would attract Karkuni (Fire Spirits, ones associated with good fortune) and Tarshiinites still continue the practice of hanging wind chimes on the edges of windows, residual from the belief that the twinkling sound kept Suukuni (Water Spirits, associated with harm) away.

However, during the long period of history where the Tarshiinites began to idolise their enormously advanced Northern neighbour the Tiquaitan and distance themselves from their humble origins with the Tsohamin Kunijen was more or less abandoned by the Tarshiinites. Imitating the atheism of the Tiquaitan, Tarshiinites began to invest more and more of their time in the advancing of their civilisation, though no community of philosophers emerged as was the case in the atheistic Tiqua.

However, considering the impact of the Priesthood's arrival (See the appropriate 'State Organisation' section) there was little trouble in Tarshiin accepting the dogma which had cured the largest crisis they had ever known, the Blackthroat Fever Epidemic.


Beliefs

The fundamental assumption of the Tarshiinite faith is that the world is made up of a variety of spiritual essences: The Natural Spirit, The Moral Spirit and the Mental Spirit.

The Natural Spirit is exuded by almost everything, and its concentration causes animated life. Ultimately it is believed that all living things are made to do so by their 'Natural Spirits' . People are made up of this spirit (partially) and it is the only essence shared between humanity and the rest of animal life (as well as trees, rocks etc.). A person's internal physical spirit ultimately keeps them in constant commune with nature as a whole. Pure health cannot be attained if the world's nature is rejected.

The Moral Spirit is specific only to people. Moral spirits are nurtured by positive ethical decisions and choices (though one should note ethics are defined by the Priesthood). The 'centre' of the moral spirit is supposed to be the heart of a person. Amongst other things generosity, strong family bonds and love help to nourish this spirit.

The Mental Spirit (a.k.a. Spirit of the Mind) is also human specific. This essence provides intelligence, rationality and logic if nourished properly. Qoans (generally unfathomable statements) are given by the priests directly or read from Qoan compilations to improve this essences potency. Education and intelligent thought are essential to ensuring the health of this spirit, which is why a lot is invested in Tarshiinite education.

(more information on the details of the Tarshiinite faith can be found in the 'Tarshiinite Men' entry under the relevant section)

Impact within Tarshiin

The power of The Priesthood to define morality and essentially mold what Tarshiinite's consider to be a third of their being should not be underestimated. While for the most part the lower echelons of the Priesthood are of pure intention, with the priests tending to minor temples being reliable sources of guidance, there seems to be a long-standing trend that power corrupts. As such many high-ranking priests, particularly Vassals to influential Tarshiinites, are ordered by the Grand Temple directly to influence their decisions in favour of the Priesthood under the guise of 'morality'.

The ability of the Priesthood to essentially be the absolute authority on what is right and what is wrong permeates throughout the entire society. Such is their dedication to honing their spirits that almost all Tarshiinites wake before sunrise to perform their Shiigar exercises, allocate specific portions of their day for intellectual expansion and spend most of Shiinria ('Day of the Spirit'- The first day of the Tarshiinite week) deep in contemplative meditation.

Perhaps the height of religion's involvement in Tarshiinite affairs is their economic power. With the average Tarshiinite giving around a third of all they will ever earn to the Priesthood in good faith, in conjunction with state subsidies and well-managed business interests, the economic (and thus political) weight pulled by the Priesthood is immense. This, coupled with their substantial, independent military, levies enormous influence and autonomy onto the Priesthood- allowing them to pursue their own aims with relative ease. As such, while their influence in Tarshiinite affairs remains for the most part unofficial and indirect, this does not retract from their potency.


*A gaunt looking Miraran, covered in ink splatters, leaves, and the dust of many strals, emerges from the Scepteres, loonking victorious!* YATTA!

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« Reply #8 on: 05 November 2009, 03:09:16 »

Could I make a little comment? Gold panners don't usually find nuggets, if by that you are talking of something from the size of a dice to that of a softball. The gold that is discovered by panning is usuallythe size of small to large crumbs, as if you were eating stale bread, and you left crumbs everywhere.

Also, they are usually not nuggets, but flakes. Today, it is very easy to find gold if you're panning, but increadibly difficult to make a living panning.

What the miners of the gold rush would do, was to pan to find a stream with a lot of gold, and then they would head upstream and dig a mine their. Alternatively, one of the most popular methods was sluice mining. In sluice mining, they would divert all or part of a river or stream through a sluice box. That is a wooden canal made of wooden boxes place each a little lower than the one before, so that the water fountained from one to the other, and the gold settled to the bottom. If you didn't want to do hydrolic mining (which ruins the landscape), and wanted to avoid mines, a sluicing system would probably be the best way to go, since the water is diverted for a few feet, but then can be sent right back to the stream or river. I've included 2 pictures of sluiceboxes I got off of Wikipedia. You couldn't use them in your entry, but they should give you a visualization of what I'm talking about.
« Last Edit: 05 November 2009, 03:22:24 by Sivartius » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: 05 November 2009, 07:11:37 »

Believe me, going up into the Germon Doilth to try and build a mine is not the most prosperous career you could pick.. and in fact, a rather short one.
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« Reply #10 on: 05 November 2009, 07:28:50 »

Well the 'original innovation' as it were that I had planned to associate with Tarshiin is that they manage to get nature to do a lot of their work for them (lots of irrigation, windmills etc.). But both the faiths that they had followed insist on not harming nature, so this sluicing idea sounds really useful!

Make sure it gets a nice integration into it!

Thanks Sivartius!

And yes Miraran, little profit can be gained from a mine in the Doilth, though it doesnt stop the Kazai and Scepteres fighting over the territory over and over again!
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« Reply #11 on: 05 November 2009, 08:04:06 »

Well, the Morchini want it because the Tarshiinites want it.


Oddly enough, the Tarshiinite reasoning for continuing that particular struggle is rather similar..


(My media player has a very amusing sense of humour sometimes.. it just started playing "Invaders must die" when i typed that up.)
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« Reply #12 on: 03 December 2009, 23:19:02 »

Sorry this took so long guys (a day short of a month!) but I've been swamped with College Work and University Application stuff, and I am using today (where I have a  taken day off due to illness!) to fix this up.

I hope that this is ready for a blarrow now, and thanks to both Miraran and Siv for making the whole thing a lot more fluid and sensical.

Deci
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Weep, and you weep alone.
Decipher Ziron
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« Reply #13 on: 05 December 2009, 22:48:38 »

*shuffles*

....

*coughs*

.....

Well?
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« Reply #14 on: 07 December 2009, 10:29:55 »

*shuffles*

....

*coughs*

.....

Well?

Gone for near a month, and anxious after a couple days!  rolleyes

One quick thing:
Quote
Standing tall for humans at over a ped and three fores for both genders...

From the site:
Quote
Fore: Equals 1/3 of a ped (33 cm), derives from the term "fore arm"

You can do the math. Don't feel to bad. This is what happens when people come after decimals with torches and pitchforks.
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"There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clod, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem..." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn
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