Tales from the Inner Sea
The Turbulent West
The Turbulent West is a generic name and title of a number of warring and feudalist nations, Kingdoms, citystates and powerblocs that cover almost all of the western coastline of the Inner Sea stretching to the Limitless Ocean to the Utter West. The Armavine Empire did come here in the distant past but realised quickly that due to the fluid and mercurial temperament of the peoples living there it was not possible, viable or desirable to try to conquer the lands and their peoples, instead stopping at Menetia and Bassur as the last limits and borders of their civilization. Largely so called “barbarian” cultures, there were many Kingdoms hundreds of years ago who made up this area, and there are still many now. Popular opinion held by most other nations of the Inner Sea is that it is peopled by dangerous, contrary, violent and savage people who don’t know the Grace of the Gods nor the merits of culture and civilization. Though many clans, tribes and realms fit this image, others are harder to quantify in such easy terms. Apart from civilized Vardonne there are 3 main Kingdoms known of (the ones on the coast in the main) and it is these kingdoms that tend to shape the image of how the rest of this large area of territory is perceived, at least by the more civilized east.
A small barbarian kingdom with a population close to 200,000 and a capital city of 10,000 souls called Wynoreth. It covers a heavily forested region roughly in the centre of the Western Coastline. It’s inhabitants live within a Kingdom that has existed for over 1000 years, resisting any attempt at invasion, external alliance and perceived interference. They do trade at a small city on the coast which rarely allows foreigners to proceed into the interior. This isolationist realm is ruled by a King (or Queen) and what is known is that there are communities of elves who dwell within the borders of the land who live in harmony with the humans who in turn live in harmony with the beautiful and awe inspiring mist covered forests and hills that make up so much of the Kingdom. Wynians are famed as woodsmen and archers of almost supernatural skill who kill from hiding any who attempt to harm the people or the land and forests. The religion they follow is a form of Shamanism that has an exceedingly elven slant to it, with heavy mysticism prevalent in day to day life. Missionaries of the Gods are strictly forbidden entry into the land. Any who try can take small comfort in their likely martyrdom. The Wynian musicianship on the harps they play and their haunting melodies in singing can break hearts, and the origins of the stereotype that the blood of woodland, river and mountain nymphs supposedly flows in the veins of the Wynian people can be understood. Few speak Armanian, with their own musical tongue heavily influenced by that of the elven and other Fading People.
This barbarian kingdom occupies a long stretch of land running hundreds of kilometres from the tip of the Snag Peninsula all the way south to the arid hills of the Fated Bay. It is a nation much given to war and almost eternal civil discord, with there having been at least 4 changes of dynasties and ruling families within the last 150 years alone and many different nobles and warlords vying for the throne. The current King is a man called Arbatoth Tenkiller Machand who’s own grandfather slew the previous dynasties king in battle and who fully expects some other rival to try and do the same to him. The population of 600,000 is well used to war and strife and is divided on many different clanlines with many obscure alliances and treaties who have many differences except the ability to hold grudges for hundreds of years and the grim determination to resort to violence as the first and best recourse to disputes and grievances. The capital moves with every dynastic change as custom often holds that the utter destruction of the losing families powerbase and clan occurs with the new capital moving to the victors lands. The image of the proud, painted merciless deathseeking warrior is how most people view a typical Koltovaeran and it seems the people of this brutal land are happy to indulge and perpetuate this view.
Religion within Koltovaere is a further cause of divide with many holding to the old ways of the Shamanistic forefathers and others embracing the Gods, (Perang and Satrom are extremely popular here) with violence often breaking out between the 2 belief systems. Since followers of both can be found within the same settlements on occasion, this doesn’t help civic order.
The military is informal with SwornMen being the main fighting class and bands of enthusiastic Nameseekers making up the numbers. Mercenaries from foreign lands can and do find work here but can often become undone with the swiftness of alliance shifts and the lack of understanding that comes from being a non local. Koltovaere has great resources of iron, copper and tin and makes trade of these things with outsiders.
A Kingdom on the northerly coast of the Turbulent West, its inhabitants live within a land of meadows, light forest and hills with marshlands along the coastline. It is ruled by a King or Queen decided on merit rather than continuous heredity, with the many Nobles of the land convening at the capital city Honodall to decide on a new monarch when the old one dies. The Priestesses of The Silent Lady assist in the transfer of power; this sect follow Sensu in her aspect as Nurturer, Goddess of Love and Life with the Cult being far and away the main religion within this realm. Even Nerukata only has small shrines within the borders of Turlavayne with splendid temples and abbeys to The Silent Lady dotting the land. Given the importance of this Cult, women are greatly honoured and loved within the land and lines are often traced through the female side, with husbands taking the womens surname as a badge of respect and love. The people of the land have always resisted conquerors from without and the over ambitious from within to maintain the lives and institutions that make up this land. It has close to 500,000 people living within it’s borders, and all men are expected to be competent with weapons and to defend the land, the Silent Lady and women at all times. As supposedly “barbarian” kingdoms go Turlavayne has a romantic idealised image amongst some of the more civilized lands, as a typical warrior of the land is well armed, skilled, brave to a fault and honourable, with their honour code approaching some aspects of chivalry. The Turlavaynian attitude towards courtesans is also markedly different to most other nations as their Courtesans are also Acolytes of the Silent Lady, giving worship through acts of love and the promotion of romance and desire to better exalt their divine patron. Within their homeland their status and regard is higher in many ways than that of the nobility, and regarded as Holy with amazing skills and powers regarding love and passion.
The lesser kingdoms and fiefdoms between the 4 main realms in the West are numerous and seem to rise and fall over the years with great rapidity, from great warlords who fleetingly hold onto a powerful holding only to lose it to another down to small heavily fortified towns ruled by a petty noble, fending off attacks from others whilst biding their time for their own chance to expand and make something more of themselves. They ally with the each other with seemingly random abandon (or at least how it appears to the baffled outsider). Religion and magic tends to be a rough divide between shamanistic practices and simple approaches to god worship, though it is also claimed by travellers that some cultures practice human or sentient sacrifice and on occasion such barbarities as headhunting and even cannibalism take place. Then again, the prejudices of the civilized and scornful may be nothing more than fanciful imagination.
Nonhumans within this area also give it an air of barbarity, with broo, giants, centaurs and orcs amongst others being seen upon occasion in the wild and out of the way places.