Charant Aros, Sovereignty of
Capital: Charant Degalos
The second largest of all the nations of the Midlands, the nation hasn't seen a lot of the border fighting that has gone on in the other nations. Situated between many of the other nations, the people of Charant Aros (Chah-rant' ah'-roce) have capitalized on this and are a prime trading nation of the west. Most human merchants that work in other nations come from Charant Aros.
Others can easily pick out human families with deep roots in Charant Aros since they tend to sport a slight green hint to their otherwise human-pigment skin. Many believe the humans of Charant Aros may have a connection to Corinesti blood from centuries ago. Other common traits of an Arosan are strong red hair and sometimes freckles. There are a few local tales that suggest the traits may be a blessing, but from who and for what purpose varies from storyteller to storyteller.
Life and Society
Unlike most other nations in the Midlands, the Charant Arosan society is heavily dominated by the women. Women hold almost all of the government positions, and many run the businesses throughout the country. Men tend more often to jobs such as farming, soldiering, and other physical labor where women focus on both family and administrative matters.
Although the Arosan population is one of the highest in the Midlands, the people are spread out, leaving few major population centers. Charant Aros is known for its large rolling green hills and beautiful rivers and lakes. Even in the dead of winter the land seems to keep most of its color. In these lands, farms cover large quantities of acres along with cattle and sheep ranches. The meat of wild boar is a minor industry in Charant Aros.
Hunters and other folk who prefer the bustle of the villages also tend to live on their own in isolated houses either in the hills or in the vast areas of forest. Others live in trading posts at advantageous locations on often-used trade roads, doing what they can to make a living for themselves.
Upon reaching adulthood, most young Arosans choose to either work to dedicate themselves to a family business or strike out on their own, traveling to another town to try to start up a new life.
Charant Aros used to be a highly spiritual land both prior to the Drowning and the Starfall. Since then, the practicality of needing to survive and build a land founded on peace has become more important. Still, respect is given to the old gods of the Tao-Shin even if they were no longer present. Many of the old holidays and religious practices had been continued straight through the years after the Starfall without fail, although their methods of observance has often been seen as odd and strange by foreigners.
The Tashrama used to be popular in Charant Aros until the existence of the Elder Dragons became known. Since then the number of open supporters of the church has fallen more than 40%. Many were angered and have openly declared support for the Sovereignties in the coming war in response to the deceit.
With the recent return of the Tao-Shin, a spiritual spark has been rekindled in the Arosans. A segment of the population here appears to be rushing to the Tao-Shin faith, but others, scorned by the Tashrama, are very hesitant to put their trust in another church so quickly.
Issues of national importance are dealt with by the Ci'tec. The title is a holdover from Charant Aros' elder days, but it is viewed as an equivalent title to Queen in terms of rulership in the Midlands.
Each town runs its own affairs without interference from the Ci'tec unless specific crimes or grievances are brought before her. She is also a master of ceremonies at many of the national festivals and traditional events. If the Ci'tec wishes to make a change of law for a particular town, she must go to the town personally in order to deliver the proclamation herself. The law and traditions ingrained into the country prevent her from "ruling afar by messenger."
The Ci'tec is selected by an assembly of town elders from across Charant Aros, and the Ci'tec rules for life. There is no process to remove a Ci'tec once she is installed unless one wills to commit the act of murder and accept its harsh penalties. No man may become Ci'tec under any circumstances. The Ci'tec is also seen by many as a leader of people's faith, although she is not tied to any religion or church.
The current Ci'tec, Orla Mievley (N female Midlander human druid 13/hierophant 5), was a hard woman for Montegron to convince when he tried to bring Charant Aros into the Sovereignties. The country was in complete ruin, but yet she refused to accept his aid under the terms he proposed. Eventually, she did accept his proposal (with many stipulations, public and private) and agreed to "entertain his decrees" delivered from FyxZharar. Since then, Montegron has helped Mievley rebuild her nation and develop it into a modern trading community.
Up to this point, Montegron has not had any open trouble from her, but it is rumored that Mievley had attempted to force Montegron into a wedding with herself. It is also rumored she is continuing her attempts, even as he is in his later years.
Most men in the nation are brought up knowing how to fight, usually with fists. When a town or business needs protection, they don't look any further than their own local men. If a group of towns come under threat, then these men group together and quickly form a makeshift army on the spot. Pecking order of who orders who is determined mainly by the women running the various towns, usually the larger towns are given more of the officer positions than the lowly villages and hamlets.
If a dispute arises, usually the men will have their own appointed leaders fight each other to determine who is the stronger and thus the better leader. The women orchestrating the militia often let that method stand in order to quickly move on to dealing with the main threat. The Ci'tec appoints a single man to be her Lu'dyn (lead general) when she directs what she wants the army to do.
This ramshackle way has long frustrated the Great Sovereign Lord, and he has been in talks with Mievley, trying to get her to form a standing military. A small contingent of two hundred men named "The Distant Shout" has been formed with the purpose to become the officers of tomorrow. It is not clear how serious the Ci'tec is in developing this band further.
No woman may join any fighting force in Charant Aros under any circumstance, just as no man may enter a position of leadership.
Magic and Mysticism
Magic and mysticism is seen by most in Charant Aros as wonders to behold, awed, and kept away from unless it was in the will of the gods for one to meddle with. Rarely will a Charant Aros purposefully seek out magic. Many fanciful children's tales involve people who came in contact with magic in one form or another and ended up the worse for it.
There are those who are faithful to the gods, and because of their pious natures are gifted with magic. These men and women are people of great respect among the people. Many will see the most righteous women as close to the gods themselves (men may rise to great renown and ability within the church, but they are forbidden by local custom to take an office of importance within the borders of Charant Aros).
When the Tashrama was exposed as a fraud, many Arosan faithful left the church in disgust, convinced that the magic must be a hoax of sorts, possibly arcane magic made to look like the blessings of gods. A few others are recognizing mysticism as a divine magic of its own right and are trying to determine its own place in the scheme of things, whether related to the Tashrama or not. As for the Tashramadic mystics, one elder has suggested in passing that the Elder Dragons may be land-bound spirits in the process of rising up to become gods themselves. She has also made clear the statement was only conjecture.
Practitioners of the arcane are a puzzle to the eyes of most Arosans. Sorcerers are seen as foolish folk who willingly walk into the torrents of non-divine magic and will end up ruined by it. Wizards are a contradiction to them. They pay respects to a few of the gods but don't worship them, and yet they are gifted with magic. To many Arosans, the arcane is too much of a confusing and dark art for anyone to wisely deal with. No malice is usually directed toward arcane spellcasters, but no respect is beheld at best and fear is given at worse.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
Loec Lieva: This large fresh water lake was formed outside of the capital during the Drowning and was viewed by the survivors as a promise that the gods' love would return. No rivers run into Loec Lieva, but many flow outward in all directions, yet the lake's water level barely changes, even as the moons pull the tides. The lake is always a strong dark blue, except during the Festival of Rebirth, where tens of thousands of red lily flowers are lain out over the surface. The number of days it takes for most of the flowers to be emptied out via the rivers is said to determine the number of births in the coming year.
Mogana Cave: Located on the thin treacherous peak of Kareen Hill, this small cave is a famous location overlooking the Sea of Tears. A legend says that during the early days of Krynn, when the gods warred with each other, one of the gods fell onto the ledge outside of the cave. A mortal traveler fended off beasts to protect the injured woman and brought her into the cave to shield her from the elements. The man, Arosamma, tended to the woman until she was well and only then learned of her divinity. He was blessed by the goddess and promised many children. He pledged his life to serve her, and left the cave a holy man. Many believe this man is supposedly the founder of Charant Aros, and this story dictates why the genders are separated in their duties as such.
Heeden's Wretch: Buried under the hills of southern Charant Aros is a tunnel leading to a ruined city. Many of the superstitious believe the city to had been one run by heathenish witches and unnatural demons a thousand years ago. Exactly what befell them is unknown.
Ancient history suggests that the lands that later became Charant Aros were filled with feuding clans, possibly separate fragments of a forgotten religion. In time they came to a period of peace orchestrated by the first Ci'tec, a woman whose name has likewise been forgotten. Each clan ran their affairs on their own, but the Ci'tec guided all of the clans.
As history marched on, internal wars did break out, sometimes with sides going against the will of the Ci'tec. Sometimes the clans united, whole or in part, against other threats. These periods were not as well documented, but many Arosan legends were born during this time. The earliest well-documented history of Charant Aros began thousands of years ago when migrating dwarves passed through the region heading southeast towards their own religious calling of the Path. Many dwarves recorded their dealings with the Arosans, wondering how a people so withdrawn (at the time) came to have subtle Corinesti traits. Not all of the interaction was peaceful, as some of the Arosan humans did not care for the strange people traveling through, but a majority of the dwarven travelers were left to their own devices. Later on, when the clans began to divide, a few dwarves returned to Charant Aros, leaving their clans, in order to make a new home in the beauty of unspoiled land.
For most eras, the Arosans have had little interaction beyond occasional trade. Most humans had seen their mannerisms and habits as odd and strange, and so they left them alone. This changed when news of the Canon War spread. Ci'tec Glamduin Oenley left the lands of Charant Aros with a vast army behind her. She believed a "Goddess of the High" came to her and said that Charant Aros would fall to great ruin if it did not join the fight against the minotaur threat, and that if it did join, a great gift would be given to her people. The warriors of Charant Aros were considered some of the fiercest fighters in the human-dwarven alliance, fighting under the banner of Charant Aros' starmetal claymore, The Wrath of Light. Charant Aros' involvement in the war only ended when the Drowning came.
The waters rushed through the forests, and uprooted most woods. The Wrath of Light was reportedly swept away, but some storytellers say the massive sword was lost in battle almost forty-years earlier. In the centuries of healing that followed the Drowning, grasslands replaced the scarred land. The survivors replanted many of the forests, but the forests that grew were in vastly different locations. War was no longer the Arosans' concern. Rebuilding the land as it was took precedence. The faith of the people returned to worshipping the gods as a whole rather than individually. The "Goddess of the High" who came to Oenley was now believed to be a deceiver. The people of the land continued to practice their faith, but for many the gods seemed quiet.
What had been rebuilt over almost four hundred years was destroyed in a matter of hours during the Days of Darkness. Corrupt creatures swallowed towns and villages and beasts made of nothing. Yet the people fought bravely, and many survived. Eventually a man by the name of Montegron came and promised to help in the reconstruction of the land in return for a promise to join in his cause to unify the Midlands under a secure rule. Ci'tec Orla Mievley eventually agreed, but only after Montegron conceded to a multitude of conditions, many of which Mievley did not let the public become aware of. Since then, many Arosan men have gone off to join the military might of the Sovereignties, but the formal armies of Charant Aros remain purposefully weak. Some say that Mievley, for all of the grief she gives the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron, is secretly infatuated with him.
Charant Degalos (Metropolis 59,643): The capital of Charant Aros is a vast district of open land and sparse houses. A consistent spread of homes stretches out from the eastern shore of the lake Loec Lieva, heading further eastward. A traveler entering the Charant Degalos will be hard pressed to believe it really is a city, and it can be debated that it isn't. With such a low population density, it does not have the bustle and clutter of most large towns. But due to the consistency of the construction, there is no clear way to define a border. So the land is considered a single settlement even though thousands of square miles are included.
Dirt paths wind between the hills and trees, and many use horses in order to travel from one part of the city to another. Trading houses line sections of the main roads, and property owners tend to the grassy fields on their land. The Ci'tec lives in a modest home near Loec Lieva, and often conducts her affairs outside under the trees and sun.
Several families are donating land for the cause of turning the homes into a temple for the Tao-Shin. This is not widely popular to many of the local residents.