"... And when Jumala finished eating the inside of the world, He created all of the races known today; the Ihminen (humans), Keijukainen (elves), Eläimet (the animal races such as the Culdranth and the Alo Faci), and us, the Pikku Falk (dwarves). While the others were spread across the new lands, He put us upon Nordica, where resources were the most prevalent. And He told us what to do, and showed us how to follow His example, by extracting what we can from the soil and using it for our gain. And we were to become powerful. He left us, and all of the world, but not before telling us what we would dub it... Jumalatar. And so that is what we call this world, in honor of Him, He who showed us all." - Jumalantekstiä 2:6.
The Kingdom of the Little Folk
"Upon crossing the Kylmä Straight, you'll find yourself in Nordica, and specifically, the Pikku Falk Kingdom. Here be a land much different than many other Western nations, such as the ones in Mizricana. Consisting of steppes, plains, and forests, the surface of the continent hides the vast network of mines, caves, and other subterranean dwellings below. Great walled cities lay along the southern coasts, and caravans are often seen traveling from them to other cities, villages, mines, farms, and factories. Here is a land of a proud, unyielding people, who refuse to adapt to ways of life other than their own. Here, magic seems to run through everything, and is what turns the great clockwork gears that power the nation. Welcome to the land of the Pikku Falk."
- The West, a guidebook to Nordica and Gamascia, published in 9819 AW.
The Kingdom of the Little Folk is a relatively large nation located in Nordica, inhabited by the small, unusual species known as the Pikku Falk, or Little Folk, commonly referred to by other races as "Dwarves". Founded sometime in 6699 AW after the unification of the various Dwarven clans in the area, the Kingdom has proven to be an effective nation capable of sustaining a successful economy, army, and international relations.
Due to their location, the Kingdom consists of dry, snowy high lands and deep forests, while underneath lies massive underground caverns and mines, both natural and artificial. The Dwarven people are known for their love of mining, of which is their main industry next to ironworking and other crafts related to it. In fact, Dwarven tools and ore dug from their mines are renowned world wide as being some of the finest known.
While many dwarves live in small villages and towns out in the wilderness, guarded by small garrisons of soldiers, many others live in the large, walled cities around Rautainen Bay and the southern coast. Various mines and factories dot the landscape, and around some of the largest cities smokestacks can be seen towering for miles around.
While Dwarves were once quite wary of magic, in the early 9300s AW several significant advances in technology allowed the Dwarves to somehow harness it's powers for their own needs, allowing them to build more effective mining machines, heavy processors for factories, and weapons. In fact, the most common weapon given to general infantry is a musket-like firearm capable of shooting a concentrated beam of magic. Of course, traditional gunpowder weaponry is still quite common among some regiments, although they are slowly being phased out in favor of the new firearms.
The Kingdom stretches across the southern part of Nordica, from the Kylmä Straight to the eastern coast. It is divided into four regions; Jokimaa, Rautapuu, Mienlannd, and Lauhkean Saari. Jokimaa covers the peninsula formed between the Kylmä Straight, the southern coast, and Rautainen Bay. Rautapuu is the area directly around Rautainen Bay. Mienlannd is the area stretching from the bay to the eastern coast. Lauhkean Saari is the smallest region and consists of the small island of Lauhkean off of the south-eastern coast of Nordica. Each region is ruled by a jarl, with each jarl reporting directly to the king themselves. Rautapuu contains the capital city, Keskikotiin, which is erected on a small peninsula leading into Rautainen Bay and is the largest city in the Kingdom.
Keskikotiin in 9800 AW.
The Free Province of the Little Folk
"The Pikku Falk most understand that the crown's tyranny is what's keeping them from achieving greater things. The Free Province is set to rectify that." - Pauli Nikula, 9706.
In 9704, the province of Suuri Pitkälle was seized by a rogue army of Pikku Falk soldiers, led by General Pauli Nikula. Over the year the Tasavalta Eroaminen (Republic Secession) occurred, and in a brutal military conflict that led to the death of King Miskko, the province of Suuri Pitkälle was able to leave the kingdom and became known as the Vapaa Maakunnassa Pikku Falk.
A heavily industrial area outside of Itäänmarssi, capital of the Free Province.
A rather barren northern province covered with rocky hills and mountains, it shares a border with Mienlannd, which is heavily guarded on both sides. Along the eastern coast lies the largest cities in the province, surrounded by heavy industrial areas. Like Mienlannd, the free province focuses on mining.
While the province originally went independent in an effort to free themselves from the crown's "tyranny", in reality the free province is, itself, a dictatorship under the guise of being a democracy. However, the citizens of the province do not seem to mind very much. Often times, the free province is not considered to be separate from the rest of the kingdom, much to the leadership's dismay.
The Little Folk
"Tempt not those smaller than you, for their anger may be your undoing." - Unknown.
The Pikku Falk is the name of the primary species that inhabits Nordica. A small, humanoid race, Pikku Falk appear to pretty much physically the same as humans, albeit smaller, with adults rarely growing taller than four feet four inches. However, the body of a Pikku is actually different in a few ways. The overall skeletal structure is much more durable than an average humans, meaning that their bones don't break easily. Their metabolism also appears to be much faster than an average human; Pikku Falk burn calories at an alarming rate, and therefore are usually never fat or muscly. A Pikku can live for about twice the age of an average human.
Pikku Falk culture has almost always revolved around mining. Since the earliest recorded records, mining was always a central part of daily life, and this is reflected in pottery, banners, and other artifacts recovered from the past. In fact, the Pikku believe in a god, known as Jumala, who was said to have dug out the earth itself for the Pikku Falk and taught them how to follow his example and mine as well. Jumalatarianism is the primary religion among the Pikku Falk.
Pikku Falk culture is traditionally conservative, with an emphasis on family values. Pikku normally marry at around fifty or sixty (middle age for the Pikku), and usually have at least two children. Same sex marriage is unheard of in the kingdom. However, gender roles are also pretty much non-existent; You're just as likely to find a female miner as you are a male miner.
Other than more laborious occupations, the Pikku Falk have been known to make talented merchants, sailors, and politicians. The Pikku Falk are often described as a friendly, proud, hardy race, but also obnoxious and quick to anger.
The Pikku Falk speak Pikkuen. Their accents depend on what class they were born into. The upper class, such as merchants and politicians, speak with Germanic accents, while the lower and working classes speak with Slavic accents. It is common for a Pikku to change their accent as they climb higher on the social rungs. For example, a Pikku born to a miner and a soldier would end up having a Slavic accent, but if they were to become a rich, successful merchant, they would change their voice to reflect this, giving themselves a Germanic one instead. Those who refuse to do this are often ridiculed. A census in 9819 AW found there to be about 198,245,372 Pikku Falk living in Nordica, and about 12,345,952 living abroad in various countries.
The Society of Magic Practitioners
"It is difficult to think that magic, and the spirits, are still so poorly understood by both mages and the uncultured masses. The masses, I cannot blame. The mages, I can. Simple ignorance is to blame. Though I am ignorant, myself. I have been alive for thousands of years. And yet I am no closer to cracking the secrets of our world than your standard Gamascian adept. What that says about me, I don't know, and perhaps I don't want to know. But the Society seeks to change that. We are scholars, wizards, librarians, spellswords, mages, whatever you want to call us. But we simply want to know more about magic, and our world. We come from everywhere, as there are branches across the world, in Amazrona, Gamascia, Mizricana, Nordica, of course. We are even trying to get the Alleenian government to allow us to create a branch in their Eastern Dominion. But, unfortunately, I know the nature of mortals all too well. I was one. They are ignorant. And unless something is done, our society will achieve nothing." - Arch-Mage Jarmo Hämärä, founder of the Society, 9817 AW.
As both an ability and way of life, magic is still a strange and mystical concept to many, even those capable of practicing it. Jarmo Hämärä seeks to change this. Founding the Society of Magic Practitioners, or the Maaginen Yhteiskunta in his native Pikku Falk, in 6851 AW. The Society seeks to both correct information on magic, use it to help the lame people of the world, and generally discover how it came about on Avalar. It also seeks to discover the origins of the spirits, creating many theories as to their existence.
Since its founding, the Society has spread across Avalar to many countries, most prominently Kunistine and other nations with a high concentration of magic users. Each country basically has their own independent branch that is free to pursue what it sees fit as long as it does not violate the Practitioner's Code and still reports to the Jäädytettytorni when necessary. The Society has a very large membership. It is suggested that nearly 1 in every 50 active magic users on Avalar are members of the Society. The Society also recruits and accepts a large number of scholars, doctors, scientists, and other professions as long as they agree to follow the Code and promote and correctly use magic. Many mages who are not a part of the Society or use their magic for evil are usually blacklisted and, in extreme cases, are marked for execution.
Though the Society has often had some prevalence in the various governments that rule magic-heavy populations, their power has waned in recent years, and often just assume advisory roles instead of outright sways. This has primarily due to the lack of public appearances of Arch-Mage Hämärä in recent years, who is assumed to be basically the wisest living magic user on Avalar. Nevertheless, guildhalls and other branchs are still prevalent across the world and provide aid to the people and practitioners when needed.
The City State of Alleen
"Magic is a primitive form of degeneracy that, unfortunately, is prevalent across the world. While it is understandable that the Dwarves and the beast races may practice it, for they are underdeveloped and inferior, the fact that many human nations are known to practice it as well is a troubling testament to how far humanity has degraded. Alleen is a testament to human triumph, however; we are a completely magic-free society, and until our walls crumble, our city burns and our people fall dead, that will never change." - High Overseer Arnout Meeske, 9761.
The City State of Alleen, or in the Alleenians' native tongue De Stadstaat van Alleen, is a small, isolated nation state located on Mizricana's northern peninsula, consisting of the city of Alleen itself and a few smaller surrounding towns, while along with its colonial holdings is known as the Alleen Rijk. With a history stretching back to the 2000s AW, Alleen was once the capital of a powerful empire that covered much of northern Mizricana. However, following a successful rebellion in 9200 AW, the empire was divided, and eventually only Alleen remained, having not destroyed itself in the ensuing chaos. Propaganda from the Blauwkous, the ruling class, states that the other cities ended up being destroyed by "evil magics".
Alleen is an almost entirely self-sufficient, xenophobic, isolationist state that prefers to limit it's contacts with other nations, save for ambassadors to represent themselves. Alleenians, composed entirely of humans, are highly cautious towards other species, and are very fearful of all forms of magic. This fear is reinforced by the religion of the state, The Monastery of the Everyman, which maintains that magic is inherently evil and is the cause for all woes in the world. Interestingly, the Monastery does not have a deity; instead, they believe in the inherent goodness of humanity that will one day be able to cleanse the entire world of all forms of magic.
Alleen is a totalitarian police state, which is ruled by the Blauwkous, the descendants of those who caused the rebellion in 9200. They are led by a Prime Minister, with the other members serving as advisors. They control the Koninklijk Politie, the police force of the state, which also serves as the state's standing army. However, Alleenian's aren't controlled completely; Alleenians are rather free, being allowed to lead their lives as long as they do not commit any seditious acts such as practicing magic, attempting to defect, or other such crimes.
The city of Alleen itself is large and prosperous, but also horribly industrial. A perpetual smog lies over the city, formed from the hundreds of factories surrounding it. This has also caused the city to receive a starling lack of sunlight compared to the rest of the world. This is likely why the inhabitants all seem to have sickly-pale skin tones. Alleen can be compared to Victorian London in style. Apartments, mansions, markets, and of course, slums, are all common sights in the city.
Alleen at night, circa 9820.
Outside of the city, Alleen controls numerous smaller towns and villages, consisting of Weinighout, Diepwater, Haasten Hill, Weergalm, Westelijk Meer, and Nieuwe Alleen. These settlements are where the main city gets most of it's food. Alleen also has a thriving fishing industry, the coast teeming with various species of fish. Alleen has a large colonial presence in the east. It also has one permanent colony in Vahcaniq, called Zuid-ijs, although being sent there is usually seen as a punishment.
Alleen has a strong naval presence, ships being very large and heavily armored. Alleen is also known for a large whaling industry, and it has a whaling fleet of over 200 ships which annually head out to the waters of the Great Polar North and near Vahcaniq for months on end, usually returning with one whale per ship if lucky. Alleen also owns several airships, with most of them used as advanced scouts for whaling fleets.
The Alleenians themselves are humans, Anglo-Saxon in appearance, who speak Allen, a Dutch-like language. They have English accents, however. Alleenians are stereotypically known for being rude, condescending, and racist. The Alleenian fear of magic and other species means that they are well hated across the world, even if there are only (presumably) a couple million of them. Finding an Alleenian outside of Mizricana is very rare. There are said to be approximately 6,532,874 inhabiting the city of Alleen itself and its surrounding towns. It is unknown how many Alleenians live abroad.
The Alleen Eastern Dominion
"We may not keep their name, but we are all Alleenians at heart. We our proud of our heritage, and even prouder to serve our homeland so graciously. It is by the Everyman's blessing that we exist so successfully. Everyone looking for a free land to live in shall be glad to know that the Heerschappij will always be open to them." - Colonial Minister Leendert Hoksbergen in his post-election speech, 9812 AW.
Throughout the early 9800s, Alleen, in a show of force, increased its colonial operations throughout the east of Avalar. These efforts were mostly successful, and the best known example remains the Alleen Eastern Dominion, or in their native tongue, the Alleen Oostelijke Heerschappij. The country was officially founded 9760, shortly before the outbreak of the Amazronian War of Independence. Most of the southern border of the dominion saw conflict between Alleenian colonial soldiers and rebels, but the rest remained mostly free of fighting.
Mijnbouwstad in the early 9740s.
The Dominion is divided into four provinces; Schiereiland, Centralia, Klompenmaker, and Waterkoker. Schiereiland is densely populated and is home to the capital, Mijnbouwstad, and the largest city in the dominion, Haven Oudheid. Centralia is mostly wilderness and is still open to settlement for prospective pioneers. Klompenmaker is mostly agricultural and is one of the main suppliers of food to the city of Alleen, next to the towns surrounding it itself. Waterkoker is the maritime center of the Alleenian Rijk, with much fishing and whaling ships built here, as well as being the central location of Alleen's naval fleet.
The dominion, despite being apart of Alleen, is sometimes considered an independent nation, and this would not be surprising, as unlike the city of Alleen itself, the dominion is democratic, with a Colonial Minister being elected by the people, and Colonial Governors to represent the provinces also elected. The dominion is also allowed to freely trade with other nations, and maintains a good, strong economy. The few nations that hold contact and relations with Alleen usually do so through the dominion.
The residents of the dominion, known as Poorters in their native Alleenian, are considerably different than those living in the home country. Poorters are known to be much friendlier and kinder than Alleenians, and are welcoming to all other species, allowing them into the dominion unlike in Alleen. Most of them still hold fears of magic, but it is not explicitly banned in the dominion. The dominion is secular, and all religions are allowed to be practiced. Most Poorters are members of the Monastery of the Everyman. In appearance, Poorters are known to be taller and darker skinned than Alleenians living in the city state. This is said to be due to the climate and the general ruggedness that was needed to survive in the colonies before technological advancement allowed them to live more comfortably.
Census records from 9819 AW list the population of the dominion to be around 13,259,982, including native Alleenians, Poorters, and other species living in the nation. It is unknown how many Poorters live abroad.
The Ordainers of the Empire
"Those who practice magic will be burned out, and destroyed. Those who dare oppose humanity will be sought and killed. Uphold the values of the Monastery. Embrace the Everyman, for there is no God, only a will to live. What will become of Alleen, we do not know. But we know that, in time, we will prevail." - Sanders Danhorf, first High Ordinator of the Empire, 9332 AW.
Every good religion needs crusaders, those who take on a vow of religious fanaticism to destroy all who oppose their goodwill. The Monastery of the Everyman is no different. The 9330s were a turbulent time for Alleen. In response to the Great Suffering, the Monastery, then still a part of the government, vowed to kill or otherwise drive out every magic user in the still fledgling new nation. To do this, they created the Verodenaars van het Rijk, or the Ordainers of the Empire.
The Ordainers, effectively, act as both crusaders and a state-sanctioned secret police. They seek out all who practice magic and kill them on the spot. None are spared. It is not uncommon to find an apartment of a suspected practitioner broken into and ransacked for any traces of runes, spell tomes, or other illegal paraphernalia. If none is found, the suspect is placed on "watch" for nearly a month, and is thus monitored closely. If something IS found, however, they are marked for execution, and these are often performed on the spot.
The process of selecting Ordainers is lengthy, and starts at a young age. Promising young recruits are selected at the age of 12 and taken from their parents to Weergalm to the Ordainer Academy, where they undergo a rigorous and years-long training regime. There, they are taught how to find magical artifacts and how someone may be a practitioner, how to use both a sword and a pistol in combat, and are instilled the values of the Monastery. They are taught that every action they take, ultimately, affects the human race as a whole, and thus are made to perform the "correct" actions. When the recruits turn 18, they are made to duel someone else in their class to the death. Whoever wins is fully adopted into being an ordainer. This method is incredibly archaic but effective. The losers are given respectful burials and are honored by their former comrades.
Ordainers are distinctly recognized by their metal face masks, which are each blessed by a Monastery preacher. They wear fancy blue uniforms specially made to be somewhat resistant against elemental magic. They wield swords and pistols in combat. Ordainers are known to be cruel and ruthless, and incredibly devout, if not fanatical. Those who choose to fight ordainers should expect a difficult fight.
The Southern Empire
"On the southern cape of Mizricana lies a so called Empire, or in their tongue, an Imperium. They are friendly, and welcome those who come with open arms. They trade all manners of goods, like wines and grapes and fine linens, and all of them seem wealthy, even if it's not in the material sense. They observe strange holidays and festivals, have happy and carefree dinners, and work well all day to produce the finest quality goods. They are an odd people, and that is a good thing." - Uriah Halvorsen, trader from the United Republic of Amazrona, 9799 AW.
During the early 9100s, the bickering city-states on the far southern coast of Mizricana became united following the agressive expansionalism of the largest city-state, Sentralthjem. While the olive-skinned humans of this part of the world all considered themselves to be part of the same race, the Sørlige Mennesker, or Southern People in the common tongue, they were divided by different ideologies and views. The thought of becoming a united empire seemed incredibly foreign, but through force they came to accept and fall under the flag of the new Sørned Imperium, or Southern Empire.
While seemingly an insignificant nation at glance, the Empire is known as home to friendly, welcoming people, who make great sailors and artisans. The croplands surrounding the cities are always full of proud farmers tending their fields of olives, wheat, and grapes. Much of the finest wines in the world come from the vineyards of the Sørned Imperium. It is speculated that the Imperium is one of the richest countries on Avalar, and this would not be unsurprising, for it is a great trading hub both for importing and exporting goods. The rich of the Sørned live in great comfort, while even the peasants never go hungry. Indeed, for over 700 years it seemed as though the Imperium was one of the greatest economic superpowers there was.
A painting of Gudhavn, capital of the Southern Empire, circa 9801.
However, in 9802, a mysterious plague arrived in the capital city of Gudhavn, and soon chaos spread throughout the realm. Great swathes of Gudhavn ended up being quarantined, the rich being forced out of their homes and even some parts getting flooded through suspected sabotage. A state of emergency was declared across the land by the emperor, and the government officially moved to the city of Vestresten to escape the disease. The quarantine is maintained by the Empire Defense Forces, or Imperium Forsvarsstyrker, which maintains a crudely made wall around Gudhavn and the surrounding towns and farms. Those left stranded inside are "protected" by the Sykdomsbeskyttere, a newly formed arm of the EDF that polices the quarantined areas and kill with extreme prejudice anyone found infected. The strong economy has taken quite a hit, with many of the most prosperous farms stuck inside the quarantine area, and a major port effectively being closed off to the rest of the world cutting off some parts of trade.
Despite over 18 years of attempts at finding out more about the mysterious plague, nothing has been discovered, and no cure has been found. The government has remained incredibly protective of any information about the quarantine area leaking out to the rest of the world, and only a select few are allowed to enter it on grounds of research. It is estimated that two million have died since the quarantine went into effect in 9803, and even more died before that.
Outside of times of crisis, the Imperium is a relatively advanced nation, considered on par with nations like the Karthan Empire. Manafacturing plants are relatively rare but exist in the northern industrialized cities like Foran and Grenseovergang. Infrustructe mostly relies on magic, maintained by a group of talented and intelligent scholars and other, more general workers. While a majority of the EDF uses muskets, a small battalion is known for using heavily enchanted armors to protect them, while they themselves are armed with pikes, bastard swords, and other such melee weapons. Trade routes to Naarka, the Kimbe Empire, the Manda Kingdom, and the Zush Empire, exist. The Imperium maintains friendly and warm relations with basically all nations it interacts with.
The Sørlige Mennesker are a race of humanity known for their olive complexion and openness to others regardless of ideology or species. Friendly and helpful, they are known to make talented traders and politicians, as well as sailors. However, many of them are also known to be cunning and mischievous, often manipulating others for their own gain. Sørlige society is known to be fun and relatively laid-back. Festivals occur every month for different things, such as harvests, or just general celebrations of life. The Sørlige are not a very religious people, though some small groups exist dedicated to various gods. The Sørlige speak Sørlin, and have Italian accents. A census from 9801 found there to be around 23,352,289 Sørlige living in the Imperium, and about half of that living abroad. However, since the plague hit Gudhavn, that population number is estimated to have decreased to around eight million.