The Old Country

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A island realm in the world of Savarra, which lies across an extended ocean trip from the Frost Marches. The Old Country is the homeland of the Kitsune and Tanuki races, and where Kiyoko and Lady Evergreen come from. Other kitsune and tanuki are mostly diaspora, one or more generations removed from their homeland and culture; despite relative isolation, they have reacted in various ways to the Marches' disparate culture.

Travel to the Old Country from the Marches typically requires a little more than one month's travel over the ocean; however, due to the existence of kitsune torii gates created with "borrowed" Belharan technology during the Godswar, travelling the immense distance is possible in the blink of an eye.


History


Due to its separation from other continents by virtue of it being an island, The Old Country (what its inhabitants call it in their native tongue is largely unpronounceable in Belharan languages) escaped the brunt of the Godswar, with only coastal forays and skirmishes taking place. Keros, however, was obligated to send aid to the other gods who were meeting the wraiths on the front lines, and therefore various groups of kitsune and tanuki were dispatched across Savarra to aid as advisors, spies, and saboteurs. Some of these elected to later serve as settlers in freshly-emptied lands instead of returning home, leading to the establishment of a diaspora of both races across the world.


Geography


The Old Country spans a small handful of large islands and several smaller ones. Experiencing hot summers and cold winters, settlements are clustered about either coastal flatlands or mountainous regions. Seismic and volcanic activity are common, with the attendant results.


Government


The Old Country is ruled by the God-Emperor, who claims divine right to rule by being the direct patrilineal descendant of the trickster god Keros. From the Cherry Blossom Throne, he rules the empire with absolute authority -- or at least, theoretically. In practice, his rule is modulated by the twelve Divine Houses (or Clans), who form the vast majority of the Emperor's court. These twelve families dominate much of politics and government, who pressure, cajole, suggest, insinuate, and manipulate the Emperor and his family into doing what they want.

Kitsune being matriarchal -- the Imperial Family being the notable exception -- government positions are usually filled by women, although there is no formal ruling against men in office. Only individuals from the head and major branch families of the twelve Divine Houses may be born with radiant or silvery white hair and fur -- while not all of the members of these clans are so blessed, white fur is proof positive of one being of high noble lineage. Smaller kitsune clans vy for the Emperor's favour and perhaps a minor appointment; success is an uphill task.

The other major player in government and politics are the tanuki. While some tanuki have risen to official positions such as governors of prefectures, most gain influence and authority by swearing servitude to a kitsune noble. Being a vassal or retainer to a kitsune lord or lady often involves, amongst other duties, being a "fount of spirit" for their liege; most do not complain, though.


Demographics


Roughly 15% of the population are kitsune, who are represented in all social classes of peoples, high and low. Due to their need to periodically drain life-force from other sapient peoples, they have never allowed themselves to grow past a comfortable proportion of the population.

Another 35-40% of the population are tanuki, who form much of what middle and lower middle classes there is to be had. Some proportion of the peasantry is also derived from this race.

The remainder of the population is a mishmash of other sapient races and foreigners, mostly lower class and menial workers.


Religion


While the Seven are worshipped as in much of Savarra, the trickster god Keros has dominance in the region.

Economy


The Old Country is particularly lacking in high-grade metal ores despite their mountainous interior, and its inhabitants have developed various ways to deal with the lack of such. What interest in foreign lands that comes from this insular empire largely stems from the desire to acquire such; at the time of the game, iron ore usually considered largely worthless by the bronze age-esque Marches is much in demand. This leads to Kohaku paying premium prices for any metal or ore the Champion is willing to sell to her.