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Asfel

Discussion in 'The Islands' started by Fluffypoodel, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    I started this island in a collaborative world building group that I joined a few moths back. The group is now defunct and I still find myself yearning to expand and work on this country that I have created. That's all for now! More coming soon.
     
  2. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Nation: Asfel, Land of the Fallen Stars:.: Founded by Rykten the Great 300 years ago

    Geography:

    Asfel, the Land of the Fallen Stars is so named because of the high altitude mountain lakes that dot its surface. These feed many of the river systems. they are a multitude of colors, ranging from vibrant blue to radiant orange and often times containing a combination of the colors on the outer rings of the banks. For the most part the water is a deep crystal blue. At night some of these lake glow with volcanic activity underneath them Huge volcanic cauldron beneath the landscape. Mountains, valleys and rivers are in abundance. Scattered plains cover rolling hills in the low lands. Mountains and valley’s make formidable obstacles for contact with nations beyond their boarders as well as a serious detriment to invasion. There are breaks in the obstacles where trade can come through but they are few and guarded closely by a strong military presence. The many rivers provide a swift form of transportation within the boundaries of the nation, making the people dependent on river travel. Many of the rivers have cataracts and waterfalls making passage impossible over them by boat. Canyons guard secretive villages and towns in which can be found many caves that lead into the rocky floor of the land. Many of these contain hot springs and these are littered throughout Asfel.

    Landmarks:

    Sothern Gap: the largest gap in the mountains that guard Asfel, the Southern Gap lies at the river crossing to the south of Hammalspa. This massive river, plunges through the gap to carry trade to other nations. The river is very wide as it is fed by many tributaries.

    Canyon of the Five Falls: Taking its name from the five waterfalls that crash down into its depths. Steep, craggy walls hold the homes of the great birds that the nation takes is sigil from. Cliffside villages that tunnel into the stone are also common.

    Asfeldian Floodplains: Located south of Ryktenfeld, the floodplains are where the great river… something… annually floods with the melting of the northern snows. The relative flatness of the plain allows the water to flood through a very large area depositing nutrients that make the soil very good for growing.

    River Nexus at Ryktenfeld: five large rivers wash down towards Ryktenfeld from the north. Known as the fingers they connect to the great, still nameless river in the south which later turns towards Hammalspa. Ryktenfeld is built over these rivers.

    Cities:

    Ryktenfeld: Capital, Political/judicial center of the nation as well as the military HQ. Situated in roughly the center of the nation, Ryktenfeld’s armies control the nation and keep any rebellious cities under control. Built over the fingers, Ryktenfeld controls all of the trade coming down from the north making it the cut off for Hammalspa’s trade ambitions.

    Hammalspa: frontier trade city, the only rival to the hold that Ryktenfeld has over the nation. Their wealth makes them able to stand up to Ryktenfeld but it does not allow them to challenge the capital’s might. They control the southern trade as well as international trade.

    Farspild: City in the western mountains, it is the cultural center of the nation along with being the center of power for the lands across the mountains from Ryktenfeld. This western city is under contention form the influence of Ryktenfeld and Hammalspa. So far it has remained independent of the two cities direct influence. (It looks like the mountain city of Say in Tibet)

    Trade: Trade is controlled by the three urban centers of Asfel. Trade primarily comes in from the surrounding lands by road or river and is sold to the merchants in the cities. From there it is packed off and shipped to the other cities where it is distributed or in the case of Hammalspa, it is set up in the markets there or shipped out to other nations.

    Roads: The road system in Asfel is not extensive. Mountains and valley’s break up much of the fertile plains where roads could exist. There is not a single road that extends the entire length of the country. For the most part roads are relegated to local travel around urban centers. There have been talks about creating a national road system but with the abundant river access, such a project is superfluous.

    River system: The main form of travel and source of trade. The three urban centers control most of the ships that ply their trade on the river. Towns and merchants my own personal craft but for the most part the ships are owned by the government. As many of the river systems have obstacles, like waterfalls and rapids, a system of way stations have been set up on major river systems. These are regulated by the government and help move cargo over dangerous parts of the river, either by short overland roads or suspended ferry systems, zip lines, gliders or a combination of these. All rivers lead to the sea so this could be a connecting point with other nations as well.

    Economic Warfare: I said in the city section that Hammalspa and Ryktenfeld both control major parts of the trade within Asfel. While the tensions of their competition run high, it has not degenerated into physical conflict. This is not to say that either side takes shots at each other. Tariffs and taxation run rampant on the north/south river trade with the cities trying to gain an economic advantage. So far things have stayed at a stalemate but the competition has left many feeling subjugated. Farspild is another battle ground. Across a range of mountains from Ryktenfeld and connected by river to Hammalspa the city seems to be slipping onto the side of Hammalspa. To counter this Ryktenfeld has started an ambitious tunneling project through the mountains. It is nearly complete and might tip the scale into Ryktenfeld’s favor.

    Trade Goods: Furs, woods and metal. There is an abundance of animals in the mountains valleys and fields that sell at high prices in interior and international markets. The trees that grow in the valleys grow tall and straight, making them perfect for ship building as well as for furniture. Before stone crafting, wood was used in the construction of statues and totems. This has fallen out of style but are regarded as very exquisite works. Amber jewelry comes and goes into fashion as well. Primarily a source of iron there are other metals as well to be found in the shallow mines. Gold, silver, copper, maybe some special fantasy metal that I’ll name later. Still, these will all be in short supply in comparison to the iron. Items manufactured with iron includes armor, weapons, tools as well as the processed ore.

    Wildlife: There is a wide variety of wildlife in Asfel, ranging from large land predators to high flying birds of prey. Due to the relative isolation of the mountains most of these species have remained unchanged for thousands of years. for the most part there are the regular assortment of animals that you might find in a mountainous area. The ones listed below are specific to Asfel.

    Copperback Bear: This is a medium sized bear that ranges the lower foothills and plains. It has a fairly extensive range and primarily hunts for the Moon Fish that come out of the larger mountain lakes. It takes its name from its summer coat that shines like a late sunset. The color dims and fades to a light gray in the winter.

    Adaline Wolves: These pack animals are the greatest hunters in Asfel. They run their prey down with frightening efficiency and will not relent until it has been taken to the ground. They take their name from one of the fallen Earth Gods, Adalyn, who was known as the Hunter God and thus highly associated with the wolves. Though, roughly two thirds the size of a Copperback, the wolves more than make up for it with their numbers. It is also said that the wolves are surprisingly intelligent animals and under the right circumstances may help humans who find themselves facing desperate times in the mountain forests. This has led to a continuing belief in Adalyn among the Asfeldians. They range through most of the country. Their coloration ranges from a dirty white to a light brown.

    Moon Fish: The most common type of fish found in Asfel. They annually spawn in the upper lakes of the mountains and are surprisingly long lived. (estimates speculate at over fifty years.) they grow to about four to five feet long and can weigh over a hundred pounds. They take their name by the way their scales reflect in the silver moon light as they are nearly impossible to see in the daytime. Their scales are one of the primary trade goods for the Asfeldian economy.

    Short Horned Bison: These giant shaggy herbivores roam the hills and plain of Asfel. Their thick black/brown coats keep them warm and make them pone of the reasons that they are highly sought after as they make excellent coats. They take their name from the curving horns that come around their heads. Herd animals, they can be very aggressive and even the larger predators will not go after them if they are together.


    Phetharin Cloud Eagle: This is the bird from which Asfel has taken its sigil, the bird in its favored swooping dive. It takes its name from the white color of its feathers and the way that it glides on the winds, making it the favorite animal of the Wind God, Phetharis. The bird is regarded as very intelligent as well as being incredibly hardy. They live in the higher mountains and canyons were they can nest in the safely away from other predators. They are rarely seen south of Ryktenfeld.
     
  3. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Military: This is a non-magic army as of now. I do not have a magic system yet so I will go into that later when I have thought of one.

    Organization: Asfel’s military is based upon its needs. While the geography is the most potent barrier to an invasion of the country, it is by no means a surefire defense. Numerous mountain passes and valleys connect Asfel to the surrounding lands. Although these are rural areas an army can still penetrate them. Then there is the mountain gap to the south. Hammalspa sits on the nearest edge of the Southern Gap, a fifty mile wide area of rolling hills and plains that leads up to the heartland of Asfel. Because of this over half of the Asfeldian military is stationed in Hammalspa. The next largest garrison is located in Ryktenfeld and is where the military bases its primary HQ. the HQ handles all large scale military operations, though field command is given to the general in the field. His decisions are later reviewed by military tribunal. Farspild holds a garrison almost as large as Ryktenfeld’s. The western city warrants this amount of military presence because of its location. Most of the smaller mountain passes are in the west and with Farspild’s relative remoteness, it requires a large military presence to protect it should invasion sweep through the western mountains before aid can come up the river from Hammalspa. Large towns that sit on trade routes have small garrisons and every mountain pass is covered by a detachment of troops. Most outlying forces are recalled to urban centers during the snows.


    Makeup: again the military is based on the geography. With little flat land and roads the use of cavalry is limited to the south, below the Asfeldian Floodplains. In the south, the army is prepared to deal with a variety of situations. Horsemen work in conjunction with infantry: Spearmen, swordsmen, axe men, archers as well as certain artillery weapons, like trebuchets and catapults. In the north and west were the terrain is not suitable for large-scale military operations the army has moved into a defensive role. Mostly archers that command the mountain passes. Smaller groups of melee infantry would be on hand to back them up. Little cavalry in these sections.

    Tactics/Strategies: the Asfeldian military has as its primary goal defense. In the South, military operations are designed to keep invaders in the pass and out of the river system that leads to the urban centers. River traffic would stop so that invaders would not have the opportunity to take the boats upriver to pillage. River choke points would also be taken advantage of to stop ships from coming up the river. Defensive formations on land would take advantage of the terrain to move an opposing force into an ambush position. The mountains and hills in the south make it the preferred strategy of the army. If the army were to go on the attack then they would use the extensive trade system to ship soldiers to a point downriver then disembark. Their supplies would come via river so they would try not to stray far from it. In the North and West attack is not considered as it would cost too much money to supply an army over the mountains. The tactics used in the mountains there are designed to bottleneck invaders in passed and then rain missiles on them. These would certainly be arrows, and if enough time was had, rockslides could be prepared to close off the passes as well as dropping tons of rocks on an enemy’s head. If an army sneaks into the frtile land around Farspild then the regular army stationed there moves into position to deal with it with similar tactics that are used in the south. Because of the mountain peaks that litter the landscape, signal fires also warn of danger. They burn in different colors to denote the severity of an attack. This way troops from surrounding areas can join in faster than if messages traveled by foot.
     
  4. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Government:

    Structure: Asfel is governed by a ruling council, centered in Ryktenfeld. Members are elected from the cities and the surrounding areas. Made up of at least five, the actual number fluctuates depending on the needs of Asfel, members, at least on in the following areas:: Religious, Military, Economic/Commerce, Judicial, Urban, Rural/Agricultural. There is a slight party system worked out along these guidelines so for the most part things stay fair, although if a group became strong enough they could exert their will over the council. Aside from the council each city and large town has a governor. This man is the central figurehead of government on the smaller scale. Under this governor is another council that the governor delegates responsibilities too. This council system follows the same rules as the bigger council system. This system of micro-governance is what makes it possible for the city-state like atmosphere that Asfel has. On the smallest level, small towns and villages elect local leaders who may travel to the larger population centers for government meetings so that their voices can be heard.

    Extent of Power: The national government controls the judicial system within all three urban centers as well as any town big enough to require a court with a regional magistrate. They control the military and any garrison of troops both inside and outside the national boundaries of Asfel. They also work hand in hand with religious ceremonies and holy days because it is the official state religion of Asfel. Regional government handles the trade and commerce of their respected areas though they can be subjected to restrictions from the national government. International trade is handled by the Hammalspa government though it is regulated by the national government.

    Law: Regional magistrates handle the day to day upkeep of the law. The head magistrate would be located in Ryktenfeld. She/he would be in charge of all regional magistrates. A regional magistrate would be responsible for a certain number of people. One for each city, one for large towns, one for every three medium to small towns. Regional magistrates employ Magisters to travel and stay in each town or section of city where trouble/ law breaking has occurred. They then apprehend the perpetrator and bring them to the RM office or if the situation is too large, the Magister will report to the RM office and the military can be called in to deal with the situation. This goes through political channels because the military is a separate entity from the judicial system. Punishment is according to the crime. It can include limited imprisonment, hard labor, increased taxation and physical assault for minor to moderate crimes. Life imprisonment, sold into slavery and death for severe crimes. This is all subject to the will of the regional and head Magistrates.
     
  5. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Peoples:

    Aerie: The first people to live in the Asfeldian mountains, they are fairer of skin and of hair than the Asfeldians. They also tend to be less stocky, though they are about the same height. They came over the mountains from the neighboring lands. It is said that they became trapped in Asfel when the earth gods abandoned them. the sky gods took pity on them and protected them over their first winter. The Aerie have always been stanch supporters of the gods based upon this belief. A great many of the higher ranking religious leaders are Aerie, and their highest percent of population, in Farspild, is also the religious center of Asfel, higher in the mountains and therefore closer to the gods.

    Asfeldians: They were the second people to enter the Asfeldian mountains. The dwelt primarily in the southern reaches of the land, where the hot springs and more mild winter reminded them of their warmer coastal roots. Tanned skin and dark hair ranging from black to light brown. They brought with them the Earth Gods but were abandoned in their conflicts with the Aerie. They have a mind for making money and trade as well as the ever present thought of revenge on those that once did them wrong. The ages long grudge is bred into them as part myth, part legend and part history. Most Asfeldians are perfectly happy staying in their mountains.

    History: The Asfeldians came up into the mountains form the southern lands near the coast. They fled persecution when their country collapsed under the weight of economic struggles that it lost to the neighboring land. They were forced from their lands to fight a miserable retreat up into the mountains as their lands were gobbled up into an expanding trade empire. Led by Hammal the savior, the Asfeldians repelled the early invaders from the mountains and commenced to build a new country, founding the city of Hammalspa. For many years they lived in peace until they first encountered the Aerie. Boarder conflicts and war soon spread in Asfel with losses being heavy on both sides as much do to the fighting as to the weather. The lesson that both peoples learned was that it is unwise to fight a war in the snows of Asfel. A peace was declared and the leader of the Asfeldians, Rykten, known later as Rykten the great, and the leader of the Aerie, Lyall, united the two peoples and established a new capital at Ryktenfeld. To this day the names Rykten and Hammal and Lyall are common for boys in both Asfeldian and Aerie circles. There has been peace between the Asfeldians and Aerie for some three hundred years now. The two cultures have grown into each other and the Asfeldians abandoning their Earth Gods for the Aerie Sky Gods.
     
  6. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Gods: this is strictly in the sense of a mythology, much like the ancient Greeks or Romans

    Orishtan, God of Lightning. A god of strong will and erratic temperament, he grants his favor to those of like mind. It is said that he controls the lightning serpents that swim in the clouds. This god has a long standing argument with Riflen. They are always shouting about at one another. As Orishtan cannot talk or hear, he uses his lightning to communicate his strife across the clouds at Riflen

    Riflen, God of thunder. This god is calm of spirit, granting favor to those who bide their time. For his part in the struggle against Orishtan, Riflen does not start the conflicts, according to his side of the story at least. He responds to Orishtan with roaring thunder. Because the lightning God is deaf, the more Riflen yells the more Orishtan shoots his lightning. The two gods shout back and forth until they tire each other out. Their argument can never be resolved though because they are unable to communicate.

    Kishtara, God of snow. This God values perseverance above all other traits. she also is the harbinger of death to come to the land as she brings the snows. The sky serpents are also said to be under her control. She is the sister of Tantasa and together they create the circle of death and renewal.

    Phetharis, God of wind. Adventure is the calling of this god and his favor stand out to be grasped by those who are brave enough to take it. Traders and merchants adorn their ships with figureheads of Phetharis. He shares the river ways with Tantasa as one could not exist without the other, with the rivers being such a big part in the regional travel. It is said that in the dense fog of the late night and early morning, Phetharis comes and plays tricks on the humans, instigating adventures and trouble along the way.

    Tantasa, God of Rain. This God is the paramount example of healing. With the rains come the healing of the earth. He looks for compassion in his followers and grants his favors to those who follow through with good deeds. He is the brother of Kishtara and the second half to the cycle of death and renewal. It is also said that the rain is the weeping of Tantasa over the loss of the earth gods and that someday his tears will filter into the earth to heal the earth gods and bring them back to Asfel.

    Suthrai, Sun God. The leader of the Sky gods, this god values beauty and wealth. She sends her support to those who pay her the most tribute or to those whom she thinks is the best way to create more wealth and belief to herself. It is said that Suthrai was the one who lead the sky gods over the mountains and became lost in her seeking of new wealth and worshippers.
     
  7. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Organization: The main temple of the sky gods lies in Farspild, high in the peeks that loom over the city. It is here that the god’s chosen representatives (six, one for each god and then a patriarch or matriarch that communes with all six of the gods) reside. They are responsible for religious decisions that affect all of Asfel. Beneath the representatives are the Favums, these are the men and women who spread the teachings and myths of the faith around Asfel as well as trying to spread their gods to other lands. Their only system of ranking is through the amount of worshipers that subscribe to them. they may only choose one god to represent though. they are given a lot of freedom to practice their religion but they are still subjected to the law of the government as well as the heads of the religion in Farspild. The representatives are chosen from among the Favums.

    Worshipers: worshipers of the religion do so in communal spaces open to the sky to be closer to the gods. Through rain or shine, sleet or snow there are monthly mandatory meetings for all of those who wish the gods blessings. Most people go and pray or give homage to the Favums who collect money for church projects. There is some religious tolerance for other religions if you keep your head down and stay quiet about opposing beliefs. For the most part the Asfeldians are not overly zealous, nor are the Favums, but there are always exceptions.
     
  8. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Weather: The weather in Asfel is usually peaceful. Temperatures stay in the seventies (Degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer, although spikes in temperature have been known to occur. Blue skies range over mountains and plains. Winds drive down the valleys and over the rivers making water travel swift. Clouds come and go and gentle showers fall in the spring and fall months. When the clouds do start to clump up, the mountain ranges and valleys that normally guard Asfel drive the clouds together and create Asfel’s legendary storm systems.

    Storms: there are two types of storms that Asfel attracts. Lighting storms rage through the valleys to the horror of the inhabitants during the summer months. They are funneled around through the wooded valleys so their paths of destruction are limited. Every once in a while one of these storms makes its way into the Flood plains and runs rampant for a while until it moves on or dissipates. Wildfires can be started by these storms and can burn anything in their path before they burn out. torrential rains often accompanies these storms causing floods that do not coincide with the annual river flooding. These unexpected floods can cause havoc with farming as well as flooding out villages and towns that are not prepared for them. The lightning itself is also very dangerous, electrifying wet rock and blasting craters in the ground. The second type is the snowstorms. These blanket Asfel in snow that can rise as high as fifty feet. These storms plague the winter months and make life very difficult. Fortunately, the hot springs and volcanic activity heats the water and most cities and towns are built over these hotspots to take advantage of the heat so that the ground stays free of snow. Temperature can drop very low in the winter months but again the hotspots keep life maintainable. Ice storms also accompany the snows and can bring trees down. The freezing water in the mountains can cause rockslides.
     
  9. Fluffypoodel

    Fluffypoodel Inkling

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    Magic: The magic in Asfel revolves around the magic of the land itself. *(Mythology behind the magic) The lightning storms harbor within their deep black clouds the sky serpents that create the harshest of storms. They are at play, the great writhing beasts, floating through the skies sometimes over a mile long. They charge the air with magic, the clouds form and when they cannot hold any more power, it erupts down onto the Land of Fallen Stars. The lightning, is charged with “magic”.* There are the rare occurrences when lightning strikes humans and the human survives. This can have huge negative or positive effects on the man or woman. In either case, the people who have been “touched by the gods” as the church is fond of saying, are highly sought after and hunted. The Magic is very unstable, is not uniform in any abilities that it grants and the person usually dies a short time after.
     

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