The island of Triskellia lies off the south east coast of Ærind, a few days' sail from the mainland. The island is dominated by a central spine of low mountains and rough hills that divide the island into pockets of grain-producing plains and upland forests. Each of these natural divisions are dominated by great cities that divide the island into independent polities that balance sea power with a strong control of the interior. The rulers of these city-states style themselves as the Sea Lords of Triskellia and their ships, both merchant and naval, ply the eastern seas between Ærind and Grenultia.
GeographyEditThe primary defining feature of this roughly triangular-shaped island is its central ridge of mountains, known locally as the Pandoric mountain range though the crumbling peaks really are but the southernmost extension of the Graiskild range before they disappear beneath the waves of the Great Ocean. The Pandoric Mountains are smallish, especially near the coast, with those of the interior reaching only about 8,000 feet in height. Most of the upland areas are barren but for scrub vegetation, a trend that continues on the southern facing slopes and lowlands that surround the range. The northern facing lowlands and foothills, however, receive a good deal more moisture and support large areas of cedar forests mixed with pine and juniper. The uplands provide pasture for the diverse domesticated stock of the Triskellians while the wide and generally well-watered coastal plains support large plantations of agriculture and arboriculture. This human activity is centered around small towns that dot the interior, each themselves centered around larger cities with access to the coast and the maritime trade that it brings.
Politics and EconomyEdit
Triskellia is predominantly settled by humans of shorter but wiry stature, typically more swarthy and olive-skinned, with dark hair and dark eyes. There are also some halfling enclaves spread throughout the interior, and these have been admitted to highest circles of society in places where they have long settled, though a general lack of a passion for things of the sea has often proven an impediment to advancement for the leaders of their communities. No other races are known to settle in the interior of the island, despite the occasional old wife's tale to the contrary. The major port cities, of course, do see the usual mix of races, but even there segregation and mistrust serve to enforce the generally human-centric chauvanism found throughout the rest of the island; in all cases, the non-human populations in Triskellia are strictly transitive.
The island is generally divided into a network of communities linked centrally to the larger cities (often by means of a landed aristocracy). The extent of this centralization and control vary throughout the island according to local need and tradition, though the aristocracy throughout the island shares some common identity, mostly forged through aristocratic participation in the Syllestian League and cemented in the Triskellian exploits upon the waves. Despite this commonality, government and prerogatives vary according to region. Borders are generally maintained by negotiation and shifting alliances, though skirmishes are not unknown on the marches (and sometimes occur even to settle internal disputes within the various states). Large-scale warfare between the cities of Triskellia has not occurred for many generations, as the Sea Lords generally are content to rule peaceably with an eye to profit; however, in times of great strife, the Syllestian League has been known to elect a preeminent captain from one of their members to serve as Hegemon, a first among equals, to resolve whatever threatens the idyllic life of the island; at that time all League members must swear fealty to the Hegemon until his authority is rescinded by the League.
Principal Political Divisions:Edit
This state, the singularly largest and most powerful on Triskellia, comprises a vast area of the northwest plains and highlands of Triskellia. Its political center is the city of Polímo, which is situated near the mouth of the Sarkand River and looks toward the Ærind mainland. The hereditary aristocrats of Polímar typical rule over traditional divisions of the Polímarian hinterland, from both their palaces in Polímo and their country estates. They typically select one from amongst themselves to lead the state as Prince, a life-long position (though a long life is not guaranteed), who is advised by his peers in a Senate. Rarely does this title pass to an heir, except by subterfuge. Polímar is particularly well-positioned in regard to pilgrimages to the holy city of Sylleste, which is most often undertaken by traveling up the Sarkand River. Though it is forbidden by common agreement to tax or impede travel to and from Sylleste, Polímarians have learned to profit greatly off the river traffic.
Polímar maintains a strong military heritage, with fleets sufficient to keep its coastline mostly free of smuggling, piracy, and the like. Additionally, it has a well-kept reserve capable of dealing with sea-borne incursions or projecting power towards quarrelsome neighbors. Its land-based forces comprise both cavalry and infantry in the plains, and mountaineering units in the highlands. The military provides a traditional outlet for many members of the lesser aristocracy, though the great houses pride themselves in their seamanship, vying for glory as squadron leaders and such before settling into a life of politics in the capital.
The Belladic Confederation is a political entity comprised of the seven principal city-states of the Belladic Lowlands (names). In territory it rivals that of Polímar, though in resources it is as a body much poorer. To a large extent, this is due to the decentralized nature of the polity. In Belladia, power is first vested in the territory of the individual city-states and, indeed, most political and economic activity is centered upon each of the seven city-states individually.
The Belladic Confederation has been described as a reluctant association, created for the common good of its members but jealously guarding the prerogatives of the individual city-states as well. The Confederation is governed by a Council that meets each year in a different city on a rotating basis. The Council appoints a President that serves as its executive for month long terms throughout the year. Membership on the Council is determined by each member state, which each supply ten Councillors per year; except in times of conflict, most states choose to seat middling politicians on the Council while keeping their elder statesmen engaged at home. In addition to conducting their own economic affairs, individual states maintain their own military forces which can be levied for use by the Confederation.
The Syllestian LeagueEdit
The city of Sylleste sits near the headwaters of the Sarkand River in the Pandoric Mountains, on the shores of the Great Heron Lake. This city is regarded by all inhabitants of Triskellia as holy and inviolable and as such is granted an independence from the rest of the island's politics. The city is founded upon the remains of xxx endowed for centuries xxx center for sacrament and magic League
Triskellia is an old land, where humans and others dwelt before the current age. The island is full of ruins and it is said that many of the current great cities are built upon lost cities long forgotten. From the often discovered reminders of the past come great boons and great perils. For as many benign artifacts and relics uncovered by treasure hunters and explorers, just as many ancient evils are released from secret crypts and other hidden places. As a consequence, many locals tend to discourage the exploration of nearby ruins. Some of the old ways still hold in the rough mountains, and it is there that beasts of legend are sometimes yet encountered by the brave or the foolhardy.