|Flora and Fauna|
Etosil is a large, dry island in Corontium known for its unique history. The Nelfin of the Allorn Empire largely ignored the region before the Cataclysm, and after it, the escaped Ailor slave population was joined by the exiles of a dozen different states. Ultimately, order and structure came at the hands of Unionist heretics, and the island has never been the same since. Today, the island is part of the Regalian Empire. It is well known for its production of various metals and its Seven Great Cities, but also for its high number of Undead. It has been a largely peaceful land over the past century and it is likely to remain an isolated, uninvolved nation on the world stage except for on religious matters of Unionism.
Etosil has been a region shrouded in mystery and obscurity for many years. The Seraph seem to have had a presence there but only in a single location known as Ouranopoli. The only other civilization to have lived on the island before the Cataclysm were the Altalar, but their presence was also limited. Relatively barren under their ownership, records from nearby Ithania indicate that by 1000 BC Etosil had already been explored and documented by the Allorn Empire, which then kept their presence to the shoreline and a series of small fortifications to support their slave missions in the Regalian Archipelago. It remained this way for centuries, but by the time of the Cataclysm the interior hid small populations of escaped Ailor slaves and the proto-Szabadok Ailor that hid on islands located just off Etosil's east coast. The region was one of those shaken by the Cataclysm, but only at its edges. One of the results of was that it become its own separate island after the earthquakes broke the isthmus which kept it connected to nearby Talamoor. Some of these eastern islands sunk, but new ones also rose to replace them. In the aftermath of this event, those stationed in the region by the Allorn Empire abandoned it, and their fortresses fell into ruin to be later destroyed. The region was rediscovered in 55 AC by Ailor from the newly-forming Daen states. However, this event was not, at first, a positive one.
These states made the large island their penal colony, shipping people there whose crimes called for such an exile. The already-existing population was ignored, and soon yearly boat trips were dumping the “scum” of the Daendroque world onto these people. The island became violent, with gangs and groups forming around powerful leaders and fighting over water, land, food, and women. Towers were built, both to watch for danger and to watch the sea for incoming ships and new recruits. Soon, areas like Lusits, Ithania and even the young Regalian Empire began to send their exiles there as well. However, the Regalian Empire sent the largest group of exiles in 62 AC: the Evintarian Unionists. These people, who were exiled for not conforming to the desires of the First Diet of Unionism, spread far and wide as they preached the word of the Spirit to these “heathens.” Under their guidance also came greater cohesion, structure, and order to the island which then allowed the Etosians to form permanent settlements. During this “Golden Age” as some Etosians call it, the Seven Great Cities were founded. While there are more cities today, some of which are larger than the Great Cities, these settlements still hold great prestige among the Etosian people. The Great Cities drove almost half a century of the exploration of the arts, the exploration of the physical island, and the exploration of the Etosian identity. This period is often called peaceful, but is inaccurate. Many settlements still fought each other, but the battles became set to certain locations and at certain times of the year to prevent the large-scale looting, sacking, and destruction which marked a more “barbaric” age in the view of Etosians.
This all came to an end in 127 AC, when the Regalian Empire attacked the island. The great Ailor unification under Vladimir Kade needed Etosil, as it would be a sore thumb sticking out between Regalia and Daen if it did not fall. The conflict lasted only a few months, extending into 128 AC, and only ended when Thessalo betrayed the other Great Cities and joined the Regalian Empire. The other cities surrendered within a week, and the whole island was then blockaded. A year-round blockade forced the Etosians to stay on their homeland and to not participate in the Regalian Empire they were now part of. During this time, Regalia pushed several policies on the locals, but many failed due to the Etosian dislike for their conquerors. In the following years, Etosil remained quiet and did not bother the Regalian Empire as they had found a new threat: the Undead. It is not known when the Undead began to appear on Etosil, but it was in 169 AC that they began to surge and assault small mountain communities. The Vladno helped organize a response and, ever since then, the animosity between the living and the dead has grown. Etosil has remained quiet ever since then, featuring little conflict, little geographical alterations, or political upheaval until very recently. The Bone Horror Crisis forced the locals to ally with the Undead, which has led to an uneasy peace, while recent actions from the Regalian church have helped to reunify their ancient religious schism. The people are now happy and the land is loyal to the Regalian Empire.
Etosil is located south-southwest from the Regalian Archipelago as part of Corontium, with Daendroc off of its western coastline and Talamoor off of its eastern coastline. It sits between the Great Middle Sea to the north and the smaller Daen Sea to the south. Etosil has rocky and cliffed coastlines, with the few sandy areas often occupied by cities or settlements. Much of the interior of the island is mountainous with soaring peaks, but also small valleys which possess light forests and plant life. The landmass has only a few flat areas of land. One of these is a flat plain at the center of the region but also a series of small flat islands off of Etosil's eastern coastline, where the Szabadok culture developed. There are also several dozen fast-moving waterways which spill out from the mountains on the main landmass and rush out to the sea. Etosil’s climate is humid but not overbearing, with mild winters and dry summers which rarely reach temperature extremes. The region holds multiple cities, all which were once city-states but are now part of the Etosian Patriarchate which rules the land through the Septarchy, made up of the Seven Great Cities. These cities are Thessalo and Iraklis to the north, Vorfandu, Mlyat and Optikios to the east, Hessalios to the west, and Gyrakiosis in the south. All of these cities are loyal to the Regalian Empire, as is the majority of Etosil. The only areas which are not are those occupied by the Undead, who are most often characterized as “neutral” in their opinion of the Regalian Empire.
Etosil is sparse, lacking the lush vegetation found in nearby Daen and Talamoor due to its mountainous terrain and generally low-quality soil. However, plant life grows in the protected valleys and by the rivers of the island. The most common plant of note is the olive tree, a tree whose green to dark purple produce is common in Etosian cuisine as is the olive oil which can be made from the olives themselves. These can be found growing in orchards around cities and settlements, but also in the wild. There are also scattered samples of Daen plant life, such as Avant Leaf and Ceá’llë's Herb, which were likely brought over by the Allorn Empire when they ruled the region.
While the rocky terrain and sparse flora of Etosil may seem to indicate lacking Fauna, the region seems eager to prove skeptics wrong. The Etosian Bear, a small species of bear, and Highland Thessaliy, a type of deer with exceptionally long body hair, can be found in the mountains. The cities hold the Tsarr Cat, a species of long-domesticated wildlife from the continent. There are also herds of goats and sheep kept in many areas which help support the local populace. A number of seabirds and fish species can be found off the coastline, from the Sea Pidaleer to the Barnacle Trout.
Politics and Demographics
Etosil is populated with cities all part of the Patriarchate of Etosil which areloyal to the Regalian Empire. The landmass is lacking any other state or organized body save perhaps the “Undead Kingdom” ruled by the Bone King. This “state” is small, made up of the majority of Undead on Etosil and, while it made a deal with the Regalian Empire in the past, it is not a long-term ally of the state. However, they are at peace with the local Etosians for the time being, despite the long-standing animosity between the two parties, because of the service they rendered to the Regalian Empire and the help they gave many settlements in dealing with the Bone Horrors.
Ouranopoli is an ancient Seraph tower that juts high into the sky in the middle of Etosil. The structure itself has been worn with time, many of its features vanishing over the decades. Currently, the inside is the only area that proves it to be a Seraph construct as the outside appears almost anonymous in nature. The structure is one of the highest in Aloria, reaching up so high one can supposedly see every corner of Etosil from the top, though this is only half true as the southern and western coastline are obscured by mountain ranges. The site is important to Unionism as a whole as it is supposedly a location that Henri III climbed before proclaiming Etosil to be united with the Empire soon after its annexation. As a result, the area has become a pilgrimage site, and the area at the foot of the tower is often dotted with tents and visiting devotees.
Simply known as “The Lodge” to outsiders or Vladno off Etosil, this facility was constructed at the specific request of the Vladno nobility in Iraklis. Nestled in an untapped valley with a river running through the heart of a lightly forested area, Lodge Arkoúda-Dolofónos is a location for Vladno hunting. The lodge is taken care of by locals during the time that the Vladno do not use the Lodge (often a span of one to two years), but when they do, the large structure can accommodate as many as 200 visitors. The structure is a classic example of Vladno architecture with dark wood and stone helping the Lodge appear rather threatening, especially in the evening. However, this is undone by the short but lush garden grounds located around the Lodge which separate it from the forest and give some much needed color to the outside. The Lodge also holds an impressive array of taxidermied animals, at least one specimen from all of Etosil’s fauna and some more exotic pieces from nearby Daen.
The Epitychiménos Cathedral is the largest religious structure in Etosil and can be found in the city of Thessalo. It towers an impressive 400 feet into the sky, with a massive poppy dome top and two smaller ones on connected corner towers. The inside of the church is vast, with a vaulted roof, two stories (though the second is largely walkways relegated to the side and internal border areas of the church), opulent and beautiful decorations and half a dozen 12 feet tall statues of Etosil’s most well known and well respected Herons like the Heron of Mothers and the Heron of Candlemakers. The cathedral also holds a number of relics, from a number of skeletons (a number show signs of damage, a result of them being part of the Bone Horror Crisis) to the picks of the various Herons of Miners from Etosil. While the most important and well known of these relics can be found on the surface, there is an extensive underground area to the Cathedral that holds the rest, as well as church records.
- Many Etosians stargaze after night has fallen and their evening service is complete, and because of this as well as their common use of candles involved in their religious practices, Etosil is also known as the Starlit Isle.
- Etosians have little to no interest in the Seraph or the Altalar presence on their island. This infuriates scholars as the Ouranopoli site, for example, has almost no records around it before Henri III. This is because the Etosians only care about the time after their “barbarity” in the years following the Cataclysm.