|Full Titular Name: Etosil|
|Full Titular Name in Official Language: Etos|
|Official Languages: Theodora (Etosian)|
|Regional Languages: Theodora, Common|
|Population: Approx. 80,00|
Etosil is located southwest of Regalia within the Ridge Isles along with Killarallis, Arvost and the Sun Isles. Regarded as the ‘Home of Etosian Unionism,’ the isles have played a pivotal part in religious history since the first Schism, an important event that caused the first branch of Unionism from the Holy Land of Basta. After being known as a melting pot of Daendroque, Alt-Regalisch, and Ceardian Unionists, they have managed to create their own government, society, and culture within the space of 130 years. The country is graced with the carefree culture of their ancestors, but the people are dominated by the austere Holy Court. People within Etosil hold a high standard in regards to family and honor, while the actresses and dancers of Pavleona’s Leisure District know no family at all. Just as the chanting of the mysterious and reclusive clergymen ring out over the many cities and villages, an underlying sense of earthly delight always lures the people astray. Birthplace of a rather unique culture and the wayward point between the aloof continent of Daendroc and the austere Regalian Archipelago, Etosil is a place of domestic politics and deceit. The cities draw a thin line between hedonism and spirituality, the countrysides are filled with family feuds and dark secrets, and the mountains are home to a wide variety of creatures. The Etos Isles are truly a land of mystery, surprise and the earthly delights, and while it is the result of a melting pot of many cultures, it is unique and unparalleled within the realm of Aloria. Present day, the struggle with the Undead dominates the daily lives of the Etosians. No matter how many resources Regalia pours into their destruction, they keep coming back largely due to the Lapis Lazuli mining on the islands.
The history of Etosil spans back to the Seraph civilization, where the ancient race left their mark upon the islands with their ruins. After their disappearance, the Talar built a city on the western isles of Etosil, however, due to the rocky and supposedly worthless land, they soon dissolved and migrated elsewhere which left Etosil with, as they saw it, nothing but mountains and saltwater. Some time around the years before the Empire of Regalia first formed the first Ailor settlers from the Regalian Archipelago set foot on Etosil, going on to name it Oase (meaning ‘Oasis’ in Alt-Regalisch). The islands had long been ignored by the Elven Empire because off face value, it seemed only to be made up of rocks and barren plains. The settlers that came there between 70 and 30 AC lived a poor life, but a free one. Food was not abundant, but the Elves mostly continued to ignore them, raiding more profitable Human settlements north and west. Soon the fishing hamlets grew into small towns, and sustained a fairly peaceful period in time until the introduction of the Etosian Unionist Sancella.
In 92 AC, a group of reverends incited the first Schism of the Unionist Sancella when the Supreme Reverend passed the removal of the Eighth Creed, a canon on the notion of saints and sainthood. Believing the Eighth Creed was meant to be preserved and honored, the group and their followers were banished from Regalia once it was made clear they opposed the Supreme Reverend. Directed to the Etos Isles by the Emperor, the large following migrated there and soon took over the isles, merging into the fishing hamlets and building their influence from there. From the mixing of the native Asyl people and the enormous amount of Daendroquin and Alt-Regalisch ‘Eighth Creed’ Unionists, the population effectively created what is considered today’s modern Etosian culture. It became known for being the only place safe for believers of the Eighth Creed. In 95 A.C. the Bishop Aloysius I formally renounced the recent removal of the Eighth Creed and created his own Unionist Sancella. Etosil was not formally a part of the Regalian Empire. Rather, the Emperor at the time banished the heretics there as he claimed they would be haunted to the ends of the world and burned for being heretics, except on that island.
For almost thirty eight years, the people lived in extreme poverty and famines were frequent. The fragile ecosystem of the island could not handle the massive influx of inhabitants. This all changed with the reign of Regalian Chancellor Vladimir Kade. Two years after his ascension to the Chancellery in 128 AC, the legendary figure began the ‘War of the Reclamation. The goal of the war was largely to put Etosil under the governance of the Empire, as Vladimir would wage several successful wars in his lifetime to bring the majority of the independent Human states under Regalian rule. This involved conquering the Ridge Isles, of which Asyl was a part. The war was extremely short-lived, owing to Asyl being a largely monastic state that lacked an organized military, and the civilian population was extremely weak, often welcoming the invaders with open arms to benefit from their food and medicine. Vladimir Kade soon became known to the majority of the Asylites as a redeemer of their people who had regained the favor of Regalia’s mercy. He was a benevolent conqueror, but the Etosians today believe he saved them from starvation by bringing the Islands into the Regalian fold. Despite the fact that Etosil was now part of the Regalian Empire, the inhabitants of the islands were still not allowed to leave. The Islands continued to function as a place of exile for heretics, though it now benefitted from grain shipments from Anglia and increased trade as well as domestic development of crafts. For the next 130 years, many heretics in Regalia who still followed the Eighth Creed were sentenced to banishment in Asyl for life. This made the population grow slowly, and within those 130 years the Etosian culture as Aloria now knows it came into blossom. Things such as the language of Theodora, the art of iconography, the unique and exotic architecture used within city walls, the new court fashions, and the endless list of culinary delights formed, slowly shaping the isles into not a melting pot of cultures, but one rather unique culture shared by all. Near to the end of these 130 years, the Patriarchy of Asyl decided to rename the main isle to Etos, which in the Theodoran language meant ‘cradle.’ The name spread like wildfire, and soon Etosil had become synonymous with it’s people.
In 263 AC Emperor Justinian the second put the Pragmatic Sanction into place. This stated all versions of Unionism were neither right nor wrong as long as they stayed faithful to Humanity. This meant the people of Etosil were now allowed after 168 years of ‘imprisonment’ to leave the island and return to Regalia as full Regalian citizens. Most of the population had grown to love their country and thus elected on staying, but others who felt their ancestors were wronged and expelled from their true home left for the Holy City, starting up a small cultural introduction from Etosil to the people of Regalia. Soon after, the Etosan Basilica was erected as an ode of goodwill to the people who returned and the ones who were to return one day. Inside lay the relics of five Etosan saints, one of which was known as ‘Hagios Volodymyr, Lytrotis tis Etos.’ Even today, Etosans who wish to make an overseas pilgrimage visit the Basilica to pay respects to the deceased Vladimir Kade.
Many Supreme Patriarchs came and go, shaping the isles’ laws as they saw fit and molding the path towards the present Etosil. Currently, Etosil is ruled by the Supreme Patriarch Anastasius II, and is in the middle of a cultural golden age, with visitors coming far and wide to see what the isles have to offer. However, the isles have a much darker problem within them. The presence of lapis, a beautiful but dangerous blue ore which is found in abundance within the soil, interferes with a soul’s transcendence, sometimes leaving the dead in a most unholy state. The resulting undead reap more lives, spreading havoc amongst the villages. Although the larger cities are able to protect themselves, many among the countryside take extra precautions when it comes to their passed kin. As a security measure, a law has been put into practice ordering all deceased to be cremated within a day of their passing. In spite of all this, Etosil is remembered for her pivotal role in the history of Unionism.
The origin of the name Etos came from the Theodoran word for ‘cradle.’ Named in the beginning as Asyl by the first Unionist settlers, the word meant ‘Asylum’ in Alt-Regalisch as an ode the haven-like nature of the isles for Etosian Unionists. Soon the language of Theodora began to form, and the word Asyl changed to Esyl, then to Etyl, to Etol and finally Etos, which meant ‘cradle.’ This was once again picked by the then-Supreme Patriarch when it came to renaming the isles as he thought it was fitting in regards to Etosan Unionism being the ‘cradle’ of the true Unionist faith. As for her Regalian name, the Alt-Regalish simply merged Asyl and Etos together, forming Etosil. The use of the word cradle also takes heed to the fact that Etosil is the mother of her people. In turn the demonym for Etosians in Theodora is Vrefos (pl. Vrefi), which translates to infant or infants.
Etosil is mostly mountainous, featuring striking ranges and marvelous vistas. While there are few places that are considerably flat and able to grow crops upon, the vast landscape is the mother to hills and peaks of all shapes. Some parts of the coast are guarded by high cliffs, though the majority are sandy beaches. Common trees found upon these mountains are the olive, fir, cypress, and pine varieties, distantly similar to the likes of Vultaro in the Regalian Archipelago. They are scattered along the islands and are known to create hillside forests around the more lush mountainsides and foothills. Etosil is also the home of the native Magebane plant, known to the Etosians as ‘Olethros tis Magoi.’ This illuminant flower peppers the Etos Isles, and at night they give fields and rocky pathways a distinctive purple-blue glow. As for building structures, Etosian cities are almost always built upon relatively flat areas. The civilian houses are usually made from plain brick and clay roof tilings, while the more prestigious houses and manors are constructed from stained brick, clay, and stone as well as colored roof tilings. As for government buildings and court-status civilian housing, these are a mixture of quartz, stone and clay with red colored roof tiling and the use of domes to represent their high status.
The climate of Etosil is closer to its Lusits neighbor than the Regalian Archipelago. The isles are known for their hot, dry summers, and their relatively mild winters. The winter tends to offer rain during the colder months, and so farmers usually start their work within this time. This means Etosil is a beneficial exporter to colder countries who have to stock their food supplies during their harsher winter days. However, due to her mountainous nature, the cities of Etosil are more likely to be flooded due to the natural dip in their areas compared to the surrounding area. The seas around Etosil are particularly stormy and so tend to contribute to harsh climate around some of the coastal hamlets and towns, while the winds from the shore blow through and wreak havoc in mountainous areas.
- Vasiliki tou Patriarchi
- The Basilica of the Patriarch is the current government headquarters of Etosil and the residence of Etosil’s ruler, the Supreme Patriarch. The Basilica was first completed in 120 A.C., in the Central District of Pavleona. This basilica-turned-palace consists of a central domed building and four wings spanning out over most of Central Pavleona. This gives its name to the district, named the Patriarch District. The North and South Wings are devoted to scholarly archives, court procedures and meetings of clergy groups, while the West and East Wings are specifically used for the residences of the Supreme Patriarch, the clergy, and the guest residences for the several Patriarchs and court goers throughout Etosil. Meanwhile, the central Domed Hall is only used for the Council of the Patriarchate between all government officials and daily sermons given by the Patriarch of Pavleona.
- Mount Elpida
- Mount Elpida is Etosil’s highest mountain. Situated along the southern coast of the island within the Lorissa Province, it Overlooks the stormy coast and home to many species of native animals. Mount Elpida is usually the first thing visitors to Etosil see of the island due to the atrocious storms surrounding the island, usually forcing sailors to bypass the eastern side of the isles and charter their path to the dock cities of Psanadari and Katsaros. The area is named after the story of the ‘Mother of Etosil,’ Elpida, who serves as a personification for the island.
- One of Etosil’s oldest structures, Ouranopoli is an ancient Seraph tower that dominates the northern plains, not far from Pavleona. Legend has it that the Holy Saint Vladimir Kade first set foot upon this plateau and saw Etosil from the lofty peak of the tower, though this has never been proved. Still, the sight is considered a pilgrimage to Etosian Unionists as the starting point of the introduction of Regalia to Etosil.
The government of Etosil is a theocracy run by the head of the Etosian Unionist Faith, the Supreme Patriarch. The Supreme Patriarch is counselled by his immediate advisers, all nine Patriarchs and Archontes of the Etosian cities: Pavleona, Cozaina, Petros, Ateno, Rhothis, Psanadari & Katsaros, Lorissa, Chalcion, and Khaniou. These Patriarchs all preside over their respective provinces with the help of their fellow Archontes who typically rule over the secular life of the city. Within these nine cities, the lords and ladies use a smaller council of ten patricians to advise them. Every solstice, naming of the new Patriarchate, or during a national crisis, a national meeting is officiated called, duly dubbed the ‘Council of the Patriarchate’. The Council of the Patriarchate is a grand meeting among the whole government system. The total number of members attending this national assembly is 109 thus far. Collectively together the government is named the Holy Court, or Iera Avli.
List of Rulers
- Supreme Patriarch Aloysius I (Reigned 121 AC - 155 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Dimosthenis I (Reigned 155 - 184 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Stylianos I (Reigned 184 - 194 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Anastasius I (Reigned 194 - 196 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Aloysius II (Reigned 196 - 236 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Vassilis I (Reigned 236 - 266 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Petros I (Reigned 266 - 276 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Stylianos II (Reigned 276 - 280 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Dimosthenis II (Reigned 280 - 287 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Aloysius III (Reigned 287 - 296 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Petros II (Reigned 296 - 300 AC)
- Supreme Patriarch Anastasius II (Reigned 300 AC- Incumbent )
- Etosil has been a subject state of Regalia, since the Chancellor Vladimir Kade conquered the isles. The Supreme Patriarch is treated as a government head who answers to the Regalian State Council and the Emperor, but not to the Supreme Reverend. Etosil has it’s own cultural touch in Regalia in regards to the Etosian-populated island of Thessalonikon and the Etosian Basilica within the city itself. However many older Etosians still hold a grudge against Regalia’s island of Basta, and this does sometimes carry onto the island of Regalia itself.
- The Qadir Sultanate
- Etosil is a denouncer of the Qadir Sultanate and their heretical religion Sham’bala. They regard Qadir as barbarians, so they try not to contact the Sultanate whenever it can be avoided. The Church of Etosil teaches its followers the Qadir are not civilized and are to be converted as quickly as possible in order to ‘redeem’ them from the evil that is the Sham’bala faith.
- The Kingdom of Lusits
- Etosil and the Kingdom of Lusits are neighbouring nations, and so maintain a sense of friendship for the sake of peace. The two states regularly trade goods and luxuries in regards to economy, and the Holy Court have sent emissaries to the Court of Lusits as so have Lusits to Etosil. This friendship has definitely been strengthened after the help from Daendroc in regards to the Regalian War against the Qadir.
Apart from the Patriarchal Guard, Etosil does not have an official army, rather their military consists of militia’s called upon in times of war. This is due to the law between state and citizens that all men must defend their motherland whenever they are called upon and be trained within swordsmanship to some extent unless over the age of 40. Etosil also has the loyalty of local mercenaries and vigilantes who keep the peace within her cities. Most settlements have a jail that has been set up by local vigilantes and are accepted as the official jails. The government, of course, oversees these jails in terms of sentencing criminals and the such, but no other actions by government are usually needed.
Economy and Technology
Etosil uses the currency of Regals, as is mandated by her parent state Regalia, and does fairly well with it. With their main exports being seafoods, dyes, fine wines, spices and cloths made from the high quality wool that can be found on most sheep herds throughout the islands. By far however, the largest export of Etosil is the ore that gives them so many problems, Lapiz Lazuli, enabling the wealth used to sustain their extravagant buildings and monuments. The profession of mercantilism is a respected one within Pavleona, and there are certain streets dedicated to different crafts.
As for technology, Etosil makes use of her past inhabitants. Seraph artifacts have been used to study the structure for new technology, and their ruins have been integrated smoothly within new Etosian architecture. Food such as fish, crops and the like are harvested using typical farmland technology such as nets, rods, sickles, ploughs etc. A lot of daily tools have been influenced from Vladimir’s conquest long ago, introducing Regalian technology to the isles.
- Ailor Human (Etosian) - 85%
- Ailor Human (Other) - 10%
- Human (Other) - 2%
- Other - 3%
Etosian culture is a unique one, derived from the earliest men who discovered the ruins of the Seraph civilisation. Incorporating Seraph architecture into buildings and the like eventually developed into creating their own structural design. This is mostly comprised of pillars, domed roofs, and mosaics. The buildings are known for using quartz sparingly to create beautiful reliefs within walls and pillars.
As for the arts, Etosil is the motherland of the ancient art of iconography, the depiction of saints using certain colors and attributes. These are always seen within churches and ordinary of homes of most Etosians. Men from all over Aloria visit Etosil for the shows put on by the sultry and seductive bellydancers there, a dance form perfected over many centuries, even before the introduction of Unionism. Within the cultural district of Pavleona, several musicians can be heard on street corners, playing an assortment of Etosian instruments. Those such as the lyra, baglama and cithara are all considered children of Etosian musicians and have influenced many other instruments such as the harp or violin.
Etosian food is also known for it’s diversity and use of wildlife other countries would deem uneatable. With dishes such as stuffed vine leaves, roast pigeon, stewed hare, various lentil soups and jellied rose custards, at first foreigners are apprehensive when offered it but are amazed by the deliciousness of the platter.
Etosian Unionism is the nation’s official religion. Etosians are devout in the practice, and will shun those who defy the name of the Emperor and his servants. It is virtually impossible to travel around Etosil without seeing a few countryside churches or small shrines in-between towns. Many poor men enter the clergy, and it is not uncommon for families to give their daughters away to several nunneries or even Regalian Unionist organizations, as long as they serve the Emperor. Etosian Unionism is set apart from the main branch of Unionism as the still follow the Eighth Creed, which reveres past Emperors and servants of the Imperial Call. People who live in the cities are less lenient in regards to the practices of the Etosian faith, but villagers and the like will drive out anyone who is lazy in regards to the faith. Any ‘heretics’ will be met with fire and pitchforks, so it advised to non-Ailor and non-Unionist visitors within Etosil to ‘stay to the path and stick to the cities.’
Etosian superstitions are known for being incredibly precise and slightly weird. Coming from all corners of Etosian Unionism and some parts of ancient Etosil. A few are:
- Mother Elpida
- Mother Elpida is a fictional character more commonly known as the personification of Etosil. A tale goes that Mother Elpida was a wise woman who scoured the landscape of Etosil for a place to rest. She looked high and low, but found the cities too low and the wilderness too rugged. Eventually, after a legendary 90 years she climbed a mountain and decided the peak was to be her home. She stood on the very point of the mountain and saw the whole of the Etos Isles. Mother Elpida shouted three words from her mountaintop that could be heard over the whole of Etosil. The three words were “Saviour! Redemption! Elpida!”. Exactly a week after, the Holy Saint Volodymyr conquered Etosil and introduced Unionism. The name Elpida came to be known as Hope. Any girls born in the new year will most likely be named Elpida so that the coming years will be filled with undying hope for her family.
- The Burnt Tongue
- Most Etosians believe if you give a compliment to someone, soon after the compliment will be their downfall. For example, if someone tells a person their robes are a lovely color, soon after they will spill wine upon those same robes and ruin them. Therefore almost every Etosian carries around a Burnt Tongue charm with them everywhere. The belief is that the charm will ‘burn’ the bad luck as it leaves the mouth.
- Known as the Iconoclast, every time someone mentions the name of the deceased Supreme Patriarch, they must spit on the ground in order to ward off his vengeful spirit.
- The Star of Unionism
- If an Etosian happens to see a bad omen taking place or visits a sickly person, they usually expand their right hand over their heart. This is a gesture used in the churches of Etosil whenever sermons are taking place, as a way to send a silent prayer towards the Imperial Spirit. With bad omens it is to protect themselves from receiving the same omen, and for sickly people it is to pray for their good health. This gesture could also be used in times of distress or surprise.
- Golden Bangles
- When a noble debutante reaches 18, the prime age for marriage, they must wear four golden bangles, two on each wrist. This is to signify their single status to suitors and also to ward off ‘spinster spirits,’ the ghosts of dead spinsters who wish to inflict their misery onto another girl. If a suitor approaches a girl with golden bangles and the lady is due to be engaged already, she may simply hit her wrists together. The action notifies the man who is expected to walk away.
- Etosil is often referred to as the ‘birthplace of men’ by Etosians due to their belief that all Humans originated there and spread out across Aloria.
- The isles have a dark history of the poor treatment of women up until the reign of Aloysius II. There have been tales of young women who have been defiled by lovers being taken off and disposed of by their fathers or families, or instances where an actress has been murdered by a devout follower of Unionism. There was one story of a young lady by the name of Moichalida, who was caught embracing her lover by her husband, and so was executed by the village executioner upon sacred ground.
- The Holy Saint Volodymyr is actually synonymous with the sixth Chancellor of Regalia, Vladimir Kade. He is revered as the founder of modern Etosil all over the isles, in fact the only non Clerical head of state.
- The Etosian language and alphabet, Theodora, is thought to be a melting pot of the Daedroque, Alt-Regalisch, and Common languages.