Norigon

There are no Cirsovan settlements further north than Norigon.  Only Polaris lies deeper in the barrens.

Norigon serves only one purpose: it is a wonderful place for traders on the Long Road to turn back and go home.

Though many merchants choose to stay with their goods from Delivals to Norigon, few are willing to take the risk of completing the journey to Polaris.  Many merchants will sell their goods or trade for finished Polaran glasswork to local traders who are willing and properly equipped to brave the ice when the road is open.  Those willing to brave the perpetual cold and having the patience to wait for many months to sell goods may find great profit in Norigon.

Warehouses make up the majority of buildings in Norigon, housing the many goods bound for Polaris. Throughout the empire, warehouse space in Norigon is bought and traded as investment, with merchant rent being paid to the various shareholders.  Individuals who operate warehouses, whether they own them or not, are called ‘Lords’.  The Lords are responsible for all intermediary trading with merchants who do not wish to continue to Polaris. Additionally, a Lord may accompany the caravan to Polaris to negotiate on behalf of merchants.

Norigon’s isolation at the far reach of the empire has led to a distinctive culture that, while Cirsovan at its corer, is far more superstitious than any heartland community.  Part of this may be due to their exposure to Polaran culture, its own myths and mysteries.  Norigon is the only Cirsovan city in Gatlia where regular Shuul use may be found, though its said that its most renowned properties are felt far less strongly here than when consumed nearer its source.

Norigon has no agriculture, getting most of its food from Delivals, but hunting in the wastes is considered an admirable calling.  Norigonian hunters are known for their bravery and taciturn nature and are often hired by merchants (especially those who seek to bypass the ‘Lords’ and maximize their potential profits) to escort goods along the Highway of Ice. The careers of Norigonian hunters are notoriously short, with many dying in the barrens from exposure to the elements or being eaten by wolves and ice bears.

Because of the extreme cold, Norigonians wear heavy fur clothing at all times, typically made from elk, caribou or the fur of animals brought from the southern parts of the empire.  For instance, a very wealthy Norigonian may have leopard furs brought from Paelnor.  Hunters will often wear the furs of ice bears they have slain while protecting caravans.  In Norigon, ice bears are known for attacking shipments of food and stealing children who stray too far into the barrens.  Some Norigonians believe they are not bears at all, but descendants of northern wizards who turned themselves into bears to survive the cooling that destroyed the Northern Civilization.  The Norigonians often refer to them only as “the enemies of man.”

Because it has so few permanent residents, Norigon is not represented in the Gatlian council in Syflanis.

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Gatlia

Gatlia lies in the northwest corner of the Cirsovan Empire, bounded by the Ice Sheet to the north and the Dusksea on the west.  Unlike Ungoza, where the lost northern civilization is manifest only in ruins and legends of the Marshfolk, Gatlia has within its borders a living antiquity in the city of Polaris, the last known city of an otherwise vanished kingdom.

Gatlia is home to the northernmost cities in the Cirsovan Empire; even her southernmost cities lie along higher latitudes than Cratera in Ungoza. Most of the population of Gatlia is found in southern Gatlia, which was settled some two and a half centuries ago, in the valley of the AmbellaRiver.  Southern Gatlia is shielded from the harsh northern climates by the Gatlian mountain range, warmed by gentle breezes blowing in from the Dusksea, and nourished by the Ambella.  The several small quarrying towns, farming villages, baronies and larger cities of southern Gatlia are connected by a portion of the Long Road often referred to as the Gatlian Highway.

Crystals from the crater region of Ungoza are just one of the many rare commodities traded along the highway. The Gatlian Highway also sees plenty of stone and livestock being moved to market. These goods make their way to the port of Syflanis and are shipped north to the port of Delivals.  From Delivals, goods are sent by land north to Norigon, where caravans are met by those hardy enough to brave the Highway of Ice to Polaris, the DreamingCity, the northernmost city in world not yet abandoned in the face of the slowly encroaching ice sheet.  Strange and beautiful wonders of art and artifice are created by those living in that far off city and are shipped south back along the highways and by sea, eventually making their way back to Pelliora, from which they disperse throughout the rest of the lands.

As with all lucrative trade routes in the world, the Gatlian highway is sometimes fraught with the perils of highwaymen and banditry.  Traditionally, quelling banditry had been the roll of either the Baron of Nortune or of Sotune, depending on which side of the AmbellaRiver the bandits were harassing.  Typically, the banditry runs in five year cycles, as well, perhaps because of the fluctuating trade volume from the east.

Gatlia is also subject to an unlikely experiment in governance. The province is nominally ruled by a Duke, who answers directly to the Emperor in Gatia, but most matters of state are determined by a council of representatives sent from cities within the province, acting on behalf of the lesser noble families, in the case of the Lordly Representatives, and acting on behalf of local merchants, farmers, workers, etc. in the form of Popular Representatives.  How these representatives are selected varies from town to town, either by appointment, election or hereditary. The council’s primary concern is the smooth traffic of goods through the province and allocating provincial resources to those ends.  The council meets regularly in the port city of Syflanis, which serves as the provincial seat.

Winter Break

I’m going to be away from Cirsova for a bit, because I’m going to be on Christmas Holiday, visiting relatives with my lovely girlfriend, so comments might not be approved until sometime later next week.

All Encyclopedia Entry, Art and Music posts are scheduled far in advance, so there won’t be any interruptions.

Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!