Home of the Honorbound
No nation is greater. No nation is stronger. We are the people of Irdar. We live, and we die, by the sword.
Dominating the southern Fields of Irdar, the Sovereign Principality of Irdárina is a nation of warrior clans serving under their high chieftain, known to them as the "bej'mako". Strong, capable and utterly without pity for the weak, the irdarian nation is one you do not want to make your enemy. Though unfortunately, they've probably made you their enemy already, simply due to your existance.
Born out of war
Irdárina is a rebellion nation, formed out of a dispute between the king of the kingdom of Khamad and a very popular noblewoman by the name of Keyla of House Vayantar in 120 ÞS (TS) (see Irdárian rebellion). This trial by fire really set the groundwork for what the Irdárian were to become.
The soul and heart of Irdárina is the warrior culture and the clan-like structure. The nation is a shining example of Charos' ideals. Power is not given, it is earned or taken. Success is measured in won battles, kingdoms defeated, enemies slain and loot acquired. Everything in Irdárina is a contest of strength, power and honor and nothing is more important than one's honor. Without honor, you are better off dead.
"Honor" is, however, an insufficient descriptor of their concept. In their language of Qaj, the word is Ghoj and is much more than just a simple concept of honor. It encompasses your entire value as a person, be it your physical might, face, economic power or achievements in life.
Irdárians are a proud and noble people. To them, there is no greater currency than ghoj. Ghoj rules everything for them, and it is akin to nobility for other nations. The greater and grander your ghoj, the more political power you wield and the more respected you are. Upholding said ghoj is the highest priority for an Irdarian, for being dishonored is a great setback, and a great dishonor could well be a fate worse than death.
Mok'to'bar stood in the doorway, his hand tightly gripping the handle of his sword. The chieftains of the great houses were lined up at either side of the Road of Honor, the carpet leading up to the throne of the bej'mako.
"I am Mok'to'bar of the house of Gagh!" he proclaimed, barely holding his voice steady. "I have come before the bej'mako to reclaim my house's ghoj."
"Your son was found guilty of murder, Mok'to'bar." Aelanti, the high chieftain, studied the warrior as he strode up the carpet. "How is it that he yet lives? Do you not know that his life is forfeit?"
Mok'to'bar stopped in front of the throne and looked at the young bej'mako.
"I cannot kill my own son, bej'mako'wa." His voice was broken and lacked the usual presence and strength. "I am here to pay the price to restore my house's ghoj."
Aelanti of Vayantar leaned back. A marginally displeased scowl danced across her lips as she performed the traditional salute towards Mok'to'bar.
"So be it, chieftain. May Charos allow you redemption in the afterlife!"
Mok'to'bar saluted, turned around and faced the chieftains of the great houses as he drew his sword. Without much fanfare, he turned it on himself, fell to his knees and stabbed the sword right through his heart. Aelanti leapt forward from her throne, sword in hand, and decapitated him before he could even begin falling towards the ground.
She stood over his fallen body, raising the blade in front of her, tip slightly tilted towards the floor. The blood ran along the polished blade, dripping from the tip. She looked at the chieftains and proclaimed:
"The ghoj of the house of Gagh has been restored! The price, in blood, has been paid."
The Warriors of Irdar
From when children are old enough to stand and hold a weapon, they are taught the art of combat. All from personal combat with swords, axes, spears and shields up to group combat in formation as they age. In this way, Irdárina is much like its ancestral parent country of Khamad, but the Irdárians took it several steps further, being prouder and more aggressive than their comparatively tamer neighbours.
Irdárina is therefore something of a spanner in the works when it comes to arjinian politics as they tend to be boisterous and preferring to solve issues with, what they consider, a tasteful war rather than at the diplomatic table.
I am Vek, son of Kodar, of the house of Kavok. You have dishonored my house. Pick up your blade and defend yourself!
The Houses of Irdárina
Irdárina is hierarchically structured in almost every level. The country is ruled by the high chieftain, locally known as the bej'mako.
Every citizen of Irdárina is part of a clan, but the irdárians refer to them as houses. Your house is your identity and your safety, and carries a lot of your political clout. Ghoj is something incredibly important among the irdárian people, and dishonoring your house is something that can at best lead to severe punishment and at worst to being put to death.
The houses are internally structured with an elder possessing the position of bej (chieftain) of the house. There are however no rules prescribed as to how houses should handle their internal politics, beyond the fact that the house (and ultimately its chieftain) is responsible for the actions of its members.
Without a house you are one of the "houseless" and while this does not in any way put you outside of society, you are looked upon with suspicion and often disgust. Houseless are commonly seen as dishonorable people that have been shunned by their own house. This, while often the case, isn't always true. There are several reasons why one would be houseless beyond having been excommunicated from one. There are legends of houseless warriors who have held great personal honor.
One major difference with being without a house is that you alone are responsible for your own honor and your actions. You cannot rely on your house's honor to protect you when you act dishonorably. The same applies when someone accuses you of dishonor, or tarnishes your honor. You have no one to lean on or back you up. You are on your own. Houseless are therefore often required to fight to defend their honor, as there really are no other records beyond reputation of their status and honor, than pure skill.
The Great Houses
The 40 greatest and most prestigious houses hold a special position called Great Houses. These 40 form the Ruling Council of Houses where the chieftains of the 40 convene and function as a government for the country. The bej'mako is always selected from one of those 40, so there is a competition among lower ranking houses to climb the social ladder and overtake one of the 40 and take a seat on the council, and perhaps even have the honor of being the house of the new bej'mako.
The Irdárians strive to be self-sufficient. It is not strange for a nation that believes so strongly in the teachings of Charos to strive to be without the help or support of foreigners.
There isn't a large amount of trade with other nations. Instead each house strives to provide something for the nation that it needs. There are entire houses devoted to the production of grains, vegetables, cattle etc. Houses will trade with each other for goods they need, rather than seeking trade abroad. As far as it's even possible, the Irdárians will trade amongst themselves for what they need, only turning to foreigners when it's absolutely necessary, such as the Khobon Federation for transport via sea.
The Iron Road
One of the things that Irdárina sorely lacks are ready access to weapons grade metals, such as iron. There are a couple of mines near the coast and in the northeastern hills, but they are not quite enough to fill the needs of the nation. Therefore, a major trade partner was found in the Khobon Federation. The khobonians certainly don't lack iron, seeing as their entire coast is rife with it in the Sah Maakh'wa. Irdárina trades grains and common foodstuffs with the Khob, who generally only have access to seafoods and fish due to their chilling climate, and in return the irdárians get enough iron to supplement their own mines.
The iron is delivered by sea to the port city of Kejol Mas and from there, it's transported by land across the trade road northwest to the bazaar of Toghul where it's traded off to whoever wants to buy. For this reason, the trading route has become something vital to the nation. Several inns and taverns line the route and it has become known as the "Iron Road".
Irdárina is a nation forged in war, quite literally. Born out of the Irdárian rebellion, the nation has been founded upon the idea that you must be willing, and capable, to defend yourself and what you believe in. Only then will you be successful in life.
This confrontational and brash viewpoint has led to Irdárina being almost constantly at war with its neighbours. Although not many outright battles are fought, there is still no peace to be had with a nation like Irdárina. At most they consider to be at an armistice with their neighbours, unless someone offers a very beneficial alliance.
The Chatalan Standoff
Irdárina has a very violent history, starting with the rebellion from Khamad, and after that having to defend itself from it's previous masters over the years. In addition, the growth of Khol-Chatal at Irdárinas northwestern border meant that settlers from Irdárina originally had to deal with frequent raids from chatalan brigands and even outright attacks from chatalan soldiers. This has died off in recent decades due to Khol-Chatal's more decadent rulers focusing their efforts towards political enemies rather than external ones.
Khol-Chatal and Irdárina have never officially made peace, or even declared an armistice. Technically, Irdárina lays claim to the same lands Khol-Chatal does and that puts them at odds. However, the conflict has never been resolved, and no grand battles have been fought. Khol-Chatal is far too busy with its internal struggles to really make an effort in driving the Irdárians out, and quite frankly would likely not stand a chance against a united Irdárina. The irdárians on the other hand, while strong, don't really want the frozen hellhole that is Khol-Chatal lands. So they sit on either side of their borders and glare at each other out of habit.
Irdárina houses a fairly even spread of species and the vast majority of people in Irdárina are Irdárians. There are pockets of other ethnicities here and there, usually near borders. However, if you are a foreigner, you'd do best in adopting the Irdárian's customs quickly. They are not a patient or understanding people. You either prove yourself worthy, or be cut down like grass.
Politics and judicial matters
The Council of Houses is a political body made up of the 40 strongest and most prestigious houses. These 40 houses have traditionally written the law of the land that governs it. The bej'mako must ratify every law, but there's generally little resistance as the 40 tend to end up in agreement one way or the other.
Chieftains are required to uphold the law within their own house, and if they are unable or unwilling to do so, they themselves must bear the punishment. Usually this is considered extremely dishonorable and will almost always, without fail, result in ritual suicide to preserve the ghoj of the house.
It is believed that when a chieftain carries great dishonor he will bear that dishonor into the afterlife, and thus if he kills himself he brings that dishonor with him away from the house, effectively restoring the ghoj of the house, and gains a chance to redeem himself in the afterlife.
While faith isn't something that is overtly spoken about in Irdárina, or anywhere in the Morvátian Pensinsula, most everyone are followers of Charos and the Honorbound faith, Ghoj'Sap Tah. There are a smattering of smaller faiths and other deities followed, but even these minor dieties are subservient to Charos.
Territory and military
The Irdárian Principality holds the lands south of Khamad and southeast of Khol-Chatal, an area colloquially called the Fields of Irdar. Specifically when talking about irdárian lands, one refers to them as the southern Fields of Irdar.
Irdárina is a very militant nation and when threatened by an outside foe it can raise an absolutely stunning amount of warriors in almost no time. Almost every single citizen is a capable warrior, aside from the elderly and children.
As such, Idárina houses the theoretically largest army in the world. However it has been many years since Irdárina was involved in active conflict, in spite of their hostility towards their neighbours. Large parts of Khol-Chatal is a stinking, frozen wasteland that Irdárina has miniscule interest in, and Khamad is strong enough to actually pose a threat if openly declared war on.
The annexation of Fodjan
That left the small kingdom of Fodjan as a target for the Irdárians. The houses of Gagh, Voghul, Roms and Tokha' banded together and laid claim to large areas of Fodjan's western fields and went in. Fodjan, being a mostly peaceful nation, didn't put up much of a resistance. Irdárina conquered large portions of their southern arable fields before Khamad caught wind of the conquest and offered Fodjan the position of protectorate. Fodjan was without hope at this point and accepted. With the Khamadian army moving in to fortify the front, the Irdárian soldiers were stopped and fell back to their conquered lands.
It is no secret why Khamad did this, as the small nation of Fodjan is Khamad's only access to the coast, with Irdárina controlling the entire south. While Khamad used Fodjan's ports before the war through trade, they now directly control them.
Irdárina retains the conquered lands to this day, but they've been stopped from moving any further.
Irdárina is largely self-sufficent, trading internally for everything it needs. However, there are things that are traded externally as well, primarily iron imported from the Khobon Federation in exchange for grains and wholefoods and plainswolves and plainswolf furs export to affluent people in the Gimroan Basin.