The slave powered society of the west, centered around ancient stone cities that weather the floods.
The Floodlands stretch from the edge of Uuku's domain to the cliffy southern shores of the Highlands. Here live a sturdy people built to weather the storms and floods that impact the region with such ferocity. Here lie the ancient stone cities that are said to have been built by Vhaskus himself. Here rules the kingdom of Forkden; filled with superstitious and brave slavers that regale in the storied traditions of the Loxodon and traverse the swirlings waters of the south. In the time of ForkMaw, the lands were populated largely by the natives that had survived orcish rule of the region, as such it was underpopulated and filled with a restless people that rallied around Hongden as he swept through the floodlands on his crusade to liberate them from Vhaskus. And these people formed the bedrock of society that new immigrants from the penned up fields of the Dytikan Coast flooded into the lands they had been forced from so long before. After ForkMaw's Collapse and it's ensuing civil war, Forkden rose from the ashes as the new power of the south. As the walled cities found new rulers and people flocked in to hide from the floods, the leaders found a new understanding of how to increase productivity. The ideas of Fiefdoms and rigid power structures didn't work as well as it did in KravMaw, so they abandoned it. With this, they embraced a type of slavery that would define the country and region going forward; that of rigid contracts signed to learn and experience life outside of the walls with the safety of not losing their place within. They could become part of that class of people that made a difference outside; those traders, fishers, naval warriors, etc. They could live the rural life without the danger of forgetting the cities. It didn't take long for this type of workforce to expand to unskilled labor inside the cities as well. Where work groups could be hired on for years to deal with the workloads in the ever-active shipyards to churn out fishing and transportation vessels to replace those wrecked by unfortunate circumstances. In modern times, these workgroups have contributed to making Forkden a mecca of Airships Construction With a number of designs like the Hongden - BS42 and Togasei - BS44 originating or being constructed primarily in the walled cities. The cities of Forkden itself, however, are unlike any others. With the historied walls standing high enough to blot out the sun and constructed by hands that have been long forgotten. In the rush to fill the cities with people and the lack of ability to expand into the bed of the Southern Floodlands forced a new development. That of building against the walls and forming tiers that reached ever higher, stretching towards the sun. And as the rich built new layers and moved higher leaving the poor to create slums that struggle to even see the light of the sun.
GovernmentThe government of Forkden is split into a system of duality that reflects on many of the ways people view life in Forkden. The Sealed Enclave manages the hearth of the cities, maintaining goodwill and raising those men to sail in the armies of the Alluvial Authority as the Authority manages the lands that Forkden rules over.
The Sealed EnclaveThe Sealed Enclave have ultimate jurisdiction when it comes to the matter of what occurs within the great walled cities of Forkden, they largely ignore the existence of the rural population living in their boat villages and instead seek to maintain the throbbing multi-layered megalopolises that make-up Forkden's great cities. The enclave manages building within the walls, attempts to build onto the walls, and the distinction between the layers of the various cities. This has proven to be quite a challenge as the cities of Forkden are, by their very nature, much larger in population than most other cities of the realm acting as almost regions to themselves with their own cultural groups and histories that are radically different from one city to the next.
Alluvial AuthorityThe Alluvians maintain that their cultural homeland is in the depths of the Floodlands, and even though a majority of the ethnicity live in the Middling Plains and Araetule, their presence and influence in Forkden is still quite large. However, the Alluvial Authority does not refer to the rulers or preferred people's of the land; instead, it speaks to the original owners of the lands it protects. In this respect, the Alluvial Authority acts as many things to the people of Forkden, including the; Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Police Force for those people that live outside of the great walled cities.
Internment OfficesWhile Renai expands their influence through the judicious application of legislation and the immense wealth that comes from being granted strands of their vast trade network, Forkden watches the world in a different way. The Offices of Internment work closely with both the Enclave and the Authority to keep those under its jurisdiction in-line with the immense legal code surrounding the application, definitions and significance of slavery. With many select inspectors clad in their light grey cloaks and sent out to maintain the preservation of personal destiny, the Offices of Interment mean different things to different people. Civilians see them as the protectors of one's personal destiny and soul. Land owners recognize their authority and the likelihood that their land will be searched. And Slave Owners, even legitimate ones, often watch with worry that they mis-applied a set of statutes and may be preparing for a hefty fine or worse.
Foreign relationsForkden has direct leaders that seek the best outcomes for their people and their understandings of power in the world. With Military Forays into the Middling Jungles beyond Algier to contest the wills of Uuku and KravMaw, to monopolizing trade routes of the sea, except where they are contested by Renai's minor fleet. As a few examples of current strained relations;
- Uuku strongly protests the incursion of Forkden troops into the Middling Jungles for the establishment of logging communities and settlements.
- The Independent city of Cliffpass has many disputes with Forkden after declaring it's freedom from Forkden in the early years of The Orcish Incursion.
MilitaryThe Alluvian Authority holds the largest navy and conducts the most active drills with constant naval movements across the oceans. From safeguarding traffic on KravMaw's shores, to fending off Sahuagin aggression in the Alma Bay, to evacuating the southern waters as summer brings the floods rushing in with their towering waves that can wreck any ship. Forkden also holds a long military history that dates back to the reign of Vhaskus with a style of quick naval movements and disboarding of occupants entitled YenWai in Orcish.
Location and bordersThe lands of Forkden are, perhaps, some of the most easily defined borders of the continent of Ithungsida. Starting at the edges of the Middling Jungles and Forests of Uuku where Mt.Algier guards the entry, down the many peninsula's till you hit the Highlands. Some claim the vassal islands of the Westhill Islands to be in control of Forkden, but the officials of the Sealed Enclave see no benefit in a land devoid of the great walled cities. The Islands of Esplorzeni are also almost under the control of Forkden, yet still as remote and unclaimed as any other land, that is, until someone other than Forkden tries to claim it.
ClimateThe Southern Floodlands are a warm landscape covered with warm gusts from the southern waters of the Vhaskus ocean. The Summers are long, the winters mild and the rainfall inconsequential in comparison to the floods. Most of the storms that wreak havoc up through Forkden and into KravMaw originate in the peninsulas or the Islands of Esplorzeni.
EconomyForkden has a vibrant economy spread over several major facets, including, but not limited to; Agriculture, Animal Handling, Construction(Naval and Aerial), Transportation and Entertainment.
AgricultureAgriculture contributes a lot to the domestic economy of Forkden, with the Highlands producing large quantities of food through large farms and herds of cattle and goat that are grown for slaughter. This food is largely collected and used domestically, that is, sent to the many walled cities over being exported to Renai.
Animal HandlingThe lands of Forkden are well-known for their animal export. From the best adapted and strongest horses in the land of Ithungsida, to a disease-resistant Breeding stock bulls that are exported to the Middling Plains to help strengthen their cattle stocks. Fish Farms are also a common sight off the shores of the Alma Bay or the Highland Beaches, the extreme amount of fish available makes it a constant thing to be exported after preservation methods are undertaken.
Construction(Naval and Aerial)Labor Laws, the prevalence of Slave Labor, and the massive centralization of much of the population in the cities makes a necessity for jobs that don't have much relation to food production, and labor can be difficult to attribute when your space is limited. The many companies have taken advantage of this and turned Forkden into a powerhouse of construction and export. From the massive Naval fleets that Forkden maintains to the Airships that can seemingly only be built in these regions.
TransportationForkden primarily uses manually powered ships and airships with their surplus of willing and usable labor. However, in recent years with the advent of Bulette Engines and similar, the benefits of manual power have began to falter and wane. This has led to a reduction in jobs as companies have began to renovate and retrofit airships like the Togasei - BS44 to the Hongden - BS42.
EntertainmentThe Loxodon of the Highlands maintain their oral myths and chants that echo through the passage of time. This has brought a large feeling of using entertainment for instruction and learning. Stories have morals, plays have meanings, and lessons can be learned from everything. To be an entertainer in Forkden, is to bring your voice and memory to the dark depths of the walled cities, to ride the waves of the oncoming floods and to entrance your listeners with the truths you impart on them.
HealthTo live in Forkden has many facets that you can front.
City LifeIf you live in the cities, you know that your life means little compared to the masses you are in constant close contact with. You are more likely to be kept alive if you have value, or a community that helps you to remain that way. You also know the pain in your bones as the storms roll in or you stumble. You also know the cool feeling of salves as you cover your rashes and pray for the gods to remove Darchada's grasp on you. Once the pain recedes, you'll return to the temples and offer prayers and thanks to whichever god you find worthy and you'll pick up the bland nutrients from the offices of the Enclave. You might eat them this time, or you might sell them.
Rural LifeIf you live outside of the cities, you have a very different view of life. For you are free to wander the waters around your home. Free to interact with nature and when you get sick, you are much less likely to be shunned or lost. This is a double-edged sword, as you know that you might be the cause of your families death, or likewise your sick friends might bring you down as well. For the salves you get from the cities or the AA patrols are effective, but they don't last as long as they might need to. This doesn't change your mood. For if Chando Meywa decrees it as your destiny, then how can you escape it. No, you will live your life as it approaches and you'll do your best to make it matter.
EducationLearning when the tides come in, how to track the seasons and how to navigate the regions of their environments. The majority of Forks in the country view the paths to finding the education they need as simple. You, or your parents, can find a mentor to train you as an apprentice. Or you can join one of the government backed jobs such as the Authority Patrols and learn for yourself the ways of the world. This has lead to an individualist spirit that holds that anyone can find their purpose in life, anyone can advance. It merely takes effort and the aid of those that raised you. This does mean that orphanages are visited by swaths of volunteer tutors and other groups to help those without a backing. Sometimes providing better education to those without resources than those of middle-class families.
ArchitectureMost homes in the cities of Forkden are built out of similar heavy stone as the walls within which they reside, however, the difference between City and Rural Architecture merits having two different discussions on the topic.
City ArchitectureIf you look at the architecture in the cities, you'll see remnants of those ancient builders of the walled cities. Where stone could be shaped with a precise eye and placed against the annual waves that flatten modern construction attempts in the Southern Floodlands. Within these gargantuan walls the ancient stone has been covered in new construction that has no relation to the old. From stone pillars that mark the different levels of the tower-like cities, to the countless different materials that have been used to bring a sense of individualism to these lands that have been so removed from nature.
Rural ArchitectureOutside the city, the separation from nature is far less present. People have grown to understand the floods, and instead of trying to resist, they go with the flow. Most rural villages and cities being made out of easily transportable materials or even boats that rise with the initial surge of waters. Some of the largest hold thousands of people that come and go yearly. Choosing to trade neighbors and environments for new and more exciting areas. The boats are often built for stability and durability over aesthetics, but visages of MeyGana are often found carved into the areas as altars both makeshift and professional.
ReligionReligion in Forkden is an odd affair, embraced by high society and businesses and used to justify extensive celebration of the holidays. Indeed, the cultural norms of Forkden are largely swayed by what can be justified as expenses. The most well-known expression of these norms are the Parades of Forkden. Filled with countless floats that ascend from the depths of the cities until they top the massive walls and set off Bulette Powdered Fireworks as well as spells that light up the sky. Generally, worship in Forkden centers around any of the gods, however, during the floods MeyGana, Roar of the Sea, Rogalev, the Human Adventurer and Firn, the Chilled Halfling are called out to in the loudest voices. Seeking the protection reserved for Travelers of the Sea as it washes over them, Of Civilization as it is threatened, and of Community as they must band together. The rest of the Pantheon is openly welcomed in the land of Forkden, all noting that the gods have their holidays and domains, and deserve respect in those instances they can be.
Water DrummingThe splashing, clapping, chants that ring through many of the rivers and landscapes of Forkden are known as Water Drumming. This is largely a rural tradition, said to have been invented by migratory Human tribes that began walking back to their yearly homes while the yearly floodwaters were still flowing out to the oceans. On these walks, they would sing and chant histories and songs as they made their way home. During these walks, children playing in the waters found that they could make noises and sounds along with the chants. In time, these children's noises and chants transformed into something entire villages could take part in. With up to hundreds of people singing together and performing intricate musical performances. However, it has also been reduced to official performance groups of 6-10 people that perform in specialized waist-high basins in cities and areas across Ithungsida. While the practice originated in the depths of the Southern Floodlands, cities like Izala and Aegis have also adopted this form of music making with native groups performing in their own fashions and incorporating anything from magic to other instruments into the performance.
Major citiesAlgier, Baku, Eami, AlmaKhin, and Wasat.
Geology, topography and hydrographyAs much of the land in Forkden is low-lying with poor drainage, the area is prone to floods, especially during the yearly monsoon rains. Aging, damaged and unmaintained flood control infrastructure has resulted in the destruction of large portions of farmland, leaving farmers with little recourse but to move to the coastal cities and sell themselves to slavery. Illegal slavery is also a large concern, which can range from masters not following their end of the contract, such as illegally extending contracts or forcing their slaves to do labor that is not under their contract, to trafficking and chattel slavery. Monsters and threats in the sea also occur, along with cyclones.
ClimateHumid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cma) with heavy summer monsoon rains, similar climate to American Deep South.