Veska Organization in Arclands | World Anvil


Written by Verse_Online

Veska is one of the largest and wealthiest nations of Eastern Aestis, the source of its prosperity being the rich black earth that produces bountiful harvests. Veskan wheat feeds not only its people but the entire eastern portion of the continent from Ghotharand to the Vire. Veska is one of the few nations, beyond the Arclands, that the lords of the nine great cities consider worth any interest. Veskan food, livestock, horses and other goods flow through the trade routes from east to west and fill the markets of cities like Arc and Taeor. While this establishes the great ‘Garden Kingdom’ as being essential to the wellbeing of the Arclands themselves, it does not prevent Veskans from being seen as different by their neighbours. Whilst the country has its cities, most Veskans live in a network of farms and hamlets dotted across the plains, foothills and forests. Veskans also have a far deeper connection to the land and to the cycles of nature than most Arclanders do. The wealth of Veska is not always a benefit to its people, as the Ghothars look on with envy, jealousy and resentment; the northern cousins of the Veskans have frequently resorted to war in order to seize the resources needed to feed their hungry people.  


  The Veskans originate from the northern continent of Ty’Zan and were originally part of the northern tribe of the Aaruhke peoples, known as the Aavaskar. They and their southern cousins, the Nulvaskar, were forced out of the continent by the encroachment of rival tribes. They endured constant invasions and tribulations, until crossing the seas and colonising the southern continent seemed like the only option for survival. In the years that followed the decision to leave for new lands, the two tribes, divided by feuding and conspiracy, worked together under the guidance of the skald and mystic Svan-Hyrikson. The first phase of the journey was to the island of Skor-Barradh, where a fateful decision was made. The Aavaskar were tricked into laying claim to the land they named Vaskar (later Veska) by their Nulvaskar cousins. The Nulvaskar knew that this was a cursed land, inhabited by monstrous, skeletal giants known as Gorins. Cynically, the Nulvaskar offered these territories to the Veskans, knowing that their colonisation attempts would be met with tragedy. The first waves of Veskan colonists were all slain as they came ashore. The hideous Gorins came out of the low lying coastal fog, killing all who set foot on dry land. Successive colonisation attempts also failed, as the lords of Veska sent further parties to find out what had become of their comrades.   By this point, the Nulvaskar had set sail for their new home and the Veskan lords were stuck on the island of Skohr Barradh. Before the Nulvaskar left, the conspirators who had led the Veskans to their doom were condemned by Svan-Hyrikson. Seeing the skald as a threat to their power, a group of rogue Nulvaskar earls murdered him, adding to the blood feud between the Nulvaskar and the Veskans, who also treasured Svan-Hyrikson as their spiritual guide.   The Skalds of Veska tell of a pivotal moment in the history of their people. The legend says that two Veskans princes, the future king of Veska Nul an Trass and his friend Druth an Arras were visited by three of the Keeper’s Graces, who taught Nul the hidden words of Old Vannic that would keep the Gorins at bay. For Druth, the Graces had a different message, ‘remain hidden, remain strong.’ Druth knew that for all his friend’s wisdom, there was also weakness.   Nul learned how to lead the Veskans to their new home, and showed them how to use Vannic runes carved into stone to keep the Gorins at bay, but Druth knew that Nul’s vanity and his desire for acclaim would be his downfall. Through subterfuge and cunning, however, he managed to keep his friend safe, eventually establishing others like him who learned to watch over successive Veskan kings.   The Graces left Nul with a word of warning; their runes would not last forever, and would one day need to be re-learned and re-written and when they did, Veska would have to be re-born with it. Much of this has passed into rumour and legend, but it has become increasingly clear to many Veskans along the borders of their kingdom that the Gorin Stones that kept the vile creatures away no longer work as powerfully as they once did. Someday the Gorin stones will lose their power altogether, and the kingdom will once again be over-run.    

Relations with Ghotharand

  Ghothars seethe with resentment at their southern neighbour and believe that the sly, untrustworthy Veskans tricked them out of the best land available, but the truth is quite different. Ghotharand has waged several wars against Veska and despite their poverty, the northern warrior state has enough forces to keep the Garden Kingdom in a state of constant anxiety. Veskans have learned that it is easier to appease the Ghothars with shipments of food, as they know that the more hungry Ghotharand gets, the more dangerous it becomes. The transfers of grain, meat and preserved fruit and vegetables give Veska a degree of political leverage over Ghotharand which has led to a prolonged period of relative stability between the two states, even though high tensions remain. The Ghothars see transfers of food as their right, believing that the land it grows on should rightfully belong to them.    


  Veskan society has largely been shaped by the threats that the kingdom faces. The people of Veska tend to have a deep sense of loyalty and duty to their nation, their kinsmen and to whoever sits on the Rosewood Throne in the capital city Kraul. The country is also ill at ease, as many fear that one day the Ghothars will find a way to invade again and finally subjugate the Veskans forever, or drive them off their lands and back towards the sea. The fear of being driven towards the sea like the Aarukhe were (except this time with nowhere to sail to), haunts the imaginations of Veskans with long memories.   As a result of this, Veskans are constantly vigilant to the risks of subversion and sabotage, and fear that the Ghothars might have enemies within the kingdom who will help them if they invade. There are periodic reports of individuals, families and even whole villages vanishing after being suspected of disloyalty; for many Veskans these disappearances are an open secret, anyone can know about them if they choose to find out, but nobody wishes to. Veska is divided up into thirteen dukedoms and the three main duchies of the coast manage to concentrate economic and political power.      


  Kraul is the great capital of the Veskan people. It is one of several coastal cities and is the largest port in Eastern Aestis. Kraul is far larger than Khozan in Ghotharand and is one of the most significant food exporting ports on the continent. It has a darker legacy, however. Before Veskans joined with most of the Arcland cities in ending slavery, it was a centre of the eastern slave trade, which normally involved the transportation of Olorians and their sale to Ghotharand. Ghothars tried to use Olorian slaves to cultivate the land once their attempts at using the Elsari failed and thousands of Olorians eventually starved, along with their masters. Some Veskans now harbour deep remorse for the treatment of Olorians on the journeys across what both refer to as the ‘suffering sea’.   Kraul is a curious mixture of Veskans, Olorians who now trade with Veska and Ghothars who come to buy heavily subsidised grain from the Veskans. Knowing that a hungry Ghotharand is a dangerous Ghotharand, the Veskan kings for generations have allowed their unpredictable northern neighbours cheap food, and allowed the swaggering Ghothars to believe that it is their right to demand ‘tribute’. Many Ghothars prefer to live in Kraul and enjoy the comforts of Veskan life, though they would never admit it. At the heart of the city is the Dransukh Daar, the circular white fortress of the kings of Veska, where currently King Aluus an Deerh reigns, his throne sitting directly over the circular catacombs of his forbears from Nul an Trass onwards.    


  Nuk Dal An Anthorkh is the largest inland city in Veska. It is a huge marketplace for Veskan grain, meat, wine and produce, but it also serves as the most significant scholarly centre east of Arc, as it was at Nuk that the first Gorin stones were carved. The huge rune bound monoliths that run across the border lands and in long channels deep into Veskan territory could not have been created without the expertise of the crafters of Nuk. Centuries ago the creators of the Gorin stones understood elements of Old Vannic and could infuse the stones with magical energy though incantation and chanting the words of the Van as they worked. Now that knowledge has been lost and the carvers work in silence, creating new Gorin stones with far less of the power than their predecessors made; all the while, the older Gorin stones slowly losing their potency as well.  


  Here, the last remnants of the Veskan navy can be found. The vast fleets of ships that once brought Veskans to Aestis, and which were later filled with Olorian slaves or which fought desperate sea battles with the Ghothars, lie in a vast nautical graveyard and are only revealed fully at low tide. When land routes opened up to the rest of the Arclands (no matter how perilous they were, across the Great Plains), there was no longer a need for the Veskans to be a maritime power. Kassimut is still the centre of Veskan ship building, but where once scores of ships were built each year, now just a handful are produced.  


  Dropoven was once one of the holiest sites in Veska. It was at Dropoven that Veskans first stepped ashore after learning the secrets of the Graces and were able to defeat the scourge of the Gorins. It was also at Dropoven that Veskans abandoned their old gods and beliefs and embraced Aruhvianism, recognising that the Keeper had sent his beloved Graces to save the Veskan people. An Aruhvian temple was established at Dropoven, looking out across the ocean, and it became one of the most important sites of the Aruhvian faith east of Arc.   As the centuries passed, some preachers claimed that Veska had not been favoured by the Keeper, but his children, the Graces, had decided to act against the Gorins on their own. Furious debates over this question divided Veskan Aruhvians, and Dropoven became contested between High Aruhvians and rebel ‘Refusing Aruhvians’ who placed their faith in the Graces, not the Keeper. After the Sundering, Dropoven was abandoned by both sides, but a handful of priests remained. The Sundering turned them into the undead Priests and they sank deep into the catacombs and crypts, leaving the temples of Dropoven to fall into ruins. Dropoven sits at the end of a long peninsula and is eerily silent, Veskans fear the empty city and even the country’s rulers avoid it.  


  Ingdor is a semi autonomous city of smugglers, mercenaries and spies. It is the seat of the second family of Veska, the Dren an Arrus. They operate Ingdor as a semi autonomous fiefdom and no Veskan king so far has chosen (or had the strength to) break the family’s power. As a result, mercenaries in Ingdor are aware that the law of the Veskan crown only reaches so far in Ingdor and it is, to some extent, a safer haven for those involved in dubious schemes. It is also the epicentre of Underkingdom intrigues, and wandering adventurers find it hard to avoid becoming involved.     Do you want more lore? Get weekly updates on World Anvil and the Arclands Blog straight to your email inbox, PLUS our list of fifty mysterious trinkets to delight and enchant your adventuring party. Get your copy here.

A Fire in the Heart of Knowing

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