An Introduction to Lartasia

A Land of Beautiful Madness

Leaving Aelusia felt bittersweet. On one hand, we jumped at the opportunity to progress, eager to leave behind the disquieting presence of the drifters. On the other hand, the Flickerwood Orchard was beautiful, far more interesting than the mundane sights found back home.
When we crossed the border into Lartasia, with its vibrant color and unsettlingly friendly fauna, we couldn't believe our eyes. We felt the effects of Mania immediately. Even now, I fail to muster words to fully describe the experience. Simon came the closest, in my mind.
Regarding the experience, he said, "This must be what it is like to see the world through rose colored glasses."
This nation bleeds nostalgia. The effects of Mania linger even after you've left. Their is a smell, a taste, a feeling that attaches itself to the memory of your visit. The land is stunning and mysterious, but also perilous. The people are kind and hospitable, but staggeringly easy to offend. This is a place of contradiction, a place of wonders and horrors alike.
— Lady Serenity, The Ivyhollow Legacy
       
As one travels along the makeshift roads toward the eastern border of Dis and The Freeholds, they will find themselves in Aelusia. This is where Lartasia begins, a largely unknown land with bizarre customs and strange connections to the land its people inhabit.   Lartasia is the only place where Informal Ozolithian continues to be spoken. Apart from the provinces, Lartasia is the final bastion of Ozolithian culture, though it's been transformed and has evolved much since the fall of the empire. Many would argue it has little in common with Ozlith.   While it uses an offshoot of Vigor Economies in the form of Lartasian Vigor, the nation's proximity to Mania, one of many Universal Maladies, has drastically altered it. It is said to be the birthplace of The Tablin, and is the world's greatest mystery among circles of explorers in The Freeholds and Estoya .
   

History

Lartasians trace their ancestry to Ozlith, and a tribe of humans annexed into the empire nearly twelve hundred years ago. The Lartasians remained solidified in The Ozolithian Empire for four hundred years before the empire fell, but due to how far they were from the capital, they rarely engaged with the empire itself.   They maintained independence, save for the occasional payment of tribute. When the empire finally fell after The Battle of The Godsgrave, they found themselves in the path of the rampaging horde and without the protection the empire promised. They fled their land and traveled north along the coast, finally settling in the northern region they inhabit today.   They started as small tribes, but over the centuries merged into a nation they called Lartasia, an Ozolithian term for A Nation of beauty. They became obsessed with Mania and the gorgeous landscapes within it. The people spread across the region, forming many separate tribes, each with its own customs.    

The Matchmakers

Arcanists skilled in Arcana Sanguis began to study blood in a different way, their curiosity and inventive nature sparked by Mania. They began looking inward, studying the nature of blood and how it passes down to one's offspring. They discovered how some genes are recessive, some are dominant, and how some are malicious in nature.   These mages reported their findings, and the people were driven to action. They subjected themselves to experiments in the hope that they would rise through the ranks of society. Many died hoping somewhere deep down in their genetic code was something special, valuable to nobles who wish to bear the finest heirs.   The matchmakers cared little for their power, only the knowledge muttered. Their meddling with genetics as well as their discoveries on what genes are preferred over others cemented the future of Lartasia and gave rise to Daimyo, noble families that make up the highest caste of Lartasian society.
 

The Daimyo

The Daimyo emerged around three hundred years ago, a strange twist on the feudal system used by their western neighbors in the Freeholds. No one knows how or why, but many believe they emerged after the emphasis of genetic purity became a staple of society. It wasn't about "keeping it in the family." Incest was the quickest way for a family to end up on the bottom ring of the social ladder.   The Daimyo emerged when certain members of scattered tribes found they had favorable genes, and if they bore children with someone of equally favorable genes, the child would benefit twice as much. This elevated them above others, making marriage heavily restricted.   The Matchmakers would negotiate marriages with various members of society as an experiment, and the result was The Daimyo, genetically pure bloodlines only suited to breed with those of equally pure genetic lines. They are noble houses, each owning land with Daimyo of a lesser line beneath them.
 

Fun Fact: The Tablin

The first tablin to appear in the world originated in Lartasia. They were cast out of society, seen as less than even the seedless caste. They left en masse and stretched across the globe over the centuries.   The first to emerge in Estoya wore masks, and many believe this came from their Lartasian Roots. While Estoyan Tablin have dramatically altered the tradition, those in Lartasia have changed little in their views.   Tablin are treated poorly in Lartasia, and it's recommended they avoid the nation unless protected. Hate crimes are common, and seldom end with the Tablin alive.

Lartasia in the present


Currently, there are 72 provinces in Lartasia. Each is ruled by a single Daimyo. The family then further divides the province, granting land to members of the family and less pure houses known as Liyo. These Liyo divide land among the Gyo, members of the warrior and merchant caste, who divide their land among the citizens in exchange for taxes, goods, and services. Each province is different in custom and each has its own laws.   Each Daimyo is mythical in status among those under them. Legends are told of them, some are even true. They are beautiful, human genetics, perfected into the most photogenic form possible. They are hyper-immune to most ailments, strong bodied, and enjoy longer lives than the healthiest humans elsewhere in the world.   The Liyo run their land with ease, and the Gyo are fierce fighters and crafty merchants. They are in charge of Lartasian Vigor. They are the ones who keep the nation going. They are often responsible for the majority of warfare that occurs between provinces, as well. While the Daimyo retain the power, they are indifferent. Many refuse to leave their estates in fear of being killed, thus losing genetic potential.
Pronounced: Lar-tay-see-uh

Mania and The Age of Invention

Mania is a curious malady when compared to other afflictions in reality. It is a dual edge sword, capable of sparking madness, but also creativity. In Lartasia, innovation is second nature. Since the nation's inception, sciences have pushed the boundaries more than any other nation.   Firearms, rudimentary vehicles, and groundbreaking medical advancement make Lartasia a force to be feared. While they have never waged war with a foreign power, some worry that one day they will.   A common idea circulating in several parts if the world is how Lartasia could easily conquer the glove if they were willing. Mania tends to bring a sense of comfort, and it makes one content. As luck would have it, Lartasian's just don't want to.
 

Fun fact: Lartasian Cartography

Those among the Liyo and Gyo castes can elevate their status a little more by joining the cartographers. Lartasian cartographers have a strange connection to the land. They can glance at a coastline and know exactly how it should look on their maps. They can produce their maps with perfect accuracy and at alarming speeds.   A cartographer is an artist, usually a painter, who can paint a complex painting in moments by cascading the brush over the top of the canvas. The pain only sticks when it needs too, their mental picture slowly forming as they add more color.   The cartographers are one of the ways Estoya seeks to improve relations with Lartasia. In many ways, cartographers are to Lartasians what Bards are to the cultures in the west. They share the same luxuries and status, and are highly prized for their skill.

The Powder Roads


Time passed, and Lartasia came into contact with The Freeholds, whom they cautiously opened up trade too. The presence of Vertigo in the world made trade difficult, but the powder roads were carefully and painstakingly plotted along areas where the fewest incursions of the malady existed. It created a steady flow of readable goods to and from the two regions.   The name comes from the explosive black powder developed in Lartasia. This powder is the secret behind the firearms that made The Freeholds famous. Many other materials proved profitable along the powder roads like fine silks, unique food and alcoholic beverages, and rare materials.   The Powder Roads are the first proper trade route to be established since the appearance of universal maladies. It shows a remarkable drive to adapt, something many cultures are still struggling with in the world today.
   

Lartasian Culture

The culture of Lartasia is varied from one province to another. The population is made up of many species from Humans to Alfen. Despite this, all provinces focus on tradition. There is a way things are done and an emphasis on efficiency. Not following tradition makes one less effective to their superiors. Those in the lower classes are little more than livestock to those above them. This is present in every province as it helps maintain the nation's already unstable ground.   One can notice this even in war. Common soldiers go to war, wearing masks, a means of dehumanizing them to their enemy, and vice versa. The only way of maintaining such control without rebellion is through Lartasian Vigor, a means of using the years of one's life as currency. Citizens, and those of the seedless caste, are given little more than a day if their life to live, unsure if they will wake up in the morning if they upset the wrong person.   While a few revolts have occurred, a couple even being successful, those in Lartasia are only worth what their genetics can offer. If you're not seedless, you can potentially marry a bridge between the castes, or undergo an operation with a matchmaker to improve your genes altogether.  
   

Geography of Lartasia

While each province has its own variation of geography, there are key regions that Lartasians recognize based. Some of these regions are small, others encompass a vast area. Lartasia is a large nation, though it isn't clear where its borders end.
     

The Manic Forests

The vast majority of Lartasia's landscape consists of vast forests. The colors are vibrant and oversaturated due to mania. Trees grow tall and strong with massive fungal stalks and mushrooms found among the shrubs and bushes on the forest floor.   The climate of these regions are ever-changing, from moderate to tropical. These rapid changes often prompt a mass migration of creatures from one part of the land to another as the six seasons of Lartasia come and go. Each season is based on the predominant climate in the region. The rain changes colors and to match, so too does the flora.   The wildlife found in Lartasia are hyper-intelligent, some even capable of speech. Be this as it may, they are rarely hostile. Most of the folklore in Lartasia features a friendship between Lartasians and the animals they encounter. This is a common trend, and some animals are often kept as companions.
 
   

The Mido Hystera


The Mido is a name given to the densest part of the forests in Lartasia. As mania spreads, it condenses and becomes Hysteria. This compounds the effects of Mania tenfold, to the point where the colors grate against the senses, and exposure can leave one irritable and prone to emotional outbursts.   Creatures who venture in leave The Mido as crazed beasts, such as the Jhoterordenes. The flora is just as violent. Angry Couples migrated from Lartasia to The Black March and are a menace for those traveling through in Husky Caravans .     The Mido is inhospitable. No one lives there. It's often used when someone is exiled as a punishment. Those who go in never come out, no matter how well-equipped or strong they are.
 
 

The Glimmervoid

Often called The Lumingrid, The best kept secret of Lartasia is the Glimmervoid, a manifestation of Ethical Sheen where The Aldritch reside. The Aldritch are the descendants of Gehova, the Ozlithian god of peace and justice. They shaped the province as they saw fit, and thrive there between time and space.   Entering the Glimmervoid is dangerous, as time passes differently there. Vertigo is stable but not inert. The Aldritch find dealing with mortals voting, as they find it difficult to understand one another. For the mortal, they receive answers to questions they have yet to ask, while the Aldritch already knows the entire conversation and waits for the mortal to catch up.   The Aldritch live in seclusion, a city state separate of the affairs outside. They are closely guarded by the Lartasians, and many still serve them. They worship the hallowed ground and make pilgrimage to the Glimmervoid once a year, never knowing what year it will be when they return.
           

A Look At The Daimyo

  • Daimyo Yukili, or paradise, is famous for killing those who fail to skip the final step up the stairs to their estate. The Daimyo believes they exist on a higher plane than others, and as such, only they may take the final step up the stairs.
 
  • The members of Daimyo Poul, or horse, refuse to ride or break their horses, using them as uncontrollable weapons of war. Their stables are opened and a stampede of stallions will hit enemy lines long before the forces of the Daimyo are fielded, to mixed results.
 
  • Damyo Xiosloti, or Dying Trees, believe forests to be sacred spaces. They hang wind-chimes randomly in the forest on their land. The chimes make low, rumbling sounds as they collide and emit agonized screams when wind rushes through them.
 

Further reading



Cover image: by Oxeren

Comments

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19 Jun, 2020 21:05

Great stuff as always, Dyl <3


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
19 Jun, 2020 22:07

Why thank ya Q!

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