The Exarchate of Halion (/eksarkɪt ɘv halion/ (Aeillan: /eksarkɪt ton halion/))
Εξψαριτ τον Εíλιaν
The Exarchate of Halion on the western frontier of the Aeillan region has something of a reputation for lawlessness and as a place to seek the services of less than reputable people, especially pirates, slavers, and small time mercenaries willing to overlook certain crimes when discharging their contracts. It is more generally a port of call for those seeking vice with gambling, drugs, and other legal but highly frowned upon activities. Halion is governed loosely, with a Principate Exarchy and an influential and powerful senate, that while nominally open to anyone, has historically been dominated by the mercantile class and the nobility who are generally content to keep the current state of affairs running, and indeed are eager to line their pockets with the proceeds of Halish activities. The position of Exarch itself is an elected position with members of the Senate choosing from among themselves, who will be the next Exarch. Traditionally the position of Exarch has gone to one of the two consuls serving in the senate, though lower ranked senators have sometimes achieved the position as well. Halion's political situation could be described as stably unstable, with the high criminality and banditry making areas outside of the major cities outright dangerous to foreigners. However, the financial interests of the ruling elite mean that criminal activity is kept in check in the interests of maintaining a steady stream of adventure seeking foreigners with which to exploit for their coin, and in exchange to provide an outlet that can't be let out elsewhere.
Demography and Population
Halion is a middling state in terms of population, despite its comparatively small land area. According to the best available records, the Exarchate of Halion has a population of roughly 1,642,000 residents. The population is fairly heavily urbanized, particularly in recent years, as the cities have become major commercial hubs and the rural hinterlands have become relatively unsafe. As a result agricultural settlements are much smaller, meaning the population is much more dependent on the sea, and on imports to feed themselves. The largest city of the Exarchate of Halion is its capital, Halion, with the best records available indicating that the city is home to roughly 82,100 residents. Other major settlements include Farsis with 32,800 residents, Kolkestros with 19,700 residents, and Stefesos with 11,800. The population of Halion is heavily coastal with most of the population either living in the large cities, or the coastal fishing villages clustered around the major cities and providing their food. A smaller riverine population base also exists, and the interiors are fairly sparse, especially closer to the Odric Mountains. The bulk of the population consists of Aeillan humans with the Spartharoi ethnicity being the most common. Ilosi Aeillans are a distant second, Gallacans third, and lastly, Tyroi Aeillans are the smallest major ethnic group in Halion. Nonhuman populations are small though minor populations of Cyrenic, Elleryc, and Grecci peoples, as well as imported half-elves also exist. Much of the non-Aeillan population is enslaved, however. The only note exception are the Gitoxoi, half-Aeillan, half-elves who are often the children of Feloran, and especially Dotharan merchants who often become merchants themselves.
The Exarchate of Halion, though it was formerly quite large has lost almost two-thirds of its land to foreign invaders is a fairly small successor state. The Exarchate of Halion possesses a territory of roughly 73,000 square kilometers. It also has an l-shaped territory possessing a north-south axis, and then an east-west axis. Therefore walking the greatest extent of the frontiers of Halion takes approximately 4 days to walk from its north to its south, and roughly the same from east to west if walking along its axes. Its southern boundary is on the coast of the Yulan Ocean, and it's east on the Spatharii River. It does have some borders in the mountains with Gallaca, but its western and northern frontiers are for the most part open to foreign incursions, and as a result, are comparatively unstable. Halion has a humid climate, with regular rains from the Yulan Ocean, in addition to being part of the Spartharii River watershed. It is as a result one of the lusher territories of the Aeillan region and aside from the more organized agricultural provinces, it does produce a large amount of food with a comparatively small amount of labor. Most of the uncultivated land comes in the form of humid grassland. Historically the area of Halion was heavily forested, however, the region has been thoroughly deforested and proper woodland is almost extinct in the Exarchate.
The Exarchate of Halion maintains a small group of Penandroi roughly 600 individuals. This group is generally decently equipped with most having Thórakas, and most often being trained as Skutatoi. It is, however, hardly well known for its efficacy on the field of battle due in large part to comparatively limited training. Primarily the Halish Penandroi serve as a dependable unit of soldiers who can be expected to serve the Exarch loyally. Another group of about 700 Senatorial Guard serves as an equivalent unit, as they are equipped and trained similarly to the Exarch's Penandroi. Both units are generally selected for loyalty rather than training and are rather poorly equipped compared to other Penandroi, though significantly better than most other states. Conversely, there are about 1,200 Akriate who are responsible for guarding the frontiers of the Halish state, including the Pýli tou Tros, and to a very limited extent preventing the worst of crimes. They generally can be expected to have access to padded Kavadion armor, and simple Akritae weaponry. They are poorly motivated, however, and as a result, incursions are frequent, even fairly deep into Halish territory. Similarly, the poor morale and readiness of the Akritae have done almost nothing to slow the tide of banditry in the countryside. The Halish Navy is small, roughly 35 ships, and mostly composed of war galleys that have been modified to carry bombards on their decks. These vessels are capable enough against pirates, and primitive Gallacan warships, but are fairly weak against the more modern carracks of the other coastal states. Attached is a disproportionately large portion of marines, who are perhaps the most effective fighting force in the Halish Exarchate bar the more elite mercenary companies operating within Halish borders. Most internal conflict and the more routine forms of raiding are conducted by mercenaries paid for by individuals within Halion. Mercenaries from Halion are well known for a certain, particularly ruthless attitude, as many are former, or indeed still active pirates looking to go "legitimate" by doing work for sanctioned employers. The activities of these mercenaries are, however, closely monitored by the ruling elites of Halion, and egregious breaches of the law are punished swiftly in order to keep illicit activity "safe" enough to attract customers.
Halish society is at a lower level of technological development than the rest of the Aeilla. Aside from gunpowder weaponry, Halish technology is limited to the technical base of many of its outsider neighbors with metallurgical, engineering, and magitek resembling Gallacan standards than they are Aeillan. This has resulted in the outmigration of people towards other Aeillan successor states.
The official state religion of the Exarchate if Halion is Pandroi, the traditional religion of the Aeillan peoples dating back to the fall of the Yulan-Tai. More specifically, Halion has adopted Poleo, the Lady of the Sun as its patron deity with her sister serving as the second most important deity in the Halish Pandroi faith. Most of the population, practices the Pandroi faith, though some populations, particularly those of nonhumans practice other faiths, and enforcement of the Pandroi state religion is relatively lax with those responsible for enforcing religious conversions being otherwise occupied and even more poorly motivated.
Halion is generally concerned primarily with maintaining an influx of merchants into its territory. It as a result is not interested in pursuing grievances with other successor states. Historically it maintain a rivalry with Spathos as a result of the latter having seized the northern half of its territory, and with Salmis which declared independence from Halion, leaving its western frontier unguarded. In the modern-day, however, this rivalry is mostly forgotten. Outside of the Aeillan successor states, Halish piracy has put it add odds with Gallaca, and Qua'adar, though aside from a handful of punitive expeditions at the hands of the Hadar, there have been few meaningful consequences for this activity.
Agriculture & Industry
In spite of its high rate of urbanization, the bulk of the population works in agriculture. Most land is managed by local communities, with individual tracts of land managed by small families semi-privately. There is a culture of collective management with people helping each other grow and harvest crops, driving up yields. Despite this, agriculture in the interior is hampered by regular Spathoi raids. Most people, therefore, decide to take to the seas as fishers, crabbers, other maritime professions to feed themselves. Aside from farm work, skilled trades make up the bulk of the workforce, with those making agricultural tools being by far the most heavily represented. Aside from these skilled workers, there is a small number of people working in manufactories, largely in Halion proper, educated scribes, and merchants, and a small number of idle elites, and soldiers. Lastly, there is an extensive population of mercenaries and pirates who contribute to the economy through the acquisition of foreign wealth by force, as well as smugglers who are often relied upon to run blockades, and bypass Artensian anti-slavery patrols.
Trade & Transport
Commerce in Halion is primarily coastal, though the Spartharii river also serves as an artery of commerce. Most of the Halish commerce is serviced by the coastal Guangdao to Erigan maritime route, and the Spartharii trade route, with the coastal trade route along the southern coast serving in a secondary capacity to the larger two. A lot of commerce comes through Halion itself which serves essentially as the hub of both trade, and criminal activity in the region, with other cities being more limited. Other coastal cities serve as secondary hubs, and Farsis has rapidly moved to become an even larger hub for piracy than Halion itself. A lot of legitimate commerce takes the form of trade for conventional tools, food, wine, and spices. More rare are fine textiles, and common magic items. Rare magic items, generally speaking, are only made on commission. Most of the commerce comes in a seedier form, however, with trade in stolen goods obtained by pirates, adventurer turn around, and mercenary services forming the bulk of the cash economy of Halion. Slaves are another major selling point of the Halish state, with the slave markets of Halion being second only to the Iskandrian Megalagora Sklavonica.
A later conquest of the Aeillan Empire, and part provincial reaches, the Halish state lacks a lot of the development that its coreward, and eastward territories. The Imperial Road network mostly can only be found on the coast, connecting the largest population centers, and only a couple of bridges and ferries can be found to cross the Spartharii into Spathos. There are no aqueducts and no streetlights in Halion's streets, and as a result, Halion comes off as a more rough frontier territory than the highly civilized states of central Aeilla.
EA 371, Independent ER 1
Head of State
Head of Government
Imperial Denarios, Imperial Oros
The Halish Senate
Official State Religion