When travelling through Iskaldhal, it is worth stopping in the masked nation of Naarim. Its port city of Savkali sells the most varied assortment of magical goods, some of which are extremely illegal or blasphemous throughout the rest of the continent. And the slaves - their training is impeccable, far superior to that of the archetypal drow who prefer nervous wrecks to functioning servants.
Hidden by the shadows of Iskaldhal's mountains is the small nation of Naarim, stretching from Savkali
by the sea to the smaller towns of Mierkka
within Suoivva Forest
. It is a young nation for Iskaldhal, having only formed in the past thousand years after the great wyrm Jiekkaisa
laid waste to the castles and villages of once-powerful Álttainen
. The first Kuiskaan, a former adventurer once known as Juvvá, claimed the smouldering land with a small force of trusted allies and hired swords, and soon after, instituted the first policy of secrecy the nation would know. No man was to remove their mask to prevent hired blades from realising who their contractor was. Assassins could not succeed without a target. This policy was successful and evolved into Naarim's current laws as the settlement grew past the borders of Cihket
Policies of Identity
Naarim's policy on masks is simple enough to learn even from visiting the nation's outskirts. All citizens of Naarim are encouraged to wear masks, veils, gloves and other items of identity concealment at all times, magical or mundane. When asked for their name, they are encouraged to give codenames or titles that they will recognise but that do not give the other entity any power over them. The former policy carries into their personal lives; the latter does not - family and friends will use a nickname or derivative of a citizen's chosen name when in private.
Outsiders are also expected to adhere to these policies despite not being from the region. Whilst this is not codified in law, it's highly recommended, particularly if the visiting outsider in question is not particularly skilled with magic or blade - for the only ones without the right to hide themselves are slaves. The nation relies heavily on the slave trade to facilitate communication between groups and for mundane work, and visitors that ignore Naarim's customs will often find themselves subjugated and enslaved if they flaunt their lack of secrecy in public for too long.
Some consider Naarim's lack of identities to be concerning, especially in matters of law. It is for this reason that the nation's military and ruling classes often have items that compel their targets to speak the truth, and why the prison of Raigiska
forbids the use of magic and concealment for its inhabitants. However, Naarim's laws are far less strict than those of nearby Gildómar
and acts that are usually considered illegal in nearby nations are not always so. In addition, the populace tends to self-regulate - after all, they don't know who's behind the mask of the one they intend on dealing with. Is it a simple merchant, as they suspect, or does the guise of a witch lurk there? Or - as is suspected - do devils and daemons truly stalk the slavemarkets for sacrifices and meals?
Demography and Population
The population of Naarim is mostly unknown, as only slaves show their faces. It is estimated to be at minimum in the tens of thousands across the entire country.
The Vashai(rank) function as Naarim's military. Wearing metal masks and heavy armour bearing colourful inscriptions that declare their rank and branch, these are some of the few identifiable figures walking the roads of Naarim. They enforce the country's laws with a cool detachment and rarely show sympathy for outsiders.
Naarim holds no official religion, but outsiders regularly assume (with some accuracy) that the Naara regard gods that respect secrecy with high esteem. In particular, the ascended god Norgorber
seems to represent their love of secrets and masks most obviously, while the goddesses Calistria
represent the nation's facets of deceit and illusion respectively. In general, Naarim prefers gods that lean towards neutrality and obscurity rather than those championing Good or Evil.
The Dwarven Pantheon
is seen with disdain in Naarim, for dwarves are usually seen as blunt and obvious individuals.