The smallest of all of the Provinces of the Empire of Turelion, Quess is renowned for being a seat of learning, and the Province is home to over 100 Houses of Learning along with the renowned Imperial College of Arcanists.
Like all provinces with the Empire of Turelion, the administration of the Province is overseen by a Satrap, who is theoretically responsible for management of all areas of Quess. To aid them in this, the Satrap of Quess Province has a staff of provincial officials and administrators who oversee the bureaucracy of all things, from the state of the road network to the taxes levied on fish imported to the province.
The main language spoken in the Province is Quessite, which is notable not only for being one of the most complex and detailed languages spoken in Kelbonnar, but also because the language’s alphabet has become the main script used for the writing of almost all languages spoken on the surface of Kelbonnar. As with all of the other Provinces of the Empire of Turelion, Turelite is also widely spoken as the Imperial lingua franca.
Demography and Population
As it has one of the most educated populations in the whole Empire of Turelion, Quess Province also has one of the largest middle classes, many of whom work in the machineries of the myriad Houses of Learning that have been set up in the Province. The preponderance of farming land in the interior of Quess means that there is also a larger than average upper class, who are the landowners of these concerns and style themselves as ‘gentleman or gentlewomen farmers’ Of course the majority of the work is carried out by others, predominantly the large lower class population who find employment in the farms and orchards of the interior.
The entirety of Quess Province’s territory is encapsulated in the area of the northern of the two islands that make up the continent of Carboni.
Like all Imperial Provinces, Quess has access to its own standing army of Provincial troops, who are dispersed across the province in garrisons, ready to be called upon as needs be. For the most part, these troops act as town and city guards and police forces for the areas they are stationed to. In times of crisis, the Satrap can mobilise units in the Provincial Army from their garrisoned stations to become mobile units that can be deployed were necessary. The Provincial Army has units of infantry, cavalry, artillery and Firewings at its disposal, as well as a dedicated naval force to protect its coasts. The Command Headquarters for Quess’ Provincial army is in the Provincial Capital Quessama. Of all of the Provinces, Quess has the smallest military force at its disposal. This is primarily a historical hangover from the formation of the Empire of Turelion, as Quess surrendered without bloodshed to the forces of Machestaro I through the signing of the Quessite Treaty of Assimilation. This has meant that the province has enjoyed a level of political stability amongst the populace not seen outside Turelion Province, which consequently means that far fewer troops are needed to police the province.
Of all of the Provinces, Quess Province is regarded as being one of the least religious, with a large percentage of the population, primarily concentrated amongst those that work in the Houses of Learning stating that they have little or no faith. Having said that, there is a deity that is widely worshipped across the Province, Ozoth, whose cult is focused on the acquisition of knowledge and through that, power and freedom. Though there is a strong worshipping community dedicated to Ozoth, for many in Quess, the deity is more of an allegorical figure, intended to help teach basic truths rather than a god as such, whilst in self-styled ‘intellectual’ circles, Ozoth is treated as a caricature representing the failures of religion compared to scholarship. Like all Provinces in the Empire of Turelion, those who wish to climb the greasy pole of the Provincial and Imperial systems as quickly as possible adhere, or at least claim to adhere to the Imperial Church of Canthartism.
Agriculture & Industry
Whilst there is little industry that takes place in Quess beyond the limit manufacturing to meet local demand, bar the production and assimilation of knowledge in the many Houses of Learning, there is a thriving agricultural scene across the island. The relatively large population compared to the size of the landmass the Province occupies quickly led to the deforestation of the wooded landscape that once dominated the land and these forests have been replaced by an endless landscape of farms. Wheat is produced in large amounts across the province, which is also a key producer and exporter of olives, artichokes, figs, dates, apricots, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables that grow well in the Province’s warm and sheltered climate. There is some, more limited pastural farming that takes place in Quess, which is predominantly focused around the shores of the Qapwebud, the salt water inland sea that stretches across the middle of the Province. The salt water of the Qapwebud makes the farming of crops very difficult for many miles surrounding its waters, so instead huge flocks of sheep are pastured in that land, feeding off the hardy grasses that grow there. Quessite mutton is particularly prized for its unique, rich, salty taste. These flocks of sheep also produce wool that is exported to other Provinces as a raw material. The Qapwebud itself has had species of fish normally only found in the surrounding seas and oceans introduced to it, where they thrive far better in the sheltered salt water compared to open water. This means that there is a thriving fishing scene, with fish farms producing meat for countless tables in the Province and beyond.
Trade & Transport
The small size of the Province, combined with the lack of wilderness areas means that it has one of the best road networks in the Empire, to the point that Quess can boast that every settlement, event the smallest is connected to a road that will lead its inhabitants directly to Quessama. These roads are likewise well maintained and managed, allowing people to travel along them with far more ease than they would encounter in the other Provinces. As an island, Quess province also has strong navel links to the rest of the Empire and most of its major cities and towns are port settlements based on the coasts. Quessites that live along the southern shore of the Province often make good sailors and are in high demand to act as pilots for ships that wish to navigate the Strait of Carboni that lies between Quess and its southern neighbour Oam Province. The Provincial Capital Quessama has a Firewing port, but other than that the smaller size of Quess means that there is only one other ‘commercial’ Firewing port, in the Province’s second city of Telarm on the eastern coast.
Quess has not been given the nickname the ‘Scholars’ Province’ for nothing. The Province has the highest number of educational institutions per person of any province in the Empire of Turelion and it has a proud tradition, stretching back well before the dominance of Turelion for being a hothouse of research and knowledge. To begin with, Quess is the only province that provides free schooling for all children aged 4-10, giving all those who are brought up in the Province a solid grounding in mathematics and writing from the off. All towns and cities in the Province have their own dedicated Provincial School, whilst villages are grouped into geographically logical groups with a Provincial School for the area being set up in the most convenient place. There is also a thriving private school network in the Province, fuelled by the snobbery of the middle and upper classes who do not wish for their children to be educated with all and sundry. Beyond the age of 10 most children leave the education system and like most youngsters tend to follow the trades that their parents ply. If one wants to send their children to school beyond the age of 10 then they must pay the exorbitant fees to send them to a private school, or even more exorbitant fees to have a Master/Mistress of Education tutor them. The Province also has the largest concentration of Houses of Learning in the whole of the Empire, and whole districts of Quessama the Provincial Capital are taken up with these higher education institutions, with many more dotted in the other settlements, or within their own estates across the Province. Quess also has the highest concentration of arcane adepts living with in it of any other Province, principally because the only recognised and licensed arcane educational establishment, the Imperial College of Arcanists was established in Quessama by the first Emperor, Machestaro I to bring order, consistency, safety and control to the education of wizards and mages.
The Scholars’ Province/ The Mages’ Garden/ The Ivory Tower (derogatory)
Related Ranks & Titles