Rektouzk

I was nervous about leaving home— but as I climbed to the outskirts, and looked back on the capital? I realized something. I used to think everything pointed towards the center, the castle. In reality, they pointed outwards— urging me to go on my way.
— A Rektouzk Trader
  Rektouzk is one of Qet's largest nations, and with trade routes throughout, their influence has spread well into the known world. The Coulqepluex— an often cold, shrewd people— make up the majority of the population. Trade is the driving force of the nation, if one needs to find something— they likely can within Rektouzk's markets.  

Uncanny Luck

Three lakeside tribes were in perpetual war— a stalemate that hadn't been broken for decades. The fighting had gone on so long that they had lost track of why they were fighting to begin with. Until the Coulqepluex tribe changed the tides with the unthinkable— diplomacy. Bribing them with strange globular gold and captivating purple gems which seemed to have come from another world, they banded together with one of two remaining tribes as allies.   Together, they beat the remaining adversary into submission— largely by luck. After a number of successful battles, they set their sights on the enemy's capital, where the city of Huatlio now stands. As their forces arrived, the skies darkened, and a terrible storm came upon the enemy's army. As the torrent came upon the area like an assault of liquid javelins, the shores of lake Chluetichlon swelled— taking many of the forces into its chilled embrace. Those who remained were either slain, or surrendered. On that day, the Coulqepluex leader declared that the tribes now all shared a name given from on high— Rektouzk.  
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Amassing wealth

Over the centuries, Rektouzk grew to become what is arguably the world's wealthiest nation. With trade routes creeping like vines through the world, and their ships snaking along the seas to touch almost every known shore, there is almost nothing Rektouzk cannot procure. Several have tried, and failed, to take this astounding wealth for themselves.   The now conquered nation of Ytoxi launched a series of battles against the fledgling Rektouzk a hundred years or so past its foundation. After a number of assaults on Rektouzk settlements— largely failures, save for a few razed villages— the Ytoxi made one final, desperate, attack. While successful in destroying a Rektouzk city along their border, they returned home to find their palace— and capital alongside it— burning. Some freak accident must have occurred, as none of the few survivors could recall what started it. Rektouzk sent an army to conquer the now weakened and leaderless nation as vengeance soon after the failed attack.  
My eyes beheld terrible flames which licked the sky as the city crumbled in their lurid glow. The thrill and pride of our success was burned away with my home, and replaced with a terror deep in my gut— were we being punished from on high?
— A Ytoxi general
   

Governing Structure

Rektouzk is ruled by the Tichcoul, elected by the head council of the Coulchlek Merchant's Guild based on the individual's success. What constitutes success is ultimately decided by the head council, which is notoriously corrupt, susceptible to bribery, nepotism, and simple favoritism. Outwardly, it is defined as those with the most wealth gained. Laws, too, are penned by the guild— though different cities and even the districts within will often create and enforce their own laws.  
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  Towns and cities are split into districts, which the most successful resident of each will preside over. The guild hires coulyon— "goldwatchers," which monitor income through the nation's banks, and determine who is earning the most and where. These are kept in check by being paired with senior, trusted coulyon. Coulyon, themselves, are prohibited from running businesses— as otherwise, they'd be liable to claim themselves leaders. Nouex are commonly seen as coulyon, as many wish to avoid monetary power, seeing how the Coulqepluex have ruined the lives of many with coin.   Judges are hired by district leaders from among their friends, business partners, and family. Guards however, are trained as such from adulthood— and bought by whoever needs them most urgently. The average, cheap guards will be those who discover themselves to be less suited for trade, or who find themselves indebted to the guild. Other groups have varied levels of training and funding, much like the Rektouzk military. There are even proud, long standing family-run guard companies. If a district cannot afford to hire any guards— they simply will go without. While often being those unable to afford this protection, Nouex often guard their neighborhoods themselves, out of duty and empathy rather than for pay.    

Architecture

Rektouzk construction is unique in the fact that cities are built downwards rather than upwards. Streets are excavated in rings, twisting and turning, wider and deeper as time goes on— accommodating the growth of settlements. Buildings are constructed from stone excavated in the process of making room for them. Often, buildings are simply dug out of the ground rather than built— though facades are commonly built into their walls.   For settlements next to bodies of water, this height is used to their advantage, aqueducts dominate their skylines— lowering towards the center and typically converging around a public center or the central capitol. The unique shape of Rektouzk settlements leaves the houses of power at the lowest points in a settlement.   In settlements where the bedrock is simply too deep, stone is imported. Columns are typical for doorways, and are seen in greater number within grander structures such as banks, governing buildings, or wealthy businesses. Buildings are typically square in shape, with stone roofs slanted forward out over the roads which, themselves, are slightly angled back towards the excavated walls— where drainage ditches collect and carry rainwater away with the aid of qetleux. Walls are painted a number of colors— green being the most common, as it's predominant on the nation's banner— and roofs will often see reds, yellows, or even blacks.    

Assets, Industry, and Trade

Rektouzk's borders expand out from Chluetichlon— up against the Tchlnox mountains in the west, to the sea in the east, bordering the nations of Romtol to the north, and Chlotoun to the south. Roads— paved, or simply well-trodden dirt— connect the settlements of Rektouzk. From Chluetichlon and down the river to the south, or through various ports such as Tochkli, ships pass out into the greater waters from which they can navigate trade routes to the rest of Qet.
 

Gold from stone

Rektouzk, luckily, seems to sit upon a massive deposit of gold and a gleaming, purple gem unique to this area called couleuz. A uniquely large mining operation is carried out underneath the capital itself; within Tchaoxlik there lies a large sub-cavern known as Chluetichlon Polt, with what seems to be a natural spring, and lakes, within. Entire settlements have been constructed within the depths to house miners— so that they may never have the need to leave.  

Profitable agriculture

Fields of maize provide the core of the Rektouzk diet, other grains, fruits, and vegetables are grown in their vast farmlands, and imported from elsewhere. Specialties, such as the yoult tree— a drug of choice throughout the known world— are grown in large areas to be collected and sold, as well.
 
GenericTall3-2
   

Mercenary armies

An impressively large army— perhaps the largest on the continent— has enabled Rektouzk borders to spread throughout much of Rqet. They maintain two military fortresses in both the north and south, and command a large navy. Rektouzk forces can differ— as with their wealth they hire various for-profit mercenaries. Typically, the more wealthy the group— or the better paid— the better their equipment.   The best of the best don well-polished, embellished, bronze cuirasses. These go over the head and fasten at the shoulder with thinner metal sheets fastened over buttons on the front with their symbol— typically an animal or monster of sorts— prominently and proudly sitting high off the center. Bronze helmets are fashioned in a number of different styles; some cover the face with small holes for the eyes and a small knob on the top, others only go halfway down the face with a middle piece extending to protect the nose— this style typically has two extended ridges on top in an angled cross shape, were you to look at it from above.   Some simply cover the very top of the head, often with leather pteruges studded with smaller bronze plates extending from the bottom. Many of the more accomplished crews like to add flavor to their armor to flaunt their status. These are completed with bronze greaves which cover the lower legs.  
Smaller, inexpensive groups don leather armor fashioned similarly, but much more simply. Many won't have the money to dye on their symbols, but some do. Their greaves typically only cover their shins.   Mid-range mercenaries use iron gear, well-enough fitted, and strengthened. Some may emboss their symbols into their gear, many are content with paints— despite it being liable to wear.
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  Weapons are similarly tiered, though both low and mid-tier mercenary bands use iron forged weapons— with the some of the mid, and all of the top crews wielding bronze. Typically, spears are the most effective, alongside small blades for close-ranged combat. Smaller, inexperienced bands may try and use more unique weapons to try and stand out— things like maces, glaives, whips, flails— and whatever else they can convince the local blacksmith to forge for them with enough coin. Some of the expensive bands use entirely unique weaponry— though in these cases, they have trained extensively with them.    

Religon

There is, in effect, an official state religion— however, it is unnamed, and without leadership. Despite this— the majority of the Coulqepluex living within Rektouzk borders practice it, heading into underground shrines every weekend to perform their rituals— almost all at the same time. When asked, they refuse to speak of these practices beyond deeming them "necessary." Outsiders are rarely allowed to witness their rites, as well— and those who have never speak again.    

Education

Education varies on the wealth of citizens— as schools do exist, but none are free. Lower-class labor workers generally will go without education. With more money, citizens are able to attend better and better schools— though these are competitive, any many boast at having the best courses to lead one to a wealthy life. In truth these tend to exist purely to profit off the uneducated.

Polt ic Ztyec

Rehk-too-zihk
Founding Date
20/6/2793
Type
Geopolitical, Country
Capital
Alternative Names
Trademasters
Demonym
Rektouzkeu
Head of State
Government System
Meritocracy
Power Structure
Unitary state
Economic System
Market economy
Currency
Coulhuel are 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch gold coins, oddly punched into the form of a single, large circle, with two smaller circles on the left and top. Within these small circles are engraved strange, unrecognizable, symbols which— by some, strange accounts— have been said to sing softly in the dark. On the front, center, is the crest of the nation, and on the back, a depiction of water.
Major Exports
Tin, gold, gems, pottery, weapons, furniture.
Major Imports
Copper, silver, salt, grapes, and the ever-popular Yntxol fruit— and anything else that may be profitable.
Official Languages
Controlled Territories
Neighboring Nations
Related Ethnicities

An unprepared leader

The seat of power has shifted after the up-and-coming Tichcoul Atozolklio died suddenly— leaving his wealth to his son, Lohtzin Atozolklio.   Technically, having amassed the most wealth and therefore being the most successful— Lohtzin became the next Tichoul, instead. The young man, it is believed by a growing camp of citizens, is greatly unqualified for the position.   Almost immediately the man sought to go to war with Romtol in the north— which would not only disrupt trade with the nation itself, but the Gokh, and Louh as well.   He was a disgrace to his father before his death— having sunk numerous trade ventures and deals entrusted to him by his father. It had been years since the pair were last seen together.   Rumors had spread about him being disowned, even. How was it that Lohtzin still received the man's inheritance?  
My father was a trustworthy trader— many of you knew this well. How could I not be the same if his blood flows through my veins?
— Lohtzin Atozolklio
  Despite the strange circumstances surrounding his father's death, and his potential endangerment of their safety— a surprising number of Rektouzkeu support him. Outwardly he has spun his actions as attempts to remove "unsavories" from the nation— namely the Tollouchi who live among them.   Tensions between the various ethnic groups living within Rektouzk are only getting worse, as rights are removed and race-related violence continues to increase.   Many fear for their futures.

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Comments

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25 Jun, 2019 16:38

First of all, I am really interested in the world you are building. The themes and sources your draw on are wonderfully different from the typical medieval-fantasy stuff. The CSS, background and images really help spark the imagination - ziggurats in the sun, fields of maize and Chinampas. I'm not at all an expert on those cultures, though! So if I make some generalization or mistake which cultures you are drawing from, I apologize in advance. Something to add to the Inspiration article, maybe? :D   The article itself is pretty good, but it leaves me with a few questions and some notes. I'll be doing the main panel first and the side panel after that. :)   First, some general notes: I would suggest you begin the article with a sort of overview of what the article is about, after the quote but before "Purple Capital". Because that's the first header, I initially thought that the article was about the settlement and the fact didn't become clear until the second paragraph of governance.   Secondly, I did a search for — and counted 60. That feels like a lot and reading the article, they become sort of problematic. The quote alone has 4.  

I didn't want to leave home— but as I climbed to the outskirts, and looked back on the city? I used to think everything pointed towards the center— the castle— but in reality, they pointed outwards— urging me to go on my way.
  I'm not quite sure what this quote is trying to tell me or what it is trying to impart. Or why a trader would be reluctant to leave home - it's sort of the source of this place's power, isn't it?  
Three lakeside tribes were in perpetual war— until the Coulqepluex changed the tides with the unthinkable— diplomacy.
  This start could work, but the way the rest of it is written makes things a little unclear. Who are the Coulqepluex? Are they one of the three? Why is diplomacy unthinkable? What *made* it unthinkable? "Changing the tides" suggest things were going one way, rather than perpetual. I would have expected something like broke the stalemate or something.   You also have two em-dashes in there, which makes it kind of weird to read. Maybe I'm not used to seeing them used this much, but it feels like a lot.   This feels like a bit of an origin story, but I can't comment too much on its placement right now. It could work with an overview paragraph or two above it. Without it, I'd place it much further down.  
Bribing them with strangely shaped gold and captivating purple gems which seemed to have come from another world, they banded together with one of two remaining tribes.
  "Bribing them" - bribing who? This is when it becomes unclear who the Coulqepleux are or who they are interacting with. Also, how is the gold strangely shaped?  
Together, they beat the remaining adversary into submission— largely by luck.
  This place seem to have a theme of random disasters befalling their enemies: I'm surprised it isn't more integrated into their society or religion.  
As their forces began to charge, a terrible storm came upon the enemy's forces, and the shores of lake Chluetichlon swelled— taking many of the forces into its chilled embrace.
  At 30 words, this sentence might be a little long. It also feels a little sudden to jump from bribery and diplomacy to what sounds like the final charge of a climactic battle. It makes it a little difficult to follow the timeline of events: what happened after the alliance? Did they immediately gather up and charge?   I'd split it up and maybe expand on some individual bits. Give a bit dramatic flair to the storm, to people's reactions to it, and the build up to the end of the war.  
Those who remained were either slain, or surrendered. On that day, their leader declared that the tribes now all shared a name— Rektouzk.
  Who is "their leader"? It's also unclear who "those who remained" are - is it everyone in the tribe or the army they fought? In fact, where did the last battle and disaster take place?   Also... Where did they pick the name from? :)  
With trade routes creeping like vines through the world, and their ships snaking along the seas to touch almost every shore in the known world, there is almost nothing Rektouzk couldn't get.
  I like the evocative description here, but the sentence is 30 words long so it might be worth shortening it a little. "Their trade routes creep and ships snake along..." and let the "there is almost nothing" as its own sentence.   Also, I noticed you're writing it all as a kind of past tense. Are they no longer in the setting?  
The now assimilated nation of Ytoxi launched a series of battles against the fledgling Rektouzk a hundred years or so past its foundation.
  "The now assimilated" threw me off occasionally. I assumed it means, they were once their own thing and was conquered by the Rekt, which was correct.  
After a number of failures, a final all-out attack was launched.
  Another sudden jump into the last of the action: why were these actors at war? Why were they failing? What narrative purpose does it serve, because it doesn't seem like the Rekt were in any real danger or anything... But the ending also is a little unsatisfying without some more details or foreshadowing. More on that in a bit.  
While successful in destroying a Rektouzk city along their border, they returned home to find their palace —and capital alongside it— burning to ash from some freak accident. Rektouzk soon sent an army to conquer the now weakened and leaderless nation as vengeance.
  The first sentence is a bit long at 28 words. You could easily cut the "- and capital alongside it -" and change "palace" for "capital". Other than that, this is the second time they're essentially served up victory by freak circumstance. I assume this is a decision, but it may be good to expand upon it in some manner. Also, "some freak accident" is kind of vague.. Was there no survivors that could tell what happened? You mentioned burning to ash, so fire was involved.. But it's a bit vague on details. With this kind of luck, I'd assume the Rekt would have worked it into their storytelling more. Kinda like the Japanese with Banzai wrecking the mongol invasion fleets.  
Rektouzk is ruled by the Tichcoul— a president, of sorts— elected by the head council of the Coulchlek Merchant's Guild based on the individual's success.
  President feels like a very modern world, so it feels a bit out of place while also not adding much detail. Most will probably think of a president as in of the united states, which carries a lot of baggage with it.  
Success is determined, ultimately, by the head council— which is susceptible to bribery, nepotism, and simple favoritism.
  The "ultimately" adds a bit of a stumble with the double commas. I'd either rewriting it ("What constitutes success is ultimately decided by the head council. It is notoriously corrupt, susceptible to...") or cutting it.  
Outwardly, it is defined simply as those with the most wealth gained.
  Maybe consider cutting "simply", to continue the war on -ly's. :)  
Laws, too, are penned by the guild— though different cities and even the districts within will often create and enforce their own laws.
  I'd cut the ", too," to make it read a little more smooth.  
Towns and cities are split into districts, which the most successful resident of each will preside over.
  Who makes that call? Who counts wealth and assigns stewardship? Is it the council, or agents appointed by them? Is there an incredibly powerful IRS in this nation?  
Guards however, are trained as such from adulthood— and bought by whoever needs them most urgently.
  Another - that doesn't really need to be there. The however could also be cut.   Aside from that, the concept could do with some fleshing out. The idea of guards being like a centrally trained force that's then mercenaried out is intriguing and I would love to know more. Are guards different from the military? What hoops does one hop through to start their kid/adult son as a guard? Is it prestigious, or seen as a "couldn't make it as a merchant" second-tier profession?  
If a district cannot afford to hire any guards— they simply will go without.
  Another em-dash that doesn't really need to be there.  
Rektouzk construction is unique in the fact that, typically, cities are built downwards rather than upwards.
  You could nuke the ", typically," without losing anything.  
This leaves the houses of power at the lowest points in a settlement. For settlements next to bodies of water, this height is used to their advantage, aqueducts dominate their skylines— lowering towards the center and typically converging around a public center or the central castles. Buildings are constructed from stone excavated in the process of making room for them. Often, buildings are simply dug out of the ground rather than built— though facades are often built into the walls.
  I would consider restructuring this part a bit. So they build down - tell us more about that in broad strokes before digging into details. :)   Does it mean they physically dig down and excavate large parts of soil to build houses downwards? Do they dig tunnels and expand those into rooms and passages? What does that kind of city smell like, or feel like? Is it claustrophobic? :D  
Often, buildings are simply dug out of the ground rather than built— though facades are often built into the walls.
  You repeat "often" in this sentence, it would probably read nicer if you changed one of them to something else. :)  
For settlements where the bedrock is simply too deep— stone is imported.
  Another em-dash.. I will stop pointing them out now, unless you want me not to. :D But it's something to keep an eye out   But, I've run out of time and need to go! I hope you find that useful. If so, I can continue later!   And again, you have an awesome setting here. I think you have a wonderful core to build on and I look forward to reading (and commenting!) on more of it. :)

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
25 Jun, 2019 21:32

Thanks! Lots of good criticism I can act on here!

I thought of writing an overview but I don't remember *why* I chose not to— but yeah I definitely need to make it clear early on that what, exactly, Rektouzk is.
I've got a few things to clear up, glad you've pointed those out.
I will say that there is a fair bit of subjectivity for writing style. Sentence length (to an extent) and dash usage are split cases without clear rules.

I do agree that I should cut down a bit on em-dash usage, but for example;

If a district cannot afford to hire any guards— they simply will go without.
Here, it is used purposefully to create a pause— suspense— despite it being a somewhat low-stakes subject. It gives a short moment for the reader to consider the question of what happens to an area that cannot afford guards for a brief moment— which can lend some more weight to it.
Guards however, are trained as such from adulthood— and bought by whoever needs them most urgently.
Here, however— you are absolutely right. While the em-dash *can* replace a comma, it creates a longer pause which I agree does not belong there.

I'll definitely need to be more mindful of how I use it, thanks for getting me thinking about that!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
25 Jun, 2019 21:44

Forgot to mention— I will write about how their luck affects their culture and beliefs in their ethnicity page— I'm keeping Country articles focused on how the nations operate at a wider level— ethnicities and religions will go into those more.

25 Jun, 2019 23:01

Ultimately, you are the master of your writing style. I can certainly stop pointing out the em-dashes places, if you feel that style of writing is your voice. 60 just seemed like a *lot*. :D   I agree that it's perfectly serviceable in places, for what it's worth! There were places where I did not point it out. :)   I'm looking forward to seeing more!

27 May, 2020 23:19

Their religion is so ominous. I already super don't trust that lake. Now they have a religious ceremony all at the same time and any visitors who see it never speak ever again?   I don't want to visit. Not even a little.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
27 May, 2020 23:33

Hey their capital has a giant park/zoo, also cults, cursed cockroaches, and class disparity. Why not visit?

28 May, 2020 19:28

I value my life.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
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