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.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.
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.
Amassing wealthOver 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?
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. 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.
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.
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.
Assets, Industry, and Trade
Gold from stoneRektouzk, 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 agricultureFields 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.
Mercenary armiesAn 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.
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.
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.
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 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
Head of State
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.
Tin, gold, gems, pottery, weapons, furniture.
Copper, silver, salt, grapes, and the ever-popular Yntxol fruit— and anything else that may be profitable.
An unprepared leaderThe 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?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.
Geographic Location | Nov 7, 2019
A seemingly bottomless, eerily cold lake— worshiped by the Coulqepluex people of the nation Rektouzk.
Ethnicity | May 7, 2020
A people possessing uncanny luck and shrewd business sense, transformed by the lake Chluetichlon.