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The Kingdom of Chal

A Kingdom of Water

Above all else, Chal's culture is tied to the water. To the Elemental Lord of Water, to the rivers that they use to transport goods across their holdings in Ristshan, and to the seas. The kingdom is known for its impressive ships, the produce that grows upon its shores, and its inventive use of alchemy.

History

Tell the story of Old King Kosen, who unified the towns all across the gulf, driving the orcish raiders out to the east, commanding his men like a fierce wave washing the barbarians away.
In the dark days before the kingdom, the people of Ristshan lived in fear and disharmony. Monsters roamed the land, and the Orcish hordes roamed with them, hunting and taking all they could. Villages struggled, and starvation was common for those who were not cut down by the blade. Some still dared to fight against the Orcs, however, and none of them more than the man who would become known as King Kosen.   In driving out the orcs, Kosen gained a following as towns unified under the hope of his banner. This following would eventually include every human settlement west of the Carch, all sharing a common goal of peace and protection. And finally, these settlements would become the Kingdom of Chal. However, the land was hard-fought in these times, and he would not live to see the capital of his kingdom, the impregnable Kirphace Castle, become any more than a central staging point.   Despite this, the first king's blood bought an era of peace to the land, allowing Chal to reclaim its lush farming lands, with which it expanded and repopulated. Metalworking grew into more than a rare craft as mining became more feasible, and the kingdom grew larger and more advanced with each passing generation. Alchemy, in this time, grew as well, with the ample crops allowing for greater experimentation and proper workshops. However, as the kingdom prospered in the absence of their foes, so too did the Orcs in the eastern frontier.  
Of Wise King Laren and the grand Castle Kirphace, that stood true and repelled the tides of orcs and goblins for twoscore years.
It was during the rule of King Laren that the hordes, now a combined force of Orcs and Goblins, returned to the lands of Chal in force. While the kingdom's knights met the hordes, it became clear that they were outnumbered, if not outmatched. The siege of Kirphace Castle was said to last forty years, though many sources reasonably dispute this claim, or at least that it was continuous. Regardless, it is known that King Laren's tactical mind and stoic composure ultimately outlasted the orcish hordes. While Laren was not a popular ruler in his time, his rule would leave Chal not only intact but changed for the better.   It is during the forty year defense of the kingdom that many of its military tactics were solidified, in fact. From the use of alchemy in war to using boats with cannon that could be deployed on the rivers and including spellcasters for support of rank and file squadrons, many of King Laren's tactics are still used today. Tempered by this new war, Chal found itself in a position of strength, spanning from one coast to the other, but this would not be the final step in the kingdom becoming a global power. In this time, Chal still lacked access to the sea, or rather, unrestrained access.  
And of Ser Cerena, the knight with the heart of the sea and the bite of ice in her blade, who drowned the Great Serpent of Kurstach in the gulf and brought peace to the Kingdom of Chal.
After the thawing of the Gulf of Kurstach (well before the history of the kingdom as written here), an immense and powerful monster had taken up the rich fishing region as a hunting ground. Some called it a sea dragon, some called it leviathan, but it came to be known in history as the Great Serpent of Kurstach. As seaworthy ships started to be built in the towns on the gulf, acquiring the attention of this beast proved inevitable, and the results horrific. When it first turned its wrath upon the ports, young Princess Cerena was on a royal inspection, unaware of the nightmare she was about to witness.   It was this event that inspired Cerena to take the assistance of the Dwarves in felling the beast, to open the port for both nations. It was ultimately her bravery and perseverance, however, and not diplomatic need that solidified a lasting alliance with Argenduum. Her ultimate defeat of the Great Serpent, years later, would not only avenge the massacre, but free the gulf for trade. This also culturally connected the once relatively isolated nation to the rest of the world. While trade with Argenduum had been occurring for centuries by this point, this act would finally open up Chal to the markets of Arrboth and Nalanosa.

Demography and Population

Humans have historically been the most populous race in Chal since its founding, but it is fairly racially open with a few exceptions. Dwarves are fairly common due to the proximity to their own homeland, with Elves and Orcs being a relatively spread out but ubiquitous minority. Goblins are for the most part not tolerated within the kingdom, but this does little to stop them from existing between the cracks. Among the Planetouched, the most common are unsurprisingly Watertouched, with Stonetouched taking up a close second.

Territories

The lands of Chal stretch from the Gulf of Kurstach to the southern edge of the Rabnack Jungle. The foothills of the Dwarven Peaks mark the western border, while the River Carch takes up much of the eastern border. Officially, Chal holds claim to much more of the land to the east, but the presence of Orcish and Goblin tribes, vast wilderness, and lack of effective transportation (the Carch being the easternmost river that the gulf grants easy access to) prevent much real expansion beyond it.

Military

Knights (typically levels 3-4) have become a sort of symbol of the Kingdom of Chal, and not without good reason. The elite forces of the kingdom, knights are trained not only to use blades but to utilize a variety of supernatural boons to their fullest. It is not uncommon to see a knight launch fire, ice, or electricity from their blades, with the help of alchemical oils or enhancing spells alike. Each squad of knights is trained to work with a spellcaster, adding unpredictability and immense tactical flexibility. While this spellcaster can sometimes act as the squad's field commander, this is not always the case.   Less skilled troops (levels 1-2) tend to lack this magical backup except in the most large scale conflict, but even they are familiar with the use of alchemy in combat. While they are expected to use them rarely and they are not frequently kept on their person until they are needed, many guardhouses carry vials in reserve. These soldiers are frequently stationed as guards in important locations or protect ships carrying valuable cargo. Due to the sheer cost of outfitting and training a knight, these soldiers are far more numerous.   Finally, rank and file soldiers (levels 0-1) tend to only be called upon in times of genuine war. In these cases, they man artillery and ships, support elite forces, and generally keep things moving. In peace, they typically take up roles as town guards, delivering messages, and defending more routine transportation. These tend to be new recruits and those with both limited experience and equipment, developing experience and trust in peacetime activities.

Technological Level

Alchemy is something of a local staple of Chal. While permanent magical artifacts are relatively uncommon, potions that heal or temporarily grant the user minor supernatural abilities, such as seeing in the dark, withstanding heat or cold, or breathing underwater, are regular sights. Oils that grant increased abilities to weaponry are also regularly created. These have great tactical use for Chal's armies - in fact, scholars commonly believe that if it were not for royal purchases of such concoctions, alchemical practices would not be nearly as efficient or widespread as they are today.   Apart from this, and some impressive advances in biological and medical knowledge on account of Elvish influences (which themselves feed back into the alchemical industry), the technology level within Chal is predominantly medieval. Basic firearms are some of the most advanced weapons available, and these are prohibitively complex and expensive to produce. Paper is not able to be properly mass produced, though once again, alchemy has allowed some improvements in this field as well. Water mills are common sights in river towns, and advances in sailing, ship construction, and farming are on the rise. Simple cranes are already used for loading cargo and ship construction in Port Kurstach, and the full impact of many of the kingdom's advancements has yet to be seen.

Religion

The most prominent religion in Chal is the Church of Still Water, dedicated to The Maiden in White and the teachings of order and peace, both within and without. Connections to The Maiden have been common in the royal line for centuries, and the stories of them have helped keep order in the country for almost as long. Almost every town in Chal that can afford it has a church dedicated to the Lord of Water to help guide the people and cleanse them of their past failings. These range from simple to extravagant, with the Aquarian Chapel in Kirphace standing as a monument to the kingdom's wealth and dedication, second only in size to the castle itself.

Foreign Relations

Chal has an active alliance with Argenduum, its closest neighbor. The Nalanosan Federation and the Golden Empire of Arrboth are regular trading partners, though relations are strained with both. Many suspect the Golden Empire may attempt to conquer the kingdom across the sea, though no real evidence of this has surfaced, and distance alone would make such a conflict difficult for either aggressing side.

Agriculture & Industry

Especially since allying itself with Argenduum, Chal has been a predominantly agricultural state. Apart from a considerable logging industry to support the expansion of towns and frequent fishing in the gulf, farmers and ranches are some of the most common groups. Corn fields are common near the gulf, along with vast wheat fields and even occasional orchards of bananas or oranges further north.   Livestock includes cattle and sheep, with dairy farming and wool production being common. Horses are raised for transportation and combat in the northern regions, while giant crabs are still occasionally raised for the same purposes in the south. Hippogryffs have a history of attempts and failures in the same regard, with the successes closer to local legends than reliable outcomes.   At the same time, smithing is not left purely to the Dwarves, and blacksmiths and fletchers can be found closer to the capital and the gulf. Apothecaries tend towards the north, where the safer outskirts of the jungle can still provide useful and otherwise rare ingredients, though breweries can be found across the country.

Trade & Transport

Rivers are very commonly used to carry people and supplies across the country, and ferries across, up, or down them are also common as a result. Roads and channels through the mountains made by the dwarves are used to trade with Argenduum, but the main hub of trade in Chal is without a doubt the Gulf of Kurstach. Port Kurstach is an immensely lucrative trade hub for the kingdom, and the easiest point from which to get to other continents in The Eye. Some dirt roads exist between towns, mostly used by horse (or crab), and paved roads have started to become more common around the capital in recent times.   Having used rivers and the gulf for most of the kingdom's history, Chal's people are extremely familiar with the minutiae of shipbuilding, and they have an abundance of wood with which to craft them. Both riverboats and great sailing vessels can be seen within its borders, ranging from practical necessities to works of art.

Education

Some small schools have started to appear in Chal's larger towns as trade and travel grow more common and innovations and improvements in tools require less farm labor. These schools are not necessarily free or cheap, however, at best funded by generous nobles outright and at worst requiring a significant tuition. Many started by Elves wishing to share knowledge with the masses, curriculums tend to focus on literacy, science, and mathematics, along with geography and history in some cases. Opinions on these institutions are still mixed, with many considering the skills gained to be impractical or simply not worth the entry costs and others believing that the true benefits merely have yet to show themselves.   On the whole, however, apprenticeship is still the most common form of education in the kingdom. Many use it due to convenience, lack of mobility, and tradition, keeping education within the same villages they live in. To add to this, alchemists and mages tend to be protective of their knowledge and only willing to teach a select few to perpetuate their craft.
Type
Geopolitical, Country
Demonym
Chale
Government System
Monarchy, Absolute
Economic System
Traditional
Major Exports
Much of Chal's trade is with Argenduum, their closest neighbor, with which they regularly trade produce and lumber. Alchemical supplies are also a lucrative export to every nation it trades with, with some requiring native jungle plants in their recipes that cannot be found elsewhere. Woolen clothing is also commonly exported, especially to Nalanosa, Chal's main competitor in the fishing industry. More than all this, however, one of the kingdom's greatest exports are its ships themselves, sometimes brought in groups to foreign harbors for potential sale (or filled with extra supplies otherwise) or sold at port.
Major Imports
The most common imports for Chal are Dwarven steel and stone, both as raw materials and in the form of tools and equipment. While mines exist in the hills, Dwarven work is simply cheaper due to scale and the cost of transportation low enough that most are abandoned or in decline. Gold and art from Arrboth is always welcome among the nobility, as are Nalanosan furs.
Subsidiary Organizations
Location
Controlled Territories
Neighboring Nations

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