Coalition of Nine
The land ruled by a grand cabal of mages, and well-known as a place of peace and neutrality
The land of the Coalition of Nine, better known as Mulrath, is a strange thing - it lacks a traditional noble hierarchy and is by no means a feudal state - instead, rulership of the land and its population centers and citizens is given exclusively to wielders of magic...specifically, members of the organization which rules the land, the Umberlight Society. This organization has run the country ever since its inception, where the mysterious society approached the people of Mulrath and offered them a deal - become the society's vassals and subjects, and in exchange they would be given prosperity. Though this mysterious deal has forced the citizens of mulrath to accept being subjects for all sorts of minor harmless experiments and allow themselves to be the constant subjects of all sorts of massive, privacy-invading spells designed to keep an eye on the entire country at all times, they are content with such an arrangement - for despite their strange ways and invasions of privacy, the Umberlight Society has proven themselves capable and kind rulers so long as their laws are obeyed and the terms of the agreement are abided by. Key to the people's acceptance of this deal are several laws that were passed early on in Mulrath's history that allowed its citizens to feel as though, despite their lack of say in their government, they have a right and the power to call attention to those who do possess that power who they believe misuse it - foremost of these laws is the Right of Maleficarum - described on the sidebar of the page, to the right.
The Lords' BurdenIn another unique government twist, the rulers of the Coalition of Nine and its people, the Umberlight Society, while they do all possess the "Right of Rule", do not themselves all rule over the country - instead, the positions of governance in Mulrath are constantly being changed around and given to fresh hands once every 2-4 years or so. This is mostly due in part to a rite of passage known to both the society's members and the common citizenry alike as "The Lords' Burden", which is given to all Umberlight Society members at regular points throughout their career in the society itself. This rite is given to Umberlight Society members once every 2 years or so(Later on, the interval increases for veterans), and sees members given posts in population centers of varying size depending on their veterancy in the society - newer members are given smaller posts in small towns or villages to give them a place to learn of responsibility without such high stakes for failure as ruling over a massive city. This sees the 'rulers' of Mulrath constantly cycling in and out, giving fresh and new perspectives every few years as veteran and fresh mages alike begin and end service as Lords of Mulrath in service to and ruling for The Ruling Seats of the Umberlight Society. Of note, magic is not allowed for the years these members must spend in the Trial of "The Lords Burden" - though this is lessened somewhat for more veteran members, the goal is nonetheless to teach a humble understanding and/or reminder of the weight of responsibility, and the gift of magic - and how it must never be taken for granted. For retired members of the Umberlight Society who wish to live out their twilight years in peace, they are often given permanent stations as advisors to these constantly changing rulers, often as dedicated archmages of specific cities - this allows them to serve as teachers and leave a life of peace while still passing down their knowledge to the next generation, and advising them on the lessons they learned and that they think others should keep in mind. This, in keeping with the Coalition's immense societal respect for the elderly, sees these older veterans given preferential treatment in thier twilight years to live in peace as they wish.
Societal RanksTenured: Anyone in the Umberlight Society exists in this rank above all other ranks of society. They exist above all law - only the Umberlight Society itself can deal with its own members, for better or worse. However, the common folk are given the right to call attention to a given society member's actions if they think they are misusing their power as described in the Right of Maleficarum(Seen on the sidebar, on page right). As was recorded in the country's document of founding, they are the sole class of society given the "Right of Rule" - only a member of the Tenured can rule over the country's citizens in any governmental capacity. Most notably, this sees both veterans and retired members of the society given positions as rulers of cities and towns and the like, and most commonly new members of the society given multiple-year long posts as rulers of cities as a sort of 'rite of passage' commonly referred to as "The Lords' Burden" designed to teach burgeoning society mages the importance of responsibility, and how heavy a burden it is to bear the lives of others on one's shoulders(See 'The Lords' Burden' section above for more details). Neophyte: Anyone with magical abilities, either with training or just simple potential. They enjoy some heightened privileges but are not above the law - typically, they are scouted by the Umberlight Society at a young age and earmarked as future recruits, often taken away at the age of 13 to become a member of the society to recieve full and proper training in how to utilize their talents. However, all those with magical talent, even those who refuse this offer of training, recieve this rank. Typically, prospective recruits of the Umberlight Society go from Neophyte to Tenured once they are officially accepted into the society in the "Ceremony of Weighing" where their magical talents are evaluated and the Umberlight Society along with the recruiter that earmarked the given Neophyte will 'place' the neophyte into a specific college and accept them into the Umberlight Society - though they must go through a rite of passage known as "The Lords' Burden"(Described above in the "Tenured" rank) before they are allowed to both return to thier birth family and begin proper training at the college. Citizenry: Everyone else in the country. They are not divided into official categories beneath the laws of mulrath - though they are divided culturally, they are all the same beneath the law.
- Upper Class: A term mostly used to refer to those who are well-off financially, have sizable incomes and large places of residence, or who have attended the Outer Colleges of the Umberlight Society beyond what is mandatorily required by societal law to better themselves in ways that go beyond what is required of them(At cost to themselves specifically. Those who do so by serving time in the military beyond their standard education are typically classified as "Middle Class".). More simply, "those with more than they need". Most all Eldlerly citizens of Mulrath are either placed in the Upper Class or given similar treatment.
- Middle Class: The largest of the classes, who make up a vast majority of the citizens of Mulrath. Those who have a house or place of residence of moderate but respectable size, some amount of land to call their own, have finished the mandatory training and schooling ordered by the government. They earn a livable wage with a meager amount left over, and almost universally have a magic item that has come to be seen as the symbol of their class - the Umberbright Soundball, a realtively inexpensive magical device produced by the Umberlight society that produce sounds spoken around a central 'master control' orb(Typically located in the capital, and used as a country-wide update system).
- Lower Class: The lowest and least populated of the classes - typically reserved for the ranks of the "Dodgers", who avoid the mandatory training and years-long education each citizen of mulrath must partake in. They dwell in the cracks of society, typically do not officially own property, and often actively hide their identities or avoid the law. However, they can also be simply destitute - those who have lost everything and have no means to recover what they lost, though in recent years these true destitute have been shrinking due to societal reform programs designed to get those in the lower classes of society back into work and productivity again.
The people of the Coalition have a high standard of living, and a fanciful style of dress many view as strange and advanced - they tend to wear simple button up shirts, simple denim or cloth pants, and other clothes that, to them, seem normal but to others can seem the things of high society elsewhere - while the better off tend to wear suits, trenchcoats, and dress slacks and shirts made of strange, silky materials invented in various experiments by the Umberlight Society that, after yielding no results the society viewed as favorable for their magical pursuits, were given to the general populace and deemed as "byproducts" or "failures"...that, as it happens, just so happen to be quite comfortable and pleasing to wear. Though their clothes are comfortable, unlike the people of the Kingdom of Raoulin, they are not seen as fashionable in any sense - their outfits are universally too strange and minimalist for the tastes of other cultures to latch onto and thus, are not well regarded nor highly desired...though, to the citizens of Mulrath, they are something they proudly tout as "an acquired taste". See the "Shao-rath" section of the Shaoshuan ethnicity for more information on the culture of Mulrath.
The public agenda of the Coalition of Nine is neutrality - they make it an active policy to not get involved in matters of foreign affairs, politics, or wars: Instead, they have a simple policy of self-defense that sees them defend their own borders and work towards the betterment of their own society so long as they are not bothered. And because of the extremely dangerous nature of the country's extremely magic-oriented military, many are perfectly keen to let them languish and leave well enough alone.
Left a people isolated and abandoned after the fall of the unified Shaoshu Empire, the people of Mulrath were one that were likely doomed to be absorbed by the other powers that more rapidly formed in the wake of the unified empire's collapse, had it not been for the well-timed approach of the Umberlight Society - who carefully approached the abandoned, frightened people of Mulrath and made them an offer they couldn't refuse: Accept their protection and become their vassals in a new kingdom of magic, or be killed and absorbed by their neighbors. The people of the then-anarchic lands of Mulrath, eager to restore law and order, accepted the deal and formed The Coalition of Nine, named after the Nine Ruling Members of the Umberlight Society who appeared in person for the only time in the country's history to offer the deal to the people of Mulrath, as a show of good faith.
Demography and Population
The population of the Coalition is predominantly Human, though large populations of Half-Elves(Thanks to the nearby Yudao Rainforest and the Baltairan people there), Tortles, Guīmogoa, and suprisingly, Výtrúl(Thanks to an agreement made between the Coalition of Nine and a Vytrul hive queen in the Yudao Rainforest). Smaller populations of Elves of all varieties, Bomujeo and Dragonborn are also present(After a small tribe emigrated up from Khadagar and settled in Mulrath).
The lands of Mulrath have not expanded or shrunk drastically since the country's founding - they have only been subject to one massive attempt at invasion at the hands of the Danzou Theocracy, which, though close, did not succeed in capturing any territory in the lands of the Coalition.
The military of Mulrath is one with a massive emphasis on magical training and power - mages are incredibly commonplace in Mulrath, to the point where even the common soldiery are trained in some degree of spellcasting, either as the legendary Eldritch Knights or the lowly Maguses that often come out of the Outer Colleges of the Umberlight Society. They even have an impressive cavalry force(Though through the use of magic primarily), and thanks to government-mandated schooling that trains all citizens in the ways of combat and requires two years of service in the military before returning to civilian life, the country is suprisingly well-prepared both with a civilian militia and an army made of up well-trained soldiers, large amounts of casters, and blended professions who master melee and casting both. Legendarily, though the number of powerful mages the country can field is well-known as terrifying, the country also is much feared for its "Arcane Cavalry" that charges in on mounts made of magic - a force much feared by those who would seek to attack them.
The religion of Mulrath is an open thing - suprisingly so. Many even go so far as to insult the country by claiming that the agnostic members of the Umberlight Society who rule the country, who care so little for religion, would even let members of the bastardous faiths of the Yema, or foreign gods, into the country as long as they didn't cause trouble. Even those who others designate as "cultists" are sometimes welcomed in Mulrath, so long as the obey the law and do not break the country's policies.
The Coalition of Nine's relations with its neighbors is simply described as "neutral" - their national policy of "live and let live" has served them well, and thanks to their powerful magically-centric military they have remained neutral with foreign powers for most all of their existence.
Agriculture & Industry
The agriculture of Mulrath is nothing outstanding - they produce enough to feed their own citizens, and not much else. Their industries, however, are fairly lucrative - specializing in the producting of paper, parchment, spell scrolls, and all manner of magical and alchemical contraptions. Their financial industries are also second-to-none, and their legendary policies of financial secrecy and confidentiality make them highly sought after as both a destination for runaways seeking asylum and those with illicit funds seeking to launder them in the country's financial institutions. In addition, thanks to their access to the Tianzhao Peaks, they have a small but profitable mining industry as well.
Trade & Transport
Mulrath has an incredibly well-laid and maintained road system - thanks to the magicians who run the country, well-laid cobblestone bricks connect the land together and have kept the stellar transport networks of the old Unified Shaoshu Empire almost wholly intact.
Education is not only available in Mulrath, but is mandatory for its citizens - each citizen, on the day after their 16th birthday, must report to the Capital of the country to be given two years being taught in the Outer Colleges of the Umberlight Society, and another two years putting that training to use in military service on the country's borders or as guards in its cities. Other than this, further and higher education is possible, but only at the expense of the individual - though magic training is restricted to members of the Umberlight Society.
By the Umberlight.
The Land of Mulrath, The Coalition, The Nine
Knowledge, Scrolls, Magic, Engineering, Entertainment, Financial Services, Culture
Ores, Metals, Minerals, Exotic Foodstuffs, Spices,
The only true "central" legislative body in Mulrath is the Umberlight Society itself - specifically, the Ruling Nine Seats made up of the nine most powerful mages in the society. These nine figures pass the laws of the land and hand them down to the members of the society that rule over the country's cities and populace, who then are responsible for putting those decisions into practice.
The only true "central" judicial body in Mulrath is the Umberlight Society itself, though in practice local conclaves referred to as "tribunals" held in most major cities and smaller townships, run by the local representative and highest ranking member of the society, serve such a purpose.
An absolute surveillance stateUmberlight Society who rules over it and its people by way of massive magical spells said to cover the entire country and allow for observation and information gathering on anyone, in any location, at any time. This massive magical breach of privacy, which very well might be considered awful and terrible by many other cultures, is wholly normal to the citizens of the Coaltion, who view it as a way that their lords ensure that not only the populace but their own members obey their laws and ensure corruption does not take root. This, combined with a few other massive magical formations designed for various purposes, paints a somewhat ominous image of the country for outsiders - but one which, to the citizens themselves, are a welcome comfort knowing they're there. Most famously, the most beneficial and widely beloved magical spell wrought over the country is one that the country refers to as "The Umberlight Orbcast" - a system designed around relatively inexpensive magical crystal balls made available to most all citizens that simply transmit sounds spoken near a master 'orb' outwards to the 'lesser nodes' in the hands of the populace. With this system, the Ruling Seats of the Umberlight Society and thus the coalition as a whole make regular country-wide announcements of important information, changes in law, and somewhat suprisingly to outsiders, regular entertainment programs and semi-regular 'news programs'. This miraculously fast spreading of information in the country is a system countless other nations have tried to claim for themselves, though none have succeeded thus far.
The Right of MaleficarumUmberlight Society). These society members, normally above reproach and all law aside from the society itself, when faced by one who invokes this sacred of rights on them, is immediately marked by the Umberlight Society as a potential target for re-education or explusion. The rite, once invoked and detected by way of the country-wide surveillance magicks wrought by the Umberlight Society to keep a watch on its populace, is handled in short order by the highest ranking local member of the society - who arrives, often by magic, accompanied by a conclave of scribes and adjutants to carry out a short tribunal by hearing both sides of the accuser who invoked the rite and accused member of the society to determine if the society member who faces the invocation of the rite truly earned such a thing. If so, and they are deemed to be in breach of the code of conduct of the Umberlight Society, they are given an appropriate punishment and placed under strict watch for any retaliatory or future incidents. If, however, the law was invoked incorrectly or the accuser is found to be lying, they themselves might face a punishment for wasting valuable resources of the society - though if such an accusation was leveled in good faith but was ultimately incorrect or too petty, a simple warning will likely suffice. It is thanks in large part, then, to this rite, that the citizens of the country who otherwise have no say in their own government can feel as though they have some degree of power over the elite - and that the massive country-wide surveillance systems work not just in the favor of the elite, but them as well...doing much to engender respect and admiration for the Umberlight Society as a whole.
The two countries of the Coalition and Raoulin have been neutral since almost day one - neither side is the type to provoke, so they have sat side by side as nonhostile trading partners and amicable enough allies for decades and even centuries.
An unusual occurance for the normally hostile Matriarchy, the Coalition has gotten on just fine with them - though not sharing a border is considered to be a part of this relationship. The countries have met on a few occasions for mundane talks of politics, but thankfully nothing dramatic has ever come of them. The most recent High Valkyrion of Kassau, Naiara Zaragoza, has yet to make a journey to the Coalition but plans to do so to reaffirm long-standing pacts of neutrality with the Coalition and its mysterious mage leaders...
As two nations built on honor and live-and-let-live, Osneia and the Coalition have gotten along fine with no issues for decades.
Non-Hostile, Tense Relations
Though the two countries are official neutral towards each other, the Coalition and the Theocracy are by no means allies - as the only country to openly attack the otherwise neutral Coalition, the Theocracy has long made it clear their desire to conquer the Coalition and plunder its magical secrets for themselves.