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Preamble - Cincoria was developed from the works of one of my favourite authors to be the homeland of one of the principal PCs. The player was brand new to the system, and it was a convenient hook. As the backdrop to an ongoing war, the player in question found themselves surprised to be heartbroken!
THE PROTECTORATE OF CINCORIA
Ruler: Margrave Vactor XI Capital: Quilla Population: 68,000 Resources: Timber, agriculture, paper, silk, shipbuilding, silver
A nation with some of the densest forests in the South East, Cincoria is very much a woodland country. It has a fine tradition of carpentry, shipbuilding and woodcraft. Furniture gracing many parts of the world may likely have come from Cincoria, especially if it is elaborate, contains scrollwork, or esoteric inlays. It can be a difficult country to reach during the winter months, but it is still a profitable trip to make, and the people’s hospitality is second to none. Architecture is mainly wood frame and foundation. Simple cottages and huts are merely a central hearth room with a raised wooden platform covering about two thirds of the floor space. More opulent homes have interior paper screens dividing an easily rearranged central space, similar in essence to some homes of Lookshy and many in Gethamane. They also contain extensive stone foundations, and more often than not a simple hypocaust system, an innovation struck upon early on in Aluvian migration.
Established during the Shogunate as a religious refuge from Kasland to the East, Cincoria prospered and grew in strength from tribal communities to a singular nation under the leadership of the leader who would become the first Margrave. The citystate that the Cincorians originally hailed from was destroyed during the Usurpation wars that marred much of the area. Kasland, although an area of relative learning, literacy and fairness spent much effort consolidating the lands closer to their surviving cities further inland. Many refugees, disgusted with their treatment, retreated into the forests to their west, giving their worship to local deities. A tradition of shamanism and careful forest husbandry began after several decades of trial and error. The local forest strider, Far Manioch, encouraged their spread in the Quilla river floodplains, as their shamans helped pacify several of the wilder wood elementals.
Cincorians began to give due honour to Jorst and Arilak as patrons of the woods. The country’s climate is very humid, and some extensive mangrove swamps are to found in the areas nearest to the coast. The strange synthesis of peerage resulted from the loss of significant swathes of the eastern forests during the Great Contagion and subsequent Wyld invasion. Two more forest walkers - Rootless Sycamore and Mendicant Yew - came to Cincoria in the face of the Great Contagion, fleeing the spread of the disease that wiped out their forests. This created much of the grasslands of the central Aluvian plains, which even now is only beginning to be repopulated with trees. Within the Quillan basin, many species remain that would otherwise have been wiped out. It was only due to the superlative woodcraft and ingenious defenses of the new inhabitants that kept the diseases and Wyld at bay until the end of the Balorian Crusade. Their love of learning and the written word was not lost, however, as within two generations the skilled craftsmen of the towns were making paper and inks to rival anything from other lands. Contact was eventually re-established with Kasland and other nations to the south. Little rancour was held as both nations now had more pressing concerns.
With the migration west of the Nael, Cincoria found itself drawn into a succession of bitter conflicts against the nation they would become, Klarnos. Much of the southern territory - including the gold rich Klarn Mts. - were lost to the enemy. Were it not from the unexpected aid from Kasland, Cincoria would have suffered total defeat. Several of Kasland’s western potentates had come to rely on the trade from Cincoria, and sued their incumbent ruler for backing and aid for their erstwhile cousins.
Cincoria continued to rebuild for another half century before the Great Civil War broke out again. Whilst not affecting Cincoria directly, Kasland badly needed support from attacks against its own territory. Though not skilled warriors at this time, the numbers and fervour of the people willing to return the favour turned the tide.
During this time, lessons were learned. The leaders of Cincoria became convinced of the need for a skilled standing army. Using their native skills, and with the aid of Kasland officers’ guidance the result was a free militia skilled in the arts of guerrilla fighting, and well versed in archery. This army was put to the test when the Klarnorians returned a century later to finish what their ancestors had started with the Klan Mts. The two armies met at Klarris Gap, and Klarnos lost nearly every man to a well-turned arrow. Since this utter and humiliating defeat, Klarnos has not returned to pester Cincoria.
The heart and soul of the Cincorian Protectorate, Quilla is a marvel of engineering by both gods and mortal men. Built almost entirely of wood, each timber felled is ritually blessed by a thaumaturge-priest of the forest gods, and a new sapling planted in its place in the lands adjoining the great expanse of the ancient forest. Based around an ancient motte and bailey, the settlement changed when the alliance with the forest spirits came into being. As a centre for commerce, the military and the ersatz priesthood of the nation, Quilla is a temple, a barracks and a market all in one. The gifts of the gods are apparent in this remarkable town, however. Although much of the oldest construction has a foundation of stone and earth, the rest of the buildings are wooden. Old supports are seen to bloom with new life – one enterprising merchant is known to have his home and store built of late-blooming fruit trees. With subtle geomancy practiced over several centuries, the very town has become a Manse, directing and controlling the powerful Wood Essence that permeates the land in this most ancient of regions.
The Keeper of Keys for Quilla is officially the Margrave, who sits at the centre of a feudal society. Serfdom exists, although freedmen are often granted status akin to that of minor landholders. The major landholders that are responsible for those beneath them are those of the Morio, O-torono, and Tsurugi. The Hiraku family ranks with them, and in fact supplies the current Margrave.
The autocratic title of Margrave is passed down patrilineally – usually. It can, and has skipped into another family because of an affair or marriage, although it always stayed between the major four families so far.
The Hiraku and Tsurugi families were originally Kasland migrants, looking for a place to practice their more animistic beliefs away from the rising influence of the Immaculate Philosophy to the north and east. The O-Torono family joined them shortly after the Contagion, leading the remnants of another Kasland citystate south into the forests. In the face of Primordial magics, the disease seemed to halt, but little could be done to help their erstwhile cousins across their northern border.
The Morio family is of interest because their rise to fame is somewhat more recent in comparison with the other families. Morio, an outcaste Dragonblood came from the north, about a century and a half following the Contagion. His skills became legendary during the Klarnorian Wars, and he in fact entered the forest alone to broker a deal with the local elemental courts, decrying the loss of forest land and attendant sacrifices. It was this deal that eventually gave rise to a deal called the Compact of the Green Banner, in which the inhabitants of the region would give due reverence and homage to the spirits and creatures of the woods, and that in time of need they could call on the spirits for protection in much the same way. This rested on the fact that the call would be issued by a “Prince of the Earth”. Of the three Forest Walkers, Far Manioch has been most lenient in interpreting this stipulation, although Mendicant Yew and Rootless Sycamore are far less likely.
After "The Battle at Sunset Bridge"
With the end of the recent invasion, Quilla is in the midst of a refugee crisis. While the new contract with Lookshy is helping with the retraining of troops, much of their time is spent on disaster relief and rebuilding deeper in the hinterlands. The woods have become more hostile to travellers, although the fact this secures the southern borders even more has not been lost on the leaders. Several towns in the south are now little more than barracks surrounded by shanties. The priests of the Compact are aggressively recruiting in order to tend to the spirits and the people, and their ambassador has been unable to contact the forest-walkers since winter. Several hundred residents from the south of the river have gone missing, and the displaced are at the end of their tether.
A manse and hinterlands located at the confluence of the Rock River, close to Mist Isle. It is outlined in orders given to the circle for an operation codenamed Breaker.