The Beast Isle Confederation
Also known as The Beastfolk Kingdoms. Plural: Beastfolk
They are based on the Beast Isle, also known as Youngol
It is a confederation of kingdoms, ruled and populated by the Beastfolk
It is a multitude of smaller kingdoms which are unified loosely to keep their lands safe from harm
They are known Oathkeepers, a pagan faith which worships the Black and White Trees directly
They speak Yuonite, and write in Younite
There are a sizable minority of Shadow Worshippers on the island itself
They are a skillful and defensive people, whom have always valued peace and honor
Population - 7,000,000
Manpower - 280,000 and 28,000 Professional Soldiers
Ships - 1145
Wealth - Very Poor
The Beastfolk races are often varied, and can range from mice to bears, badgers and wolverines. Beastfolk often resemble their feral counterparts but are in fact pushed into 3 different sized categories; small, medium, and giants. Smalls, also known as the small folk, are smaller then a human being. Mediums are creatures about the size of a human being. Giants are taller then human beings, and often have incredible strength as well. In the confederation there are a varied amount of Beastfolk; Mould (Mice, Small), Skul (Shrew, Small), Dor'Mould (Dormice, Small), Trecal (Squirrel, Medium), Otur (Otter, Medium), Ravar (Hare, Medium), Siur (Badger, Giant), Higvar (Hedgehog, Small), Volm (Vole, Small), Und'Mould (Mole, Small), Wulf (Wolf, Medium), Wildar (Wolverine, Giant), Buroda (Bear, Giant)
At one time or another, various other Beastfolk had use to inhabit the island but have since been either forced to move, killed off, or banished. While certain racers are allowed to roam the lands freely, like the Wildar, they would be more likely to be seen elsewhere. However, races like the Ratik would not be seen on the island itself since their race was banished long ago, even though they originally came from the island at one point. These races are; Ratik (Rat, Medium), Fearus (Ferret, Medium), Wesil (Weasel, Medium), Pinnis (Pine Martin, Medium), Boask (Boar, Medium), Fuus (Fox, Medium), Black Buroda (Black Bear, Giant)
The First Kingdoms (1st Age)
When the Beastfolk were first coming out of their tribal era, the first kingdoms were formed on the island amongst the various tribes. However, unlike how it is today, there were multiple kingdoms of multiple races of the Beastfolk. These kingdoms fought viciously with one another for land and resources, and the trust between certain races grew based on cultural similarities and alliances. These large scale alliances between kingdoms helped establish certain tribes as dominant over each other, similiar nations often aiding in the unification of the beastfolk races. The strongest of these kingdoms was the Siur kingdom of Urthol, based in the mountains.
Imperial Expansion (1st Age)
During the rise of the empire, there were early expeditions to the Beast Isle. Upon bringing back slaves from the island, the first emperor Belmot himself ordered his general Sigot the Great to conquer the island and to bring under imperial control. Sigot came with 200 ships filled with soldiers and landed on the southern shores, conquering the land piece by piece until he was on the steps leading into the kingdom of Urthol. The Siur viciously fought the Ulmarians, but were defeated at every turn. The conquest of the island was never complete, but most of the races either surrendered to Sigot or were forced into retreats deeper in the north.
The Iron Port (1st Age)
Sigot would rule well in the Beast Isle, giving it it's name and making the land suitable for civilization. Ruling from what is known as the Iron Port, it acted as a last gate before many Beastfolk were enslaved and sent across the empire as laborers. This however did not last, as the port's human inhabitants slowly but surely died out over time, forcing the descendants of Sigot to give more and more freedoms to the Beastfolk. Adopting a number of Ravar as their commoners, the Iron Port became less and less influential on the island as it lost territory slowly to encroaching petty kingdoms.
Driving out the Empire (1st Age)
The Empire's war with the north saw a invasion of the Beast Isle by the Wildar, and laid siege to Port Iron for over a year. The Wildar converted many Wulf, Otur, and Boas to shadow worship. The northern army laid waste to Port Iron, but did not officially drive out the human population. This process took years, and once done, the Wildar lost much of the control of the island to warring tribes and nations once again. The empire left behind iron working, but also left behind a distaste for slavery. The last human on the island was said to have been executed by angry Ratik warriors, pushing into motion the saying 'no man walks the beast isles'.
Vermlel the Conquerer (2nd Age, 112)
A hundred years into the first era, a northern warlord named Vermlel had united warring and scattered Ratik tribesmen into a more effective fighting force in the north, laying siege to the Trecal Kingdoms and was successful in uniting various forces under his whim. Vermlel's tactics and sheer force allowed him to dominate nearly all of the island except for smaller havens which were protected by high walls. Vermlel used much of his influence to expand his people's holding and forcing many into slavery in his 'slave pits', but had died in battle against a Mould name Asgon the Hero whom slew him in combat, and was in fact a former personal slave of Vermlel himself.
1st Conquorina (2nd Age, 177)
After the wars with Vermlel was over, the Ratik controlled large swaths of the island, pushing the various Beastfolk into the kingdom of the Siur whom gathered the united warriors togeather, declaring war against all Ratik petty kingdoms in what is known as the Conquorina. This was a racial and holy war, in which the Siur declared all Ratik to be unclean and unholy, and thus had to be removed from the island permanently. This war would take over two hundred years of slowly inching into Ratik territory and dividing it up amongst the other Beastfolk. Keeping no slaves of defeated kingdoms, the Siur would often butcher the Ratik which led many to flee.
The Boask-Wulf War (2nd, 345)
The Boask, a boar beastfolk from the mountains, had lived as tribal rivals to the Wulf. The Wulfian peoples were often targets for raiding by the Boask whom butchered their villages and took their people captive. While both excelled as fighting beasts, the Boask had many Wesil allies and other mercenaries whom fought for them, but were never able to gain ground due to tribal infighting amongst the clans of the Boask. However, a official war was declared by a powerful Boask shaman on the Wulf, and fielded a much larger army then usual and laid siege to the Wulf lands. In spite of personal victories, the Wulf lost horribly and many of their people were slaughtered or enslaved, and the Boask territories expanded.
2nd Conquorina (2nd Age, 356)
The Boask continued to live in the lands of the Wulf and made their capital their own, and were cruel. After a slave revolt killed the infamous shaman whom led them, the Boask once again began to fight amongst each other, and this infighting was fueled by raiding neighboring kingdoms for supplies and weapons. A Trecal King, whom lost a brother to Boask raid, asked the Siur to launch as new Conquorina to purge the island of the Boask and to restore the Wulfian people's lands. The Siur Mountain King, Lugot Gray-stride, led a successful Conquorina against the infighting Boask, forcing them from the island. The Wulfian recolonized their own lands and gained half the Boask lands for themselves.
3rd Conquorina (2nd Age, 411)
During the reign of Mountain King Saris Lord-hammer, the Beast Isle saw a rise in mercenary work and tensions between the Fearus and Pinnis kingdoms, but it also saw the conversion of the Black Buroda to Shadow Worship. In a controversial move, Saris launched the third Conquorina by stabbing the Black Buroda king during a visit to the Siur kingdom. The 3rd Conquorina was against many 'undesirables', which included everything from dissenting intellectuals to vicious bandit tribes of the Fearus. Many races were banished from the island, and many cities burned. Temporarily, shadow worship was banned on the Beast Isle until Saris's death when it was allowed to come back once again. King Saris never saw the end of his Conquorina.
The Shadowtree Wars (2nd Age, 561)
A Otur Bolch name Simon Shadowtree, who's family were Shadow Worshippers, challenged the ruling of his Otur king whom demanded his conversion to the island's main religion. The Shadowtrees went into open rebellion, and during the war had gained allies amongst the Higvar whom gave them weapons and coin to support their efforts to break up the large Otur kingdom. The Shadowtree Bolch Kingdom was formed, but warred constantly with their rivals and consumed their territory in a matter of years in spite of support. These wars led to much of the northern territories coming under the control of Shadow Worshippers.
Age of Peace (2nd Age, 588)
After the Shadowtree wars, the Beast Isles would not see official war for almost a 100 years, where the kingdoms had no need to war with one another and tensions were few. This age saw the growth of cities, innovation, art, and influence. The Siur during this time made powerful pacts and alliances with it's various neighbors, and these pacts grew rapidly until much of the island was in one massive alliance. This began the earliest parts of the confederation, where the Siur ruled the political spectrum through sheer power and influence, and the confederation was born. While not by all means truly 'rulers' of the islands and their kingdoms, they have always remained the most powerful faction.
Lorgar's Rebellion (2nd Age, 600)
A short blip of war did occur during the age of peace known as Lorgar's Rebellion, in which the Siur heir Lorgar Light-born had been insulted by the king and had his family's lands and titles revoked and be given to a political rival. Lorgar and his family had moved in with the Otur Bolch King and instigated a rebellion amongst discontent Siur, the Otur, and the Trecal kingdoms against the Siur to place Lorgar on the throne. In a rage, the Siur king had met Lorgar on the field of battle, but had not shown, but instead had gone around the army and took the city, locking the king out and was pushed against the wall by a Trecal army, slaughtered at it's gates. Lorgar began a new, and far more centralized dynasty which began efforts to centralize the confederation and reduced corruption of feudal monarchy.
Current Events (2nd Age, 700)
The age of peace continues on with few issues, as the confederation continues a slow progress of becoming centralized under a Siur monarchy. The raids against them are becoming much harder by outside nations as the Confederation finds itself having massive population booms due to increased innovation and growth of major cities. Yet, the island remains incredibly poor due to both incompetent and luxurious rule by petty kings and tribal traditions.
The Beastfolk of the confederation often vary in appearance based on the kingdom they belong to, but the most common clothing is often very little at all. Since many of the commoners and peasants are poor, and lacking trade, a pair of pants or a large shirt is often passed down from generation to generation. It isn't uncommon that scratched up wool pants is all a Beastfolk peasant may wear throughout their lives, provided they make their own shirt or trade for one. Nobility however do not have these issues, and often the richer Beastfolk wear delicate and colorful cloths based on their races and kingdoms. Most Beastfolk nobles often wear their armor as common armor, since sometimes a minor nobleman may be as poor as their peasant counterparts.
Universally, the craftsmanship of all Beastfolk is considered a oddity as well as legendary. Buildings, armor, and weapons are all made with special care, a practice passed down from father to son carefully through the ages. The highest of these arts are shared between Wildar and Siur, whom are said to use powerful and even dark magics in crafting enchanted items through their emotion while forging in a trance like state, creating items of impeccable quality, known universally as Mountain Steel (or Ice Steel for Wildar). Cities and their styles often are dependent on the kingdoms themselves.
Law varies between kingdom to kingdom, but the laws are universally coded well enough for even commoners to recite. Local guard make sure that these laws stay in place. Higher crimes, such as murder or banditry, are often brought before either the local nobleman or a council of his advisers whom judge the accused based on witnesses, and a final verdict is placed. The most common punishment is time spent in the dungeons if no harm was done, but if death is involved, then it results in death through beheading. Siur and Wulf have much more brutal laws, in which even minor crimes can result in instant death of the accused. However, those whom pass death often are charged with personally carrying it out.
The rights of the Beastfolk are relatively free, in which even one whom is bound to the land have similar rights to freemen. Women have generally equal rights to men amongst the family, but are secondary when it comes to inheritance unless there are not male heirs. Non-Beastfolk may be distrusted, but they themselves are lawfully protected if they chose to live. Religion is tolerated very well in the Confederation, but threats of religious tensions is treated seriously and violently.
Phycology and Honor
The Beastfolk of the Beast Isle are a very honor driven people, and also a peaceful people. To them, war is something to be avoided. This however is not to say the Beastfolk do not respect war, and often will not flinch at it if it is the best option. Beastfolk have their own system of honor which dictates the lives of both commoner and noble, which demands for a honorable warrior to destroy injustice and to keep oaths they make, not matter what it may be. Beastfolk honor also dictates that kindness and humility are paramount, and that justice comes before mercy. Beastfolk often are very serious folk during tense confrontations, but also remain playful when in peace.
Beastfolk family is typically very close, as each tribe, clan, or village will often be made up of a couple of families. Due to often being so poor, 3rd and beyond children are often demanded when they reach a age of 16 to roam elsewhere away from the family if they do not provide a powerful boon to the family's finances. Beastfolk weddings and funeral rites can differ between races and religions. Burial is common on land and sea. Wedding are often done when both wife and husband make a vow of their love beneath a young oak. Noble customs share the universal understanding that one must make a oath of peace, and that any harm which befalls their stay as guests is placed on the host.
When it comes to feral mammals, the Beastfolk have mixed opinions. To most of the Beastfolk, a animal is a animal, not matter how similar they are. While keeping a fellow mammal as a pet is considered taboo, the killing and eating of them is not. Only certain races, like the Mould and Trecal, will not bring harm to such creatures. These creatures are often viewed in a way a man views a animal, except the Beastfolk often flinch a bit at them.
Abolition is a important part of the island's history and culture, as the resistance to slavery and the sale of fellow Beastfolk for any purpose is considered abominable and unholy. Often, the island's coasts are haunted by slavers and pirates whom view the poor state of the Beast Isle as a excuse to raid the villages for slaves and loot, which have made the folk on the Beast Isles vicious against those whom seek to put them in captivity. While never interested in slavery to begin with, the Beast Isles have bans on it and outright deny it's lawful existence.
Entertainment can differ between races of the Beastfolk, as one race will enjoy bloodsport while another will enjoy tavern life. The Beast Isles have more universal systems, such as a system of yearly carnivals which travel about the kingdoms and their towns to make a living entertaining the locals. A popular sport on the island is the Siur (and Wildar) tradition of pit fighting, in which two warriors in ranked matches duel it out in a fighting ring for glory and fame.
While the tastes in food can differ between races, there are common cultural ties due to life on the island. Due to many on the island being very poor, many commoners often have to find ways to provide food. The diet of the Beastfolk can range from berries to even cooked dandelions. Richer families will often have the most food, but common peasant families often have to scavenge the wilderness for decent meals, and thus the cuisine on the island is universally poor. Beastfolk universally make great cooks, provided they have the resources to cook.