The land known as Iostiadahl has not always been known as such. Its recorded history, while vast, is quite short. Such is the curse of an elven empire. a generation to an elf is a much longer time than that of mere humans and though 3,000 years have passed since it has overcome it’s brutal past, only 5 kings has sat upon its throne. Before the treaty known as the Caste Accords were founded, its borders were ravaged by civil war.
The elves here are unique to those of other countries. It is said that they are descended directly from arch fey of the Fey Wilds – a realm of faeries, magic, and beauty both lovely and terrible – to create an image of themselves to seed this world with their magic. Each arch fey was said to be the paragon of their creations, each with their own unique talents and views of the world. Seven arch fey begot the seven tribes of elves of their own creation who they marked with a color that would be passed from generation to generation. Keeping their children sequestered from each other seemed to be the only way to maintain the purity of their creations. Boundaries were drawn to keep them within their own tribes distinguished by the color within their eyes blessed by their particular arch fey.
For generations, the elves worshiped the arch fey as gods, but time would tell that the fey could not stay with their progeny; they were fading in this world without the magic of the Wilds to protect them. The returned to the Fey Wilds leaving the elves of their creation to war with each other, abandoned by their gods with no path to walk. This went on for many generations there after, leaving a bloody mistrust for each other. Eventually, knowledge of the arch fey faded from memory and stories of their doings were simply the doings of their own world. To them nature and magic were one and the same.
As time went on, so too did the meager skirmishes between clans, increasing in violence with each year. Eventually, one of the clans decided to leave before they were wiped out entirely. Where they went, no one knows. Some say they were scattered, some think they went into the mountains; their black eyes were never seen again there after.
However, a new threat from the north sought to destroy them; the genasi of Cerisan. A large battle between the elves left the eastern most tribe vulnerable and the genasi saw this as an opportunity to stake their claim there but the ferocity of the clan bearing their eyes of red were not to be underestimated. They laid waste to the entire battalion; 300 strong against a mere 100 elves. A meeting of clan leaders was called then by the head of that clan, Elavos Zima, to tell the tale of the beings made of fire, water, cloud, and earth. They looked upon each other then and saw in them friend, not foe. Not only did Elavos give them a common enemy, he gave them an opportunity to speak as one, as a race, rather than tribes with borders.
Tribal borders were erased and families were sent to evenly distribute control across the cities of the land. Tribes with smaller populations were put in positions of power at the cost of their own lands, those with red eyes were placed in leadership positions and those with orange hued eyes were placed in a position to assist them. Those whose eyes were colored violet were made to be couriers and merchants, having a more substantial population to do so but not so many to create an over abundance. This was similarly done whit those whose eyes were grey in color, they were predisposed as creators and so were allowed to do so under the caste system as their population was similar to those of violet. The largest populations, those with eyes of blue and green were put in positions of greatest need. Green were given the jobs of heavy labor, building, farming, logging, and the like. Blue, the largest population by far, were most important; they were the shop keepers, maids, caretakers, nurses, gardeners, sailors, warriors and so much more. All had their roles and in doing so were able to protect their borders with no fear of losing to the genasi that threatened them.
The land was then named Iostiadahl, an ancient sylvan word for the concept of togetherness, and it flourished. The threat of the genasi were never too much for them to handle and for a 1,500 years established themselves separate from the rest of the known world.
Eventually allies came from the east from a land known as Castini. In a similar place as Iostiadahl had been in their early time with each city a state of its own, with is own king or lord. They offered aid in exchange for a chance to trade with their elven neighbors often fighting over trade routes into the country. Their people flooded into the country then, little by little, as very few had been permitted into the country in its early years, and even still are policed with much scrutiny from the Zimean Military. This unfortunate mistrust of outsiders has regrettably caused an issue with racism and a general difficulty in making a life here without considerable harassment. And while this conflict of character has relaxed over the few generations that have passed, there are still a few traditionalists that refuse to open their minds to the possibilities that come with a more diverse population.
While there has been an absence of crime within its borders, the coming of outsiders has caused an increase in this and uncertainty within the military and government of how to handle such situations has marked their intolerance of such things as slightly barbaric. Several situations have left offenders deformed or scarred, murder is a capital punishment, executions are immediate and handled very publicly, very seldom are offenders imprisoned and outsiders are removed from the country forcibly for minor crimes. There have been strides made in it’s direction and infrastructure has been developed to civilize their practices of crime control but it is still not often that crime is committed here.
Within the last 500 years a new kind of visitor has crossed the shores of Iostiadahl. Across the sea in Phuila, rages a war involving the goliaths of the tropical eastern shores of the massive continent. Their ancestral lands are threatened by progress and their resolve to protect them broken, many tribes decided to make a new home for themselves. Several braved the sea voyage needed to cross into the neighboring shores, some were lost never to be heard from again.
When they arrived, many viewed them as invaders and brutes but they were welcomed with open arms by Vihkarin Zima, 4th King of Iostiadahl. He saw them as a possibility of additional protection by simply allowing them to wander the borders of the land as they had done for thousands of years in Phuila. He welcomed them at a vast banquet set up where they landed on the western shore between the town of Cirrane and the city of Kradema where the king and the tribe leaders signed an agreement that he would allow them to live in their tribal groups and live in Iostiadahl as they would have in Phuila in exchange for their agreement that if they were to come across genasi insurgents or any wishing to harm the citizens of Iostiadahl that they would in turn offer protection to the land they now called home. With that agreement, the goliaths split themselves into five main tribes and made settlements in areas of the land they felt would benifit from their presence and would, in their traditional fashion, migrate in those general areas from year to year. As their population grew, family groupings would break off from the main tribe and wander the lands as the greater tribes would making a vast web of protection in the mountains and forests of the land.
For six generations this has been a symbiotic relationship between Iodtiadahl and their adopted protectors but they are still viewed with fear and skepticism even though there has been less than a handful of instances between their people that were cause for worry. Many of the goliath long for home and miss their vast hunting grounds as Phuila is a much larger land than Iostiadahl, but they have settled back into their customs and have never ceased in their duties to those who gave them a home.
And now in the present, Starik Zima, 5th King of Iostiadahl has been crowned by his father and the council made up of appointed members of the five other castes, seeks to reign in his father’s way. His father, Vihkarin, reigned with openness and acceptance, kindness and charity, virtues he sees as valuable in a leader. His greatest desire, to stop the hostilities with Cerisan once and for all. As the youngest king to be crowned there is a heavy expectation on his shoulders, but he would do anything for his people and hopes to continue the legacy of his father and all that came before him.
A special thank you to Inkarnate for the use of their mapping program. Visit their website to make maps for your own adventures.