|The Realms Represented by the Hexarchy of the Cities of Marduk, Enkidu, Azul'an, Kobol, Abyd'os, Astaroth, and Smedburg|
|Motto: The Gods Are Our Strength|
|17.0.0 to current|
17.5.2 (most recent change)
six administrative capitals on a rotating basis
|Largest city||Enkidu, Eridu|
|Official language(s)||Standard (official gov't language)|
16 recognized regional languages
Native folk religions
|Government||Executive, Federal Monarchy supported by legislative oligarchy|
|- Praetor||Gilgamesh II|
|- Executive Director of the Senate||Prince Imarru, Lord of Arumen|
|Establishment||Lone Moon, 1685 AN|
Wolf Moon, 1690 AN (current gov't)
|Population||45,672,814 (1705 AN)|
|National animal||Adrestian Eagle|
|National drink||Green Tea|
|National tree||Lemon tree|
The Hexarchy, also commonly referred to as by its regional (or even local) names by specific outsiders, was, until 1705 AN formally known as The Realms Represented by the Hexarchy of Eridu, Suza, Karnak, Pyrax, and Elam & the Eventide Islands. However, even this name was constantly in flux due to the ever-evolving internal situation, until the government of Praetor Gilgamesh II passed legislation that formalized the official name to The Realms Represented by the Hexarchy of the Cities of Marduk, Enkidu, Azul'an, Kobol, Abyd'os, Astaroth, and Smedburg to reflect the status of regional rulers and members of the Council of Six casting votes out of these respective cities, instead of on behalf of regional capitals. Even after this change, the country continues to simply name itself after its original, executive-style government of six people, most of whom represent various major territories and/or peoples: The Council of Six (now lead by a Praetor).
In short, The Hexarchy sees itself as both a collective of governments and as a single unified sovereign state, and the latter has been increasingly true since the ascension of Praetor Gilgamesh II in the year 1690 AN. Still, when any educated citizen is asked "The Hexarchy of what?" the usual response is not a name, but rather a fairly verbose description of the country's status on north-west Keltia. Since the 1700's AN, the country has shifted to a strong federation led by those six powerful leaders forming a senate of sorts, with a larger assembly representing nobility and demagogues from elsewhere in the country, in a bid to retain representation as the country's population continues to balloon during an age of territorial expansion, modernization, abnormally high fertility rates, and resulting prosperity on an unprecedented scale.
Officially recognized in 1685 AN, the country first gained its independence as a loose federation of six disparate territories and other unified groups of nomadic tribes in 1686 in the wake of the Ralgon Civil War, particularly as a result of the events following the aftermath of that conflict. The country's disparate constituencies have, during most of its history, ruled themselves almost entirely under their own internal laws until the later end of the 1680's. However, this ideology has slowly given way to a more unified economy, military, and government since Gilgamesh I, took office as the country's first equivalent of a singular head of state (known as the Praetor). The country's proto-representative central government continued to take shape under the current, aging Praetor Gilgamesh II from the 1690's.
Following the first Praetor's death in battle during late 1690 AN during the epic Battle of the Behemoth, the country's now-antiquated force of dragons were decimated during a massive and costly rescue expedition deep into their outlying frontier in an effort to save the now-executive capital city of Marduk from a potential attack by a vast, powerful creature of the same name. This gave way towards a strongly reform-minded ruler Gilgamesh II. The military continues to modernize in a need to support the country's territorial integrity in conflicts such as the Dark Berry Islands Civil War and its own scattered efforts to control the unusually violent wildlife the country is known for.
It was under Gilgamesh II's leadership that the country began to expand rapidly beyond its traditional borders, encountering the civilization of Karnak, filled with remnant peoples from the former Karnali of old as well as an entirely new group of natives never encountered before by the government. Another important addition to the country was the eastern half of the vast, unpopulated Empty Quarter that stretched from the country's very interior all the way into the far West, where Karnak's far eastern borders were situated. The same region is bisected by a highway running north to south, separating Hexarchian territory from the wilds beyond. The completion of vital roadways and securing territory beyond the Red Sea after the fall of Liberty paved the way for rapid exploration to the far north, where native dragon riders were unable to reach due to the cold experienced in the far north of the continent. Due to the country's modernization efforts, new Hexarchian vehicles were able to penetrate to the far north, where they encountered the people of Lyssterer, which quickly developed a trade-based relationship with their people. Integrating the strange people of the ice-bound north proved difficult due to stark differences in technology and culture, so a special relationship similar to Karnak was set up that gave significant freedom to the northerners to do as they will under a loose confederation with the central government.
The construction of the Pan-Keltian Highway and other notable roadways served to pacify the Hexarchy's most remote frontiers, and connect the entire country together with these new, exotic regions with the rest of the world, and further integrate them into this rapidly expanding country. With the vast majority of its most dangerous neighboring territories now either in check or fully under control, the country has entered an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity that will allow them to keep growing in the future. In the hard-won period of peace and prosperity the country experienced during the late 1690's AN, the country's core territories underwent a massive construction boom due to this and many other modernization efforts, with population growth exploding across the board thanks to an impressive fertility rate and excellent childcare programs throughout the country's developed regions. With the rapid expansion to the deep frontiers of western and northern Keltia, the country finally realized a long-south national goal in its expansion efforts westwards. With the country finally having access to the seas of the Strait of Pearls, the country's trade saw a rapid increase in resources. This served to prevent over-extension of its vital resources, including the military and its now-massive civil service programs -- something the country could use as it integrated new, relatively unstable lands to the west after the Dark Berry Islands civil war and reached far to the north to connect with their Lysstyrer partners in late 1706 AN.
The country entered into a period of quiet into the 1710's AN, with the only noteworthy event of international importance being the resolution of a boundary dispute with Hurmu. The government spent the next decade as well stabilizing the country's vast frontier holdings, attempting to colonize the vast, empty plains with settlers to the southwest near the Empty Quarter and northeast near Suza. Efforts to focus on the Far North in Keltia's interior (outside of Lysstyrer) did not come to pass until the 1720's, when new powers provided unprecedented trading opportunities when they settled areas along the Arctic coastline otherwise entirely deserted for decades. Additionally, the colonization of the Great Sandy Desert (or, rather, its takeover by buying out the leaders of its major settlements) opened secure ways for the Hexarchy to establish commerce more directly between its inner regions and the still-remote western coastal settlements.
Demographically, the nation is a union of peoples from a variety of backgrounds. Some were dependencies of the Holy Ralgon Empire, others were established by Ralgonese citizens that dissented with the central government, some were native states that joined them in rebellion that led to the country's independence, or otherwise ancient lands that more recently joined this increasingly tight union of disparate constituent countries. The most prominent of these are represented in the country's principle legislative organ by a so-called "Hexarch," who sits on the Council of Six, which the country derives its name from. Although the name implies the country only possesses six such divisions, this is purely nominal after 1690, when new regions with autonomous rights joined the growing nation, the latest being the mostly-desert nation of Karnak. These are lead by the current Praetor, Gilgamesh II, about whom rumors of his impending retirement began to circulate since the beginning of the mid-1720's AN due to his advancing age (turning 70 in 1725 AN). His heir-presumptive is Sargon Azulpolassar, his internationally educated third son.
Well until the 1690's, the country had an extremely poor reputation abroad for being openly "infested" by wild dragons of similar species as those endemic to the Ralgon homeland, the same which have been tamed in great part by the natives and brought to the Realms of Pyrax to protect the population. Incidentally, that area is one of the country's last remaining nature preserves for domesticated dragons, with The Empty Quarter largely sealed off to preserve the vast forest habitat to the east, with the vast western deserts providing a natural western and southern edge, with the scrublands reaching all the way to central Karnak and as far as parts of the unstable territory near the Dark Berry Islands separatist regions. The mostly autonomous Dromosker Island colony (otherwised named Imarru-Lugal) also contains small nature reserves, with several ranges with de-domesticated dragons present to control the more unruly (and sometimes cannibalistic) elements of the native population there.
During the infancy of The Hexarchy, the Eventide Islands were the only real economic hub within the country. Despite the small land area and a highly concentrated population, the Islands imported and export various treasures in exchange for food from the north and luxuries from around the world. Since the rise of The Hexarchy as a regional economic power, very large cities such as Enkidu in the Realm of Eridu and Ashtaroth in the Realm of Asshyria have risen as major economic centers on the coast of mainland Keltia, and the capital city of Marduk is a rapidly rising economic center due to its favorable location at the only land-navigable entrance to the Red Sea. With the rise of these major cities, as well as the existence of Kunapura as a trading hub, the Eventides have effectively repurposed themselves into a more regionally minded trading hub, with the Pan-Keltian Highway turning it into a major destination. The Eventides and Elam regions remains one of the financial hubs of the country, helping preserving their very international outlook (remaining highly popular with wealthy expatriates and investors).
The country is also well-known for its widely varying cultures. Much of the deep interior is undeveloped, and areas far from the coastlines and country's many navigable rivers belong in great part to the natives and tribes from the Green that recently joined the Realms. The natives themselves have adapted to their new open space and independence, and found the Twin Isles' mountainous terrain and vast open water to their liking. However, their economy is still primitive compared to the coasts, and there are few exports from native lands outside of food, exotic goods, and textiles. In Karnak, however, a major steel and metal processing industry has developed, and a recent gold rush in East Bank Territory has sped up development of the Hexarchian portion of the Pan-Keltian Highway. The country's population densities are also heavily skewed along their major waterways in most regions, with these being some of the most agriculturally fertile areas on Micras. Areas with more even distribution are generally the exception, with the only non-tundra, non-desert region with relatively even-handed population densities being Suza.
Incidentally, this close mix of such wildly varying cultures, religions, and political systems within the same country has earned the country a reputation of being an extremely confusing place to visit. As such, most tourists don't bother venturing far from the coastline metropolises, the major highways, or the country's major cities, despite the vast amount of environmental wonders to see there, and the sometimes-friendly-sometimes-not natives, who are colorfully dressed most of the time... and others not at all. Due to the general "insanity" going on there (as one prominent Ralgon diplomat to the nation put it during the 1690's), its vast tracts of uninhabited territory, the highly dangerous fauna living on its nature preserves, and the role its awkward neutrality plays in world affairs remains a topic of fierce (although sometimes amusing) debate among Micrasian international affairs experts.
National Name & Related Institutions
In the common vernacular, "The Hexarchy" is a simplified national demonym that translates from an older language akin to Latin. Literally, the name translates to "Rule of Six," which was the country's most basic form of government for much of its history. Similarly, the Hexarchy also signifies the status of the founding, so-called "Six Nations" that consist of Ralgonese, Azulites (themselves including the Arumane and Pyraxi peoples), Suzites, Eridians, Nippuri, and Asshyrians. Later, with the shifting balance of power in the country, these six powerful factions shifted to the Eridians and Ralgonese to the south, Suzites and Azulites to the north and northwest, and the Karnakians and Asshyrians to the south and southwest. Lysstyrer joined the Six Nations in the early 1700's AN, while the Nippuri's geopolitical role was gradually reduced over time to little more than anchoring Hexarchian sovereign territory on Keltia's northwest coast.
The name "Hexarchy" being used for the country's diverse, collective nationalities grew to be outdated due to the addition of other powerful factions, and the rise of the country's Praetorship to that akin to a strong monarch elsewhere on Micras. Nonetheless, the government still used the Council of Six as the highest mode of government (albeit led by a Praetor), preserving the country's old style of leadership -- at least, in name. Instead of national representatives, however, the Council has grown to, simply, represent the six most powerful aristocratic families in the country, rather than the polities those families represent. While a name change to "The United States of Keltia" has been proposed, the idea effectively died in infancy due to an aversion to changing the name for a country that fought as hard as it did to simultaneously maintain its internal diversity and outward unity, without the help of foreign powers.
The Hexarchy is known for its wide variety of polytheistic religions. In choosing a national motto for coinage and printing in its currency, the core focus was advertising a dual existence of national diversity with a sense of unity, especially with recent expansions throwing the question of national cohesion into some doubt. The religious motto "The Gods Are Our Strength" was specially chosen to serve the very large community of polytheists that make up the majority population of most territories of the Hexarchy (with the notable exception of Lysstyrer, being of atheist plurality).
Coat of Arms
Largely unique among the nations of Micras, The Hexarchy lacks its own coat of arms. Instead, various tribal and regional emblems serve at the local level in place of such symbols. Nationally, the flag is used in place of other emblems, due to the possibility of a single emblem causing disharmony within the country.
The Hexarchy is a sovereign country located on the western end of the Keltian continent, with its population centers situation on or near its major coastlines and rivers. The nation's political geography is dominated by the Great River in the country's southeast and its two branches, the Red River to the northwest, and White River to the northeast. The country grew along these rivers, and then along the southern coast of western Keltia. Trade by water dominates the region, and the Pan-Keltian Highway generally follows these water-based arteries on land, with only a few notable exceptions (such as cutting through the Empty Quarter or through the interior of Suza and its eponymous capital city).
The Hexarchy shares borders with few other nations on Micras. The country shares a land border only with Kunapura, although this borders a particularly dangerous coastal stretch of the Empty Quarter, a vast forest filled with gigantic coniferous trees and ferns, as well as colossal kaiju of various sorts. As the vast, unpopulated forest is a nature preserve (currently the largest on Micras), trade is not permitted over land until a branch of the Pan-Keltian Highway addresses the issue. Additionally, no contact has been made with the small country, with the government of the Hexarchy choosing to ignore its small, relatively inert status on its outermost fringes.
Aside from the waters near Dromosker Island, the nation shares the majority of its immediate maritime borders with Nouvelle Alexandrie, which it has a comprehensive cooperation treaty with, and the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union, which has territory not far from the coast of New South Caputia.
The Hexarchy is a large, incredibly diverse nation filled with a near-countless host of cultures, most of which seem to vaguely resemble ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and others on Planet Earth. The nation consists of about a dozen top-level divisions grouped into the following order of precedence: Realms, Outer Realms, or Territories.
The Realms are those areas to which this relatively large and recently stabilized country owe its ever-changing name. Aside from the unpopulated Empty Quarter (which is, in fact, the largest nature preserve on Micras) the Realms are those areas which constitute the largest areas or populations in the country. The sole exception in the way of size is the island territory of the Realm of Elam & The Eventide Islands, which constitutes a near-negligible territory compared with the rest of the country.
Currently, the Realms of the country are Arumen and Pyrax (both in the north), Suza to the northeast, Eridu in the country's southern interior, Elam & The Eventide Islands (situated entirely on the Great River), and Karnak (far to the southwest beyond the Empty Quarter). The Outer Realms officially consist of only New South Caputia off the mainland's southeastern coast and the faraway Dromosker Island, although other areas tentatively qualify in this description. Territories consist of the East Bank Territory (east of the Great River) and the Empty Quarter, as well as the self-governing area of New Zalae.
Four fully self-governing polities exist in the Hexarchy. These regions have various rights not given to other areas in the country, to include self-contained visa schemes, as well as ability to make local laws and regulate commerce in a way that the much larger Realms usually do not have available to them. All of these Autonomous regions have small territorial extents, giving each its own unique set of reasons to operate independently of their respective surrounding polities (with the exception of Dromosker Island, with its sheer remoteness from its mother country).
The oldest of these autonomous regions is Dromosker Island, also known as Askerr Island, since 1689 AN. They are the only overseas colony the country holds, and the area is fully autonomous in all but name, even being granted the right to regulate its own visa policy (within limits) in 1722 AN.
The second is New Zalae, itself rebuilt in 1690 on and near the former capital of Caputia, revitalizing itself as one of the old (and new) religious centers of the Melusinian Faith. The city regulates its own economic and visa scheme due to its religious significance to the Caputian and Alexandrian diasporas, by virtue of its land being a gift to the people by the Praetor at the time. This very status turned the city into a regional economic hub in its own right. This only increased as the north-facing branch of the Pan-Keltian Highway passed through it. This dual status as a religious and economic hub drew others to the place. Its high degree of religious freedom and entirely democratic self-rule attracted religious, professional, and academic talent rapidly. The city quickly became a melting pot of race, religion, and entrepreneurship within a few short years of these major developments.
The third is Kunapura, which kept its autonomy and ability to regulate internal visa schemes (within limits) after formally joining the Hexarchy in 1697. The city maintains its own national football team, operates an independent visa policy, and even maintains a limited set of its own foreign affairs (limited to economic measures only, however).
The fourth, and most recently designated region, is the Port and City of Ashtaroth. While the oldest existing of these regions on paper, the area only recently separated from Asshyria. This separation was made official in 1720 AN, after a hefty fee for territory was paid by a combination of the central government and the city's own engorged coffers. One of the largest cities in the country, Ashtaroth is by far the biggest port in the Hexarchy, with most international trade flowing through it. It also remains Ashtaroth maintains an economic and political rivalry with Kunapura (highly modernized in its own right, but with the constraint of a much smaller available territory). However, this rivalry
The Empty Quarter
The Hexarchy has arguably the world's largest nature preserve in terms of unbroken, contiguous land area. This is the Empty Quarter, a vast land characterized by its unbroken, vast carboniferous forest consisting of densely packed coniferous trees of truly colossal size. The current area's fauna are characterized by equally massive (predominantly herbivorous) reptilian creatures akin to the dinosaurs that used to be on planet Earth millions of years ago. Its carnivores and other types of massive megafauna are known as kaiju, which share distinct characteristics not shared by dinosaurs. Generally docile, these kaiju ignore humans and prefer much, much larger prey items.
The most famous of the kaiju inhabiting the Empty Quarter is known as the Behemoth. Although it is generally a docile creature towards humans, when provoked it is still the most dangerous living creature in the country, if not the world. The Behemoth is the region's single apex predator, and due to their epic size their numbers are very few. With power rivaling that of many armed countries into and of itself, these vast creatures inhabit the deepest reaches of the Empty Quarter's vast, humid forests, which is one of the only locations on Micras where food is sustainably plentiful. The highly costly Battle of the Behemoth was triggered when one was provoked by a large creature, although it is unknown whether it was wild or a native's mount that angered the beast against humans.
The very few natives and nomads from Pyrax aside, the interior of the Empty Quarter has a permanent population of zero, and very strict laws regarding outside travel into and through the region ensures extremely low population densities outside of Midway and other fringe areas of the Forest. The Empty Quarter is the second-largest contiguous region in the country (after the icebound Lysstyrer) and borders the native-majority region of Pyrax to the north, whose inhabitants use the area to hunt off the backs of their traditional dragon mounts. The western border gives way to a narrow mountain range (forming the basis of its highway and the city of Midway), beyond which lays the Great Sandy Desert. The fertile region of Eridu lies to the east, with elevated terrain forming a barrier region between it and Ereshkigal Forest, a dangerous place in its own right. Nature preserve laws in the Forest's interior are some of the harshest on Micras, to avoid disturbing and provoking the otherwise docile fauna to wrath. Deep in the interior, permanent structures of any kind are progressively strictly regulated, and violators are very severely punished. The only area within the region that permits large-scale construction outside the Pan-Keltian Highway at the fringes is the town of Midway.
Not only is unescorted travel through the forest forbidden, but there is a permanent no-fly zone also covering most of the forest's interior. This was permanently enacted after 1700 AN to avoid provoking the powerful creatures inhabiting the deepest parts of the forest. A stray Behemoth is always an immediate national security issue of the highest importance. Despite a desire to preserve the vast, pristine habitat, these creatures are incredibly destructive when going on a rampage, usually due to fighting another of their kind, or from direct provocation with a strong enough weapon. An enraged Behemoth of unusually enormous size was the direct cause of the Battle of the Behemoth in 1690 AN, a historically momentous event where Praetor Gilgamesh I sacrificed both himself and the majority of the country's military-raised dragons in an effort to stop it from completely destroying the capital and surrounding regions in a search for food and for the creature that attacked it. (Subsequent investigations into the exact cause of its provocations were inconclusive.)
After the region's formal annexation in 1695 AN, the entire region was swiftly declared a national wildlife preserve by Praetor Gilgamesh II, out of concern that provoking the forest's inhabitants could lead to needless, untold destruction of scientifically unusual creatures. Should one of its largest inhabitants escape, efforts are focused on elimination rather than relocation due to their sheer size rendering both tranquilization and transportation statistically impossible with current technology. Should another Behemoth escape, it still poses a danger to national security due to its power and size. As such, Sargon Azulpolassar led efforts to purchase satellite systems to carefully monitor activity in the region and destroy potential terrorists possessing powerful enough equipment to enrage another of these incredibly rare creatures.
Ereshkigal Forest is the country's second largest nature preserve, although its size is still completely dwarfed several times over by the Empty Quarter. What this jungle lacks in sheer size, it makes up for in the sheer number of dangerous creatures that inhabit it. Once the dumping ground of dangerous creatures such as the Jingdaoese valleytiger (and many others), the dense jungle developed and adapted an incredibly savage ecosystem on its own. From ultra-savage species of monkey to exotic species of snake, every centimeter of the entire region is covered with something that has the potential to kill a person. It is for this very reason that the forest is named for the goddess of death (in the nation's eastern folk religion).
Known also as the Forest of Death (partly also due to the above) it is also the common site of executions ad saltu (death by jungle). Since killing anyone directly even as a judicial punishment is strictly outlawed in the country, persons are instead given a chance to make it to the other side of the forest and find freedom. Most don't make it the first twelve feet before something has started hunting them, biting them with deadly venom, or infesting them with parasites. (One species of giant, near-flightless wasp from Ralgon is particularly infamous for this.) The current record is some three miles, set in 1691 AN by a man otherwise sentenced to life for violent crimes. He was sent in armed with only a machete (as is custom) and stuck exclusively to the trees... before a rabid monkey attacked him and fatally infected him with disease while he was attempting to navigate the dense press of jungle trees.
Because of these reasons and many others, the forest is walled and guarded in numerous places day and night without ceasing. Considered a sacred place, destruction of the Forest would be unconscionable. Additionally, its sheer savagery is a matter of national scientific curiosity, prompting successful calls for its preservation and cultivation... to include releasing additional species in there in an attempt to see what adaptations predators make in such extreme circumstances. Entry is strictly forbidden to all but those suicidal enough to attempt to cross it... and most likely die before they've the chance to change their mind and come back for a very thorough decontamination.
The Great Sandy Desert
Located in the northern reaches of Karnak, the sandy desert formed a hard natural border for most of the Hexarchy's existence as an independent nation. Almost nothing is noteworthy about this sandy desert, save for its famous aridity and buried secrets. The desert thins near West Karnak before turning into more temperate terrain near the coastlines. Scientists suspect that the massive forests of the Empty Quarter have something to do with this, as the limited satellite images show the desert interrupted only by the same massive system of rivers that characterize the rest of the country. However, they lack access due to treacherous terrain and remnant bandits leftover from the Dark Berry Islands civil war. (Those bandits were, themselves, driven out from West Karnak by the country's armed forces, having more than recovered by then from the massively damaging Battle of the Behemoth 30 years prior). Until cartographers and naturalists can better survey and map the area, the cause of this paradoxical relationship between the vast dune sea and the wide rivers flowing through this desert remain a subject of speculation and intense debate.
By the opening decades of the 1700's AN, the government of the Hexarchy had become strong enough to assert its sovereignty over the vast, completely empty desert. Used only by the natives, the vast region's shifting sandy dunes were hostile to human settlement. With few navigable rivers and even fewer strategic features, the Pschent in Karnak had almost no use for the region except as a vast buffer between Karnak and other regions in the far west of Keltia. This changed over time due to instability creeping closer to Karnak's west and north, and with the modernization of the Hexarchy greatly strengthening the state over the prior 30 years of heavy investment. By 1725 AN, sovereignty (if in name only) had been asserted over a large portion of the Great Sandy Desert to the north of Karnak and West Karnak in a bid to prevent unstable elements from the Green from reaching the rich lands of Karnak. Much of the desert remained as a de facto nature preserve due to a lack of public desire for investment.
The Hexarchy is, in reality, a federation originally consisting of six major socio-political divisions known as Realms. Until the late 1680's AN, these Realms were, in turn, organized into separate, larger blocs of allied (and increasingly unified) constituencies, among those being Pyrax, Eridu, and the Eventide Islands. Along with government originally representing exactly six core constituencies, these larger blocs are where the country takes its official name from. These constituencies frequently united to place a singular member onto the Council, until the federated government outgrew the ability to place only six members on the Council after this fashion. Thus, the country's unique and often-changing name followed a this format instead of the government-place naming convention that most other nations employ.
It was after this point in 1692 AN that the Praetor Gilgamesh II successfully "encouraged" the Council (according to official sources) to reform itself according to republican principles. That is, the six Council members would be voted in once per annum by the most senior rulers in the country, be they nobles or, in very rare cases, democratically elected. With this major reform, the government began similar reforms that were completed by 1696 AN, especially after the introduction of Karnak and other large (but sparsely inhabited) territories into the greater country. While a plethora of cultural groups in the nation have led to a variety of regional governments in the nation, the central government has become more solidified in recent years due to a prolonged period of peace following the Battle of the Behemoth in 1690 AN (with exceptions of minor involvement in the Second Elwynnese Civil War).
Currently, the Praetor is, compared to other equivalents on Micras, the head of state of the country. While nominally only being the head of the Council, the second Praetor, Gilgamesh II, increasingly centralized the post and eventually made it separate from the rest of the government by 1710 AN. By 1720, the office of the Praetor was a standalone institution with its own staff, whose holder, while still President of the Council, was no longer a part of it. The Praetor by now could select members of a Cabinet, although only with approval from the Council. 1722 saw the new President of the Hexarchy be elected by the Council in a bid to claw back some power for itself, although the Praetor strongarmed the right to select members of the Cabinet with approval of the President, which in turn served at the Council's pleasure. Thus, while the Praetor was no longer head of government, he still maintained a great deal of power over it by way of decree and powers of veto and judiciary, as the Council (in a short-sighted move) gave the Praetor the role of head of the country's military and judiciary (as de facto head of the court system) as a compromise for retaking the management of the government's higher-level divisions during the 1720 political agreements in the country's government, non-noble upper classes, commoner representatives, and much of its aristocracy.
The Council of Six
The current central government is run by a high council also originally termed "the Hexarchy." This council, more commonly known as the Council of Six, or to skeptics of the old model as the High Council, consists of six of the senior-most rulers of the country. Aside from serving as the country's legislative arm, it also serves as both a point of appeal. Additionally, it serves as an executive arm of the country's nobility (until 1720, including the Praetor) for top-down decision-making when the Council collectively sees little need for legislation by way of regional convention on a given issue. While not technically existing as a legislative body, the Council still retained the power to pass actions and various laws by collective decree (subject to Praetorian veto).
The Council also, on occasion, acts as a go-between for the courts and the executive government on cementing rules and laws passed by the Council (and, recently, the House of Representatives). The Council held this power exclusively until 1720, as the House of Representatives was instituted that year with provisional delegates as part of that year's political compromises, with a snap election bringing in a fresh cohort by 1722. Backed by the Praetor, it was an attempt to erode the Council members' personal and collective powers as the then-current Praetor lost his sole prerogative in choosing Cabinet members and other executives late in his reign.
The prior 1700 AN election among the country's elite (including regional leaders and nobility) resulted in the following: One from Eridu, one from Karnak, one from the Eventide Islands' territories, one from Pyrax (and the Empty Quarter), and one from Dromosker Island following the final conclusion of the Askerr War several years prior. The 1710 Selections saw the ouster of Pyrax's delegate and the introduction of Lysstyrer's delegate instead.
The 1720 Council consists of one representative each from: Eridu, Karnak, the Eventide Isles & Elam, Ashtaroth, Lysstyrer, and Suza. Given the relative lack of geographical representation the Council represented, the House of Representatives was instituted to represent the population, ensuring the country at-large could participate in the Hexarchy's major decisions (and curtail the Council's disproportionate power leading up to its formation).
After the 1720 reformations, it was decided to keep to 10-year terms, with the understanding that future Praetors would serve between these Council terms themselves. Additionally, it was decided that Council members, while able to derive income from their own investments and properties, could not hold employment in any organization or be paid for any service while in office, to restrict possible eligibility to the richer members of the country's elite. However, the questions of selection (outside of self-administered "elections") was never addressed fully, with the matter punted to the 1730 term.
The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is (ostensibly) the primary legislative body in the Hexarchy. Formed in 1720, it consists of 500 members: 400 are elected by proportional party representation, and the other 100 are appointed by the governments of each Realm, Territory, and Autonomous Region, according to their respective populations. The body's party seats are elected once every two years, and the provincial seats are filled once every five years. All members are paid the same salary, set to three times the per capita national income or twice the median income, whichever is lesser. Exceptions include the Speaker and Deputy Speakers (themselves major party leaders), who are paid at 50% and 25% above that rate.
The history of the Hexarchy is a brief one, thus far. The nation is a truly odd amalgamation of natives from Ralgon, natives from the wilds of Keltia, colonists from Adrestia, their sympathizers, and refugees from Ralgon that preferred life in Keltia over the dragons wrecking everything else in their homeland, or even over the Adrestian government that was much closer to home. The country as-is was initially formed by necessity in the wake of the Ralgon Civil War. Driven by survival, several disparate groups banded together to maintain independence and repel hostile elements before declaring independence in 1686 AN.
The islands' collective government and people came together organically. The natives saw a way out of Ralgon as the military began closing the coasts against dragon incursions from the interior. The natives, having domesticated many of those same dragons, flew them in stages from Ralgon all the way to Keltia before anyone could do much to counter the bizarre sight of masses of people moving all their things across the ocean on the backs of giant flying lizards. The clandestine help of the Adrestian government via stopovers on The Green areas in Corum and the islands off Keltia helped secure the final push these people needed to complete the long journey to freedom.
It wasn't long after they blazed this trail that their sympathizers began to follow, along with opportunist colonists from the rich country of Adrestia, still nominally a part of the Holy Ralgon Empire. The earliest signs of a unified coalition government between the natives and the hodge podge of colonists was seen in Kobol, located in what is now the Eventide Islands. Further joint settlements between those natives who weren't into their dragon "pets" (as they were derisively called by the Ralgon home government) and the colonials resulted in a city-state halfway up the interior Keltian straits. The resulting settlement developed into a city-state that was ill-inclined to overexert itself on farming the vast lands around it, instead being content to live off the megafauna living in the oceans around it. (With the people being used to the megafauna living in the Great Swamp on Drag'os, this was effectively nothing a familiar-looking source of food for the entire city.)
Although these waters were initially difficult to navigate by water, the dragon-riding natives were all too happy to settle the large islands to the north and let their dragons roam the wide waters and vast lands in the wilderness surrounding this country. With the natives eventually settling themselves on the islands and using the vast green areas to let their dragons roam and feed as they pleased, the "Dragon Question" for those inhabitants to the south was answered with relative ease. While defensive installations were still being constructed throughout the country to prevent the Ralgons from attempting to forcibly take possession of the colonies, the massive dragons (some being the legendary elder dragons somehow also coaxed to these lands by the natives) provided a convenient means of defense for the sparsely populated north lands, and a shield that covered the backs of the very densely populated south.
The islands and coastal grasslands were quickly settled by the colonials, who preferred using mass agriculture to sustain the rapidly growing population on the naturally defensible Eventide Islands themselves. The city of Kobol, which sprung up from those islands, rapidly became the economic capital of the emerging country, and a unified Council system of government eventually solidified after a long series of talks and agreements between the natives, the colonials, and those living in the increasingly crowded city-state of Elam -- itself located on an island.
In the wake of independence from both Adrestia and Ralgon, the collective Realms of the Hexarchy continued to remain in a state of flux in regards to regional importance. The Realms of Suza and Arumen (both within Pyrax) maintained a closer bond than ever and, despite their divergence in early 1688, continued to maintain a close friendship. After the split and with each Realm expanding rapidly, Suza relocated their capital to a vast fortress inland built on a ruined city overlooking a vast plain, Elam continues to expand well beyond its original island city, and has increasingly looked to its neighbors to aid in governing regions it is simply unable to control on its own. As for the Realms of Eventide, they have not fared as well. Nonetheless, the respective divisions of the country have, individually, remained stable. While all six Realms (Suza, Arumen, Eridu, Kobol, Nippur, and Elam) are politically stable, some are in flux.
Relocation of Nippur
The settlement of Nippur, located near Elam on the west and south banks of the Great River and Red Rivers (respectively), never took off in terms of a centralized government and population. Instead, it has ill-defined territory. The north-west is occupied by a unified military force, the north and north-east of Nippur are culturally aligned with Elam, wand the south is being slowly absorbed into the increasingly powerful Realm of Eridu. The remaining Nippurian peoples have reportedly begun settling on the coastline opposite of Eridu, and have begun to expand rapidly northward from there from the settlements of Babylos and Assuria. Talks are underway with the other realms of locating the capital of Nippur to that region and giving the Realm a new name to reflect their rejuvenation.
Beginning in late 1686, the Realm of Elam has fared much better than its southern neighbors in Nippur. The former city-state rapidly consolidated, following a population explosion resulting from a strong fishing and agriculture industry, as well as protracted expeditions up the White River to the north-east. Elam has also been in a state of rapid expansion to both the north and south banks of the Red River. Additionally, it has actively participated in efforts to claim land to the north, with the lands to the south being left to the jurisdiction of the Unified Defense Force, the main land arm of The Hexarchy's military.
Currently, its only source of realm political conflict is with the rapidly expanding Realm of Eridu, which has come to engulf vast lands of its own to the south. Control over the Ereshkigal Forest's northern reaches remains a topic of debate, despite the fact that Eridu is the single largest contributor of military personnel to the defense of the southern banks of the Red River. Territory in the environs of Elam is similarly a subject of contention, although rumor has it that agreements have been struck in which Eridu will assist Elam in acquiring lands elsewhere instead -- at its own expense -- in exchange for the rest of this territory.
Unfortunately, this pact never came to pass. Elam's expansion was cut short by Suza's sudden appearance in the region during the later 1680's, and by the middle of the 1690's they had already consolidated such a strong presence on Elam's northern border that it had little other choice but to rejoin their compatriots in Kobol to form a single Realm, with the city-state serving as a ceremonial "northern capital" for the region (in hopes that an unlikely eastern expansion may yet take place).
The regions collectively consisting of Eridu to the west have drifted politically far from Kobol, the regional capital, and the tertiary third realm to the north of Eridu (comprising the lands of the collapsing Realm of Nippur) has been either absorbed into Elam's jurisdiction... or Eridu's. Eridu has taken to expanding aggressively along the coastline where it was first situated, and has begun to rival its neighbors in Kobol for the amount of trade conducted. Notably, Eridu has rapidly consolidated hard control over a border with the vast Ereshkigal Forest to the north, thus allowing it to expand almost unchecked in the region -- at its fellow Realms' expense.
Kobol proper has remained stable the entire time, and through agreements with the other two realms the national government and all related foreign embassies are still stationed in the city. Additionally, Eridu has allowed the government in Kobol the option of reserving all profits River-based trade to itself, so long as it turns a blind eye elsewhere. Additionally, there are current talks of dividing the Eventide subnational government into its respective Realms, or -- at the least, change its name in deference to the changing tides and times.
As for Kobol's own expansions, it has agreed to leave any such outward pressing of its borders in the West alone, and does not bother with disagreements over the other Realms on those matters. Instead, Kobol has looked to the east in an effort to retain its constituent country's name for itself by establishing subordinate polities elsewhere, given the impending relocation (and possible dissolution) of Nippur and Eridu's growing strength. Additionally, the government at Kobol has been in talks with Elam to unite their Realms in favor of Eridu, in case of their likely failure to consolidate new territory elsewhere. These talks came to fruition in 1690, with the new Praetor forcing a resolution binding the Eventides and Elam back together, and forcing them to look to the eastern wilds in search of fresh resources.
The two Realms that Pyrax's Hexarchs represent are moving ever-closer together. The two Realms, although culturally much different (with Suza's people preferring a much quieter and stable lifestyle), have drifted much closer together. Talks are underway of unifying the two Realms so that subordinate polities may be established elsewhere. Additionally, their rulers have similar philosophies of conquering as much of the uncivilized countries on the shorelines of the Red Sea as possible, and their attempts at enlisting the other Realms has failed, due to the others' ambitions pointing elsewhere.
However, the burgeoning Realm met a sudden, untimely fate at the hands of the Council of Six, following the first Praetor's coronation in 1688 AN. The region was split back into two, with the northern half of Arumen gaining territory and also likely losing Council representation upon the current Praetor (Gilgamesh II) passes. When that event transpires, the region's fate will be decided (as Marduk is currently the much-preferred national capital due to its central location, and its strategic location on a mainland area on the banks of the Great River).
As for the southern half, it was annexed by Eridu -- on condition that it both maintains autonomy and inherits half of the Great Conifer Forests to its southern border... when the military recovers from the pyrrhic victory that claimed Gilgamesh I's life in early 1690. Until that point comes, its economy has been boosted by military forces on semi-permanent standby in the area... until they push forward, that is.
Beginning in late 1690, a new Praetor took the helm, that being the son of the country's previous (and first) nation-wide ruler, Gilgamesh I. This new Praetor took his father's name and title, styling himself Gilgamesh II, in honor of his father's curtailed reign. Being much younger than the members sitting on the Council of Six, his rise to power was far from unopposed, and the new Praetor was forced to purge the Council by way of inciting rebellion amongst their sons. While his efforts produced mixed results, it was still enough for him to comfortably take power in a similar manner as his father had. By the time 1691 came to a close, Gilgamesh II was the undisputed ruler of the country, and the Council had been further weakened even during the time of Gilgamesh I.
Power struggles aside, the new Praetor took power while the country was at a crossroads. All military fronts were now secure, with the north-east portions of the country moving even into the frontier without issue. For the first time in the country's history, the south and west fronts were stable enough to allow the military enough time to rest, regroup, and even upgrade its woefully outdated equipment. The country's economic activity had never been higher, and civilization had crept so deep into the country that even the most backwards of the nation's citizens were beginning to use modern technology in everyday life. However, it came at a catastrophic cost to the country's traditional military forces, which flew on powerful dragons whose breath attacks were as powerful as modern artillery pieces. Their upkeep was expensive, though, and making new mounts wasn't exactly a speedy process (with it taking many years for one to grow large enough to be effective in battle). Word in the capital of Marduk spread that the new Praetor was secretly pleased that the dragons had all but been wiped out, as not only it meant a stable border for the next year, but it also meant that he could modernize the military as he saw fit.
Infrastructure projects were well under way, and it was during this time that the Great River was secured on all sides for traffic going deep into the country's interior, as far as the city of Azul'an, home to the island-bound peoples of Arumen. Even the native reservation of Pyrax was prospering, and the citizens there had taken to establishing cities near holy places such as Kish and Kadesh. Recent treaties with then-Alduria-Wechua, Çakaristan and other nations allowed international trade to begin, and the Hexarchy's bloc-neutrality during those years had directly contributed to an explosion of prosperity in the country. In the far-flung region of Imarru-Lugal, the colony's stabilization meant that the country now had an effective trading post (even if unofficially) with countries it would never have otherwise reached directly, such as Adrestia and Constancia. The crown jewel of the country's infrastructure was, in fact, the massive tunnel system that connected the now-vast Port City of Ashtaroth with the mainland via a massive underground rail system that now touches every point of the country except for Arumen. With the channel's water being sufficiently shallow and the rocks being cut surprisingly stable, the tunnel project cost far less than anticipated. Construction of a bridge for personal vehicle traffic moving onto the mainland also launched in late 1692, and completed in early 1699. The tunnel now serves as a special border control region for the rest of the country, since the island gained the ability to make special visa arrangements that differ from the rest of the country.
Race to the Sea (1700's)
Following the 1690's efforts in modernization came a boom in both economics and population following the pacifying of the country's densely populated heartlands in the 1690's. With the country's period of modernization immediately coinciding with a robust labor force, the Hexarchy saw a rapid rise in military and industrial power, enabling the Praetor to send units to strengthen the vast nation's otherwise thin population corridors deep inside continental Keltia, an effort which led to the country's ability to absorb Liberty in the wake of its collapse near the turn of the century.
To the west, the addition of a strong Karnak continued yielding dividends, but the coasts along the Strait of Pearls continued to remain unsafe for transcontinental trade between the Hexarchy's Keltian territory and Apollonia's rising powers. Conflict inevitably emerged when Vanic organizations, unrecognized polities existing within The Green in their western frontiers, and other hostile elements beyond the Hexarchy's main population centers began striking back due to persecution and encroachment into territory untouched by Micras's recognized powers for decades or even centuries before. Because of rising conflicts with, and attacks from, these territories, colonization or invasion of the western seaboard by the world's global and regional powers was inevitable.
The Hexarchy grew alarmed at the rapid growth of the large powers on Micras, especially when colonial powers inevitably began colonizing the far west coast of Keltia. What followed was a scramble by the government to resettle core populations into the far frontiers, notably the Nippuri peoples formerly from the south of the country. Preferring sparsely inhabited areas, both the semi-nomadic and sedentary populations of these people moved themselves to land grants far from any traditionally populated Hexarchian centers of commerce, preferring to take advantage instead of regional trade routes to bolster an agrarian economy in the long-term. It was during this time that the arctic, mostly-snowbound region of Lysstyrer joined the Hexarchy, claiming a seat on the Council and within the fledgling national parliament.
However, this expansion did not come entirely smoothly. Wars fought in West Karnak sought to liberate the region from Vanic control, and the eventual clearing of the region nominally under control of the Dark Berry Islands lasted throughout the first decade of the 1700's. Additionally, conflicts of vital interests between the Hexarchy and colonizing powers on Western Keltia led to a diplomatic crisis between the Hexarchy and Hurmu that was resolved only with a resolution of nonaggression, with the region's status being a thorn in their relations until after 1709.
Era of Good Feelings (1710's)
The following decade saw a period of renewed peace and prosperity for the Hexarchy. Lacking any credible enemies, the Hexarchy continued bringing order to the still-volatile area of West Karnak by settling the area and pacifying rebels still spilling over from the lawless, mainland portion of the Dark Berry Islands and the Green next to it.
Internal colonization efforts proceeded apace within the Empty Quarter, with Midway becoming a boom town for frontier industries within the country. Suza saw similar efforts to populate the vast, empty plains to its north, but these met with partial success due to the unwillingness of its denizens to settle on the vast, featureless terrain instead of the hilly heartlands of that part of the country. Furthermore, only certain portions of the Hexarchy were densely populated enough to warrant expansion of urban areas, and so emigration from the cities in search of new space was slow going, even with frontier incentives such as homesteading provisions and offers of cheap (or even free) real estate even in temperate areas. Although the region was quickly pacified and the plains proved suitable for grassy crops like wheat, it was clear that northern Suza was going to remain sparsely populated, despite the intense food production the region offered. This gave way to mechanized agriculture throughout the region, with low populations and labor pools bringing a demand for industrial farm equipment to the region by 1720 AN.
Trade continued apace with the Hexarchy's sole colony of Dromosker Island, which had fully rebuilt itself from the Askerr War of the 1690's. The Tepesh family still ruled there, although democratic processes involving native representation were beginning to slowly take root as the Askerr and other tribes began to modernize. Although surrounded by powers consolidating their holds in the region, sentiments towards their mother country remained strong, so secession or joining a closer power such as Çakaristan remained only a background item for fringe parties within Imarru-Lugal. The island remained quiet for the next generation to come, with the islanders integrating more with the surrounding populations of the Skerry Isles than with their faraway mother country, from which people occasionally moved for the idyllic weather and strengthening job market.
Meanwhile, the country's infrastructure continued to rapidly improve thanks to intensive modernization efforts by the aging Praetor Gilgamesh II, entering his 60's in the latter half of the decade. The Hexarchy's portion of Pan-Keltian Highway was fully completed during this time, with initial construction completed by 1715 AN to West Karnak and environs. Meanwhile, related civilian and self-defense infrastructure modernizations proceeded ahead of schedule to a point where the Praetor called inspections to verify these outlandish claims... which turned out to be nearly entirely true. With the so-called Forest of Death finally secured on all sides for the first time, breakouts of the Forest's incredibly dangerous denizens would no longer punish the densely packed populations of Eridu for lax anti-fauna security in all locations. Although corruption remained an issue in the country's hinterlands in terms of dealing with native chieftains on economic matters, such practices were relentlessly cracked down on with the goal of entirely eliminating corruption by 1730 AN.
The economy of The Hexarchy is known for its extreme diversity and sharp divides in sources of economic power between its many districts. As a whole, the country depends on international trade to the south to support the rest of its internal regions' respective industries. A massive service economy, an abnormal population boom, strong maritime trade with regional partners, and rapid expansion have all aided the country's rise in its national living standards. As the Hexarchy continues to modernize and use its best resources to its advantage, the economy will continue to remain strong, despite the aftereffects of growing pains (ranging from inconsequential to severe) experienced in all aspects of the nation. The recent addition of the technologically advanced Lysstyrer and the Far Countries on the western coast of Keltia have secured seaward trade routes with its territories, and deterred disruptive terrorist, monster, and other types of attacks in the treacherous land route between the former Liberty and the recently annexed Lysstyrer to the arctic, eternally snowbound northern reaches of the country.
The Southern Heartlands
The south of the Hexarchy relies heavily on maritime trade to support its diverse economy. Thanks to large swathes of territory being set aside as nature preserves (and dangerous ones at that) the economies of Eridu, Asshyria, and their immediate neighbors to the east in the Eventide Islands are obliged to rely on sea trade with countries such as New Alexandria to supplement their healthy agriculture and technology industries. Construction and manufacturing are extremely strong in major cities such as Enkidu and Ashtaroth, and Kunapura's trade has aided the country's continuous economic boom since the 1690's, thanks to the successful national expansions seen under Praetor Gilgamesh I and his successors. The explosive population growth in the Hexarchy's southern metropolises is due in large part to an overabundant food supply, rich natural resources to the north, and large gold deposits on the Great River, most notably near Elam.
Karnak and its own constituent regions enjoy extensive access to oil throughout their desert-dominated lands. The military makes extensive use of the vast reserves of crude below Karnaki soil, and large reserves are being regularly discovered beneath the sands and scrublands of West Karnak as well. The region enjoys a thriving tourist industry, thanks to the region's ancient monuments and the world wonders in its pyramids to time-forgotten Pschents that reigned over various states that now compose modern Karnak. The region does not enjoy the vast nature preserve status as others to the north and west, however, due to the lack of arable land and exotic fauna that roam the landscapes. While giant creatures have been occasionally spotted in the deepest deserts in inland Keltia, there remains little region to venture out into those hellscapes due to the natural underground flow of the region's vast reservoirs to solid ground in the south.
Karnak remains the largest producer of energy by far in the Hexarchy, with alternative sources of energy such as solar making headway alongside its vast petroleum reserves, a demand for which is limited due to strong opposition to the use of polluting fuels in the country. However, the plastics and other related industries benefit greatly from Karnaki petroleum, which has consistently increased output since the late 1690's following the Battle of the Behemoth, which saw the elimination of any direct threat posed by super-fauna coming out of the vast Empty Quarter. While nuclear energy is currently being discussed as a source of energy within Karnak, the solar and wind industries are already entrenched along with oil, and so nuclear energy is the preferred form of power in places without flat ground, such as Arumen and Lysstyrer.
Red Sea Region
The Red Sea trade routes are known mostly for the rustic nature of the peoples living there, as well as the vast variety of exotic plants and animals one may find. Tourism is now a major driving force of domestic tourism within the region, and the central government has actively encouraged tourists to make their way to such centers of culture as Azul'an to support the local economies there. Very rare, expensive trinkets such as dragon scales are commonly sold to the government for military research purposes. In other cases, jewelers are known to pay fortunes for the unique gems found in the Red Mountains that dominate the islands. There is little manufacturing or strip mining industry outside of the mountains, however, due to difficult shipping routes thanks to the gigantic marine creatures in the Red Sea making transportation safety a dubious issue for inexperienced mariners. Nonetheless, the region supports a strong service industry, and the textile industry is renowned nation-wide for its exquisite patterns and rare, expensive materials.
Lysstyrer and the Far Countries
The country of Lysstyrer was a recent addition to the Hexarchy, itself joining the nation by treaty in 1706 AN. The advent of a strong, well-defended region to the far north suddenly allowed for an entire slew of national policies to come to fruition, such as expansion along the Strait of Pearls, and the securing of vital arctic bases to the north in the form of the territory of Anubis, which are helping revolutionize the Hexarchy's rapidly growing defense and raw materials industries. The addition of these nations to the north provided a desperately needed lifeline for its peoples in rest of the newly established Far Countries to secure food, raw materials, and trade partners to secure their place. The former peoples of Nippur and other major long relocated from Eridu found homes far to the north on the steppes of northwestern Keltia, where they remain to this day.
The subordinate region of Osiris to the south serves as the economic anchor for the Far Countries, connecting sea trade between Lysstyrer and Karnak and serving as the main port of call for native Nippurites and other native groups in the region. This bypass of the long, often-treacherous land routes opened more avenues of domestic trade, while allowing the small navy of the Hexarchy significant room to grow in a warm water port. Most of Osiris's natively derived economy comes from the defense industry, as the Hexarchy sees the peninsula as existentially necessary for the prosperity of the far northern reaches of the country. Diplomatic squabbles with Hurmu over possession of parts of the region only triggered an even greater influx of military personnel in the region, no longer merely interested in combating seaborne piracy off the coast. While significant trade passes through the heavily fortified (and quite large) city of Naith, trade is quickly shifting over to the seas due to the rigor involved in transporting vast quantities of materials to and from Lysstyrer over land.
The natives of Nippur and others engage in subsistence agriculture to the north, and most of the population north of Osiris lives nomadic lifestyles deep inland. Due to the lack of major population centers in the region along with the colder steppe climate, the Far Countries receive little tourism. As such, industry in the region remains focused in the south, with notable activity taking place in the quickly developing port town of Pi-Ramesses, which doubles as the military headquarters of the Hexarchy in the whole of the western seaboard due to its strategic importance with connecting its coastal territories to the west.
There are three major seaports in The Hexarchy: Firstly, the formerly premier seaport of Kobol is home to most of the country's largest, and oldest, international sea and air ports. The city sports vital service infrastructure still in use by neighboring Eridu, and trade constantly flows overland through Kobol and the East Bank Territory to the northwest reaches of the Wechuan areas of New Alexandria. Additionally, the Pan-Keltian Highway runs directly through the city, thanks to a series of bridges and tunnels that, collectively, constitute some of the country's greatest engineering marvels to date. The second major port, and the largest, is the Port and City of Ashtaroth. The largest city in nearby Asshyria, the city enjoys autonomy similar to the country's capital of Marduk. Numerous special agreements and treaties specifically mention the city, and similarly to New Zalae, now enjoys its own visa system due to its status as an island with significant national and regional importance. The third major international port is the Autonomous Region of Kunapura, which was, in an unexpected turn of events, annexed by request of the city-state after a referendum in the late 1690's AN, during a period of already-unprecedented peace and prosperity in the nation.
The country has a still-growing trade network with major power blocs, thanks to its central location on the Keltian mainland and location on (and control over) vital sea routes near both New Alexandria and the Great Apollonian Empire. Kobol still has a very large container terminal operated by the Apollonian Shipping Company from which Jingdaoese and Çakari goods are distributed throughout the country by smaller ships through its many remarkably large and navigable rivers and inland seas. The Jingdaoese government was, until the Post-Chidao Troubles, a major investor in the port, which was at the time considered to be part of the White Tea Road. The country also trades massive amounts of rare and exotic foodstuffs with Çakaristan far to the west. Since the merger of the two countries into the Great Apollonian Empire, this trade has continued in earnest, although there is significantly lesser government involvement due to that country's recent internal troubles.
The country has also been beginning to trade with countries of the Raspur Pact. It has signed several treaties with Alduro-Wechua and its succeeding country of New Alexandria, and the trade relationships between the two countries has and has made secret agreements of understanding with companies based in Constancia regarding its base in Imarru-Lugal, which was recently subjugated in its entirety in 1691. The Praetor has sought to officialize agreements with the country's government, but as of 1692 no breakthroughs have yet been made. Overall, the nation has been slowly, gradually shifting towards showing preference to the Raspur Pact nations, as they are closer, much more internationally active, and provide a robust military alliance against periods of unrest within The Hexarchy's own recently-stretched borders.
Transportation within the nation remains inconsistent, and varies by region. Because the country is going through an expensive, nation-wide modernization process, public transit as well as private rail travel are inconsistent. Additionally, ongoing problems with clearing the Eridian coastline (namely driving back the Ereshkigal Forest) present delays in direct travel between the more far-flung portions of the country. Finally, laws on personal vehicles are inconsistent, except that there is a nationwide ban on vehicles powered by any form of fossil fuel to protect national air quality -- a move that initially made such devices inherently limited in the nation.
Personal Transportation Restrictions
Personally Owned Vehicles
Travel by personally owned vehicles of any kind is strictly forbidden within the Eventide Islands (including Elam), and all of Arumen. There is a government-mandated cap on personal vehicles in the cities of Enkidu and Marduk, and those wishing to drive a vehicle must bid on one of a limited number of available licenses to be able to do so. There is no such cap on the Island of Ashtaroth, and on most of the Asshyrian coastline, due to an additional ban on dragons or other privately owned megafauna in the entire region. Personal vehicles also see little in the way of limits in the rest of Eridu, although air and rail transport are far more popular when traveling north or south in the region. The central government has attempted to severely curtain personal vehicle ownership, and even dragon ownership (see below) to avoid congestion and pollution in the country. In part, they do this by placing abnormally high investments in the rapid development of high-quality public transit throughout the country, a series of luxury and pollution taxes on vehicles, and a forced phase-out of fossil-fuel derived energy, a move the Praetor intends to complete in full by the 1720's AN at the latest. As of the turn of the century at 1700, the Praetorian Government has succeeded in keeping mass transit high, vehicle ownership low, while avoiding bans on personal vehicles from spaces where mass transit is more difficult to reach (such as the sparsely populated settlements such as Midway, just outside of the Empty Quarter).
The issue of dragons has become increasingly one-sided in the nation. Traditionally used for native hunting expeditions as age-old pack animals and combat tools, the creatures are nonetheless dangerous in the wrong hands. As such, dragons are increasingly restricted to those lands where there is a vastly majority-native population. The only entire realm in which dragons are entirely unrestricted is Arumen, and this is mostly for traditional purposes. However, following the Battle of the Behemoth in late 1690, their numbers have sharply reduced and their extinction by the 1800's AN at the very latest is projected unless the creatures procreate far above normal rates. If losses continue at their current pace, authorities speculate that the creatures will all but gone by 1750.
Particularly, in the sub-region of Pyrax, the creatures are allowed in all but two places: the coastal city of Kadesh, and the Sacred Place to the region's eastern end. Because of the advent of machine-based transport nation-wide (as opposed to just the coast), bans on personally-owned dragons are becoming increasingly widespread in Eridu as well. Currently, only the military may possess the creatures to the south, and even then the creatures are almost never used except in patrols over Ereshkigal Forest, where a strict, universal ban on manmade objects of any kind and at any elevation is harshly enforced. Recently, dragons were restricted from coming near the Great River, following its final pacification in the late 1680's. Finally, the creatures are only allowed in Suza with a license that must be renewed every six months, and only by natives. As such, dragons are decreasing in number in that area as well due to reduced ownership; however, the wild population (mostly consisting of smaller, less dangerous varieties) is once again taking root in the country as a whole.
By the late 1690's, the stabilization of the remaining dragon population and evidence of a long-term lack of shrinkage or growth anywhere in the country sent the message to the government that the dragon population in the country was always going to remain low, even if there were no longer immediate threats to extinction. Thanks to modernization efforts in the country (to include the military and civilian air transport), legal ownership of dragons was confined to citizens living in the dragons' new native ranges in western, rural Arumen and the tribal lands of Pyrax, as well as specific parts of Suza and Eridu. By the turn of the century in 1700, the role of dragons as common air transport was all but reduced to civilian purposes, native traditional use, and tourism in West Arumen.
Domestic travel remained an inconsistent issue clear into the early 1690's. Due to this delay in development of aerospace technology, modernization of the national air transportation infrastructure (for both civilian and military use) remains one of the Council's highest priorities. Because of the country's irregular travel restrictions, geology, and territorial layout, different methods are required to obtain transport to various places within the country. Thankfully, this issue has gradually smoothed, thanks to new controlled land transportation links to remote areas. Chiefly, airports and access to them have sharply increased thanks to the shrinkage of the country's dragon population following significant events of the late 1680's, allowing for abundant civilian air transit to places once deemed dangerous to fly over.
Access to Suza was, until 1697, only done by air, with transport from Kanaloa Airport or from Kobol being most common. Transport by land was, until this point, only possible to and from from Zathara by air to the region's coastline. The new land link has notably reduced the burden on still-developing airports and infrastructure in the region. Transportation to the city proper can be accomplished from any of its coastline by either air or by taking an empty seat as a passenger with an armed convoy along the various roads leading between its settled areas. The 1697 new land corridor was opened from New Zalae, as the northernmost link of the Pan-Keltian Highway system to connect the country's most remote regions with the rest of the vast continent.
Until the late 1690's, it remained extremely dangerous to charter planes in the region of Arumen, due to the Red Sea still being surrounded by significant coastline belonging to uncivilized nations and dangerous fauna. Additionally, the declining dragon population in the region was particularly aggressive towards low-flying aircraft. Travel by air to the eastern island of Zathara remains a possibility, although flights only go to the cities of Suza and -- by a roundabout route, Marduk. Access to Azul'an remains restricted to either ship or, if one is lucky to receive the honor by a native, by dragonback. Finally, air links to Azul'an by chartered flights opened from Marduk in early 1700, although the airport was built small and the city's overwhelmingly native population strongly prefers more traditional methods of transport, thus limiting air travel largely to tourists and reluctant diplomats stationed in this large, but nigh-brutally rustic, city.
Within the region of Arumen, sea transport remains relatively safe, so long as methods to defend against marine megafauna exists in the convoy. As dragon populations decline, though, marine creature attacks will likely rise until the Red Sea is pacified in its entirety. The same holds true for the coastal regions of Suza and western Eridu (esp. Pyrax).
Elsewhere in the country, travel by ship remains very safe. Following the purge of predatory marine megafauna from both the Great and Red Rivers, travel by sea has been safer than ever, with escorts now not required all the way from Kobol to Marduk. Transport to the eastern portion of the Great River (the White River) directly to the north is similarly safe, thanks to Suzite military bases along the western shores. Barbarians from The Green may occasionally pose problems in the most remote areas, but transport to the mineral-rich White Sea has proven very fruitful to those willing to make the long trek in relatively uncivilized territory.
In Asshyria and the Eventide Islands, both ports handle a significant amount of tonnage every day, as does Kunapura until its inclusion in the country during the late 1690's. Safety is actively assured throughout each region, and the Great River has been rendered wholly safe in recent years through the tireless efforts by Eridu to secure the entirety of the River proper. While barbarians live on the eastern shores, attacks are virtually nonexistent due to the dual proximity of Alduria-Wechua to the south.
Rail-based travel remains more inconsistent. Battles against the Ereshkigal Forest on the coast are about the only thing that stands between the Eridian government and its completion of a massive road and rail line along the coastline. This would directly connect the city of Enkidu (and Kobol as a consequence) with the westerly region of Asshyria -- with the regional capital of Atlantys only standing to benefit from this feat of engineering. As a tunnel already exists that connects Kobol's nearest islands with mainland Eridu, continuous transport by rail is possible between Kobol and the rest of the country, albeit in limited capacity.
Additionally, a massive project is currently underway in Asshyria. A public transport system meant for passengers and their vehicles is currently under construction. Slated to be solidly among the world's longest bridges, the massive causeway crosses the very shallow sea and shoals between Ashtaroth and mainland Asshyria. Having started in construction in 1688 AN, the as-yet unnamed project will take several years to complete due to both the time and sheer costs in labor (funded mostly by a corvee scheme employed by Eridu) required for construction. Thankfully, the massive causeway will not cause new navigation issues, as the waters were too shallow for most ships to pass beneath, save near the causeway's center, where a massive bridge is planned to allow the largest ships in the Ashtaroth Strait's only navigable areas.
As for north-south transit, construction is under way for rail-based public transit in Marduk and in the various cities of Arumen. While Arumen will remain isolated by rail due to the sheer distances involved (as well as the Red Sea's massive depth), other regions are seeing increasing rail mileage. Currently, a project is under way in Marduk to build a bridge over the Great River, taking advantage of the high-profile geography of the local plateaus on either side. The bridge would permit navigation even by the largest deep-water vessels to and from the Red Sea, and connect the southern half of the country with the northern half with an all-ground route.
This would allow Suza to similarly transport personnel and choice construction materials (such as wood from the great forests to the country's south and west) into the region, greatly speeding residential and commercial development in the region. Rail lines already exist in Suza's interior, but these need to be well-defended as they run through unoccupied regions that separate its major interior settlements from its coastal regions. These rail lines were completed in the closing days of 1697 to New Zalae, alongside an important stretch of highway.
The cultures of the Hexarchy are as varied as the nation itself. In comparison with Earth, consistencies can be found between several of The Hexarchy's major regions and ancient societies.
In the south and center of the country, the regions of Eridu, Elam, Kobol, Suza, East Bank Territory, and Arumen hold consistency with various Sumerian and proto-Persian cultures. The religions and places also roughly correspond with mythical figures, with the Ereshkigal Forest providing one notable example of the religious (and sometimes supersititious) nature of the natives and their Ralgonese counterparts.
Ralgonese cultures (not too dissimilar to Japanese and other East Asian cultures) form a strong minority in most of the Hexarchy's southeast, and they form a plurality in the city of Kobol and other select places in New South Caputia. These cultures, originating from Drag'os, practice a polytheistic religion and their complex system of ethics has influenced much of the rest of the country, with the Ralgonese model of ethics complementing (or even supplanting in some places) the more simplistic honor system traditionally in place in much of the country. The system of ethics predominates the middle classes of the country, while native cultures' ethics are predominantly practiced by the working and lower classes in most regions outside of the Red Sea region, as well as the sparsely populated northwest.
The southwest of the nation is characterized by a culture resembling a mixture of ancient Egypt before the New Kingdom's demise and Egyptian culture after the Islamic caliphates controlled the territory (and before the Crusades). The very old territory carries its own complex dualistic religious situation as well as a culture so old that its age is its own entire branch of historical studies in the Hexarchy's elite universities. The Hexarchy's system of upper-class etiquette derives almost entirely from Karnak's ancient practices, and one visiting the country is better off knowing this often-irrational system of mannerisms before conducting state visits to the country.
The far north of the Hexarchy, Lysstyrer, is peculiar to its own people. They practice a culture reminiscent of the Northmen of Micras, albeit in entirely their own flavor. Their technocratic ideas have found popularity among the youth of the Hexarchy's capitalist classes, as well as among the internet-savvy populations of the large inner cities of the Hexarchy's population centers in Marduk and the southern coasts.
The Hexarchy has a rich and diverse tradition of local religions throughout the country. The Hexarchy has no majority religion, with most of the country's population to the north and central regions practicing local folk religions. Additionally, the coastal regions of the country have a long tradition of organized religion. A long tradition of Umraism, Draconic, and Melusinianism are practiced in the west, southeast, and central regions of the country, respectively. In Karnak, Maatism is observed in the oldest parts of the region, along with newer organized and tribal faiths. Eridu observes a combination of folk religions and sects of Draconic unique to that region's eastern areas.
Almost every other major religion on Micras has some presence in the country city due to its trade and the famously avant-garde nature of its people. The widely varied cultures within the Hexarchy contribute to the extreme variety of religious beliefs found throughout the nation. Thanks to increased trade after the country's 1685 independence and its rapid expansion, the country has encountered beliefs of all types, and continues to add to its already-rich religious heritage. Several specific regions of note have their own unique religious traditions that starkly differ from those in the rest of the country, those being the Red Sea Peoples, Karnak, and the metropolitan regions of Kobol and Ashtaroth.
The Red Sea Regions
Most of the population of Arumen, Pyrax, and Suza follow traditional, tribal religions. In most cases, these are polytheistic or pantheistic proto-religions where Animism is a dominant belief. Among significant minorities of the native populations exist atheistic strains of animism. Major groups include native populations originating in Azul'an and other Red Sea islands. In such cases, syncretic beliefs are often practiced in tandem with other faiths. In recent years, National humanism as a belief system has also blended in with such native groups, including among the Praetorian Family.
The region of Karnak and West Karnak experience two dominant religions that have mixed together peacefully over the endless years of its existence. The timelessly old religion of Maatism espouses aiding the gods to find balance in the universe. Which member of the pantheon is worshipped depends on the time and place, with there being a number of major and minor deities, depending on the place one visits. The Umraist faith enjoys a large following in these western regions as well, with most adherents being the nomads of the desert. Additionally, Zurvanism has existed in many places where Umraism also enjoys large followings.
The existence of large Umraist and Zurvanist populations in the desert regions of Karnak has led to religious clashes in these more sparsely populated areas of the country, particularly where law enforcement is slower to reach. However, thanks to the pluralistic policies of the Karnaki government and the Hexarchy's government alike, such religious disagreements rarely come to blows, with Zurvanists and Umraists generally keeping to themselves. Scholars regularly observe Maatist priests mediating more heated legal arguments between adherents of either of the former two religions. It is believed by religious scholars the very strong emphasis on keeping peace and balance within the Maatist tradition makes the religion's leaders into natural mediators in places where such conflicts do arise and no formal courts exist nearby to arbitrate issues before a judge appointed by the Pschent.
Syncretic Practices in Karnak
On occasion, one will see an Umra-Maatist or a Zurvan-Maatist follower that claims to follow both religions equally, as the Maatist faith's beliefs often overlap with those of other religions. This is primarily due to its lack of mentioning the specific relationship of the adherent to the specific god he or she worships, thus resulting in a general lack of direct conflict in religious tenets outside of what one might call "God." There are even Maatist-Draconics in the region, although this is a very small community that is largely ignored by scholars, due to a lack of notable adherents in high levels of government.
Metropolitan Kobol & Ashtaroth
Kobol is notable for its unusually wide variety of organized religions, thanks to its history of mercantilism and the avant-garde nature of its people. Small congregations following Catologism exist within the country, but are largely ignored elsewhere due to the odd nature of the religion. Tianchaodao also exists in Kobol and in Elam thanks to its Ralgonese populations' interactions with Jingdaoese peoples living in the region. Both of these religions experienced a sharp drop in believers after the Heavenly Light was reduced to a mere puppet of the Kildarian government. Most congregants turned to Draconic Humanism in reaction to the shocking changes in the world in recent years, and from there various other strains of National humanism found their way throughout the country from the city.
While the Port and City of Ashtaroth also embraces a wide variety of religions, the dominant forms of belief there are Umraism instead of Draconic, and other Bovinist faiths are more prominent in the city instead of other, more traditionally Apollonian religions, thanks to its close mercantile partnerships with New Alexandria and other, more remote regions. Maatism enjoys a plural majority in the city, with almost 20% of the population adhering to the ancient faith. Additionally, the city is known for its small community of those who follow Zurvanism, a religion which is practiced widely in Asshyria and in the native regions to the north.
A completely unknown nation before its first contact with The Hexarchy in the late 1680's AN, Karnak is a mystery to most outsiders. The country is, in a sense, a triarchy with one ruler presiding over two others. The head of state of the country is called the Pschent, the current one called by the regnal name of Sozer V. The country has enjoyed centuries of relative peace, with the exception of fending off various megafauna at its borders from time to time.
The other two rulers are viceroys that report directly to the Pschent, and they respectively preside over the country's coastal and frontier regions as increasingly ceremonial governors. These days, their role is that of a viceroy, their rule over the country being reduced to a role of liaison and peacekeeper between the Pschent and his various governors. These two viceroys always sit in different cities from where the Pschent resides, so a tripartite loyalty between the Pschent (based in the city of Abyd'os), the viceroys, and the governors is essential to the country's good governance. These viceroys are, respectively, known as the Deshret and Hedjet. The Deshret sits at the great city of Khufu, and follows the traditional religion of Maatism (as it's known to some outside the country). The Hedjet sits at the similarly large city of Taten'os, and is a convert of Umraism, which is the majority religion in the far south of Karnak.
The nation has largely its own religious history. However, a significant minority of the population (some 30%) are devout followers of Umraism. These followers are located mostly near the coast, and form the majority in several of Karnak's major cities. As one gets farther into the interior, however, one encounters followers of the ancient faith of Maatism. While religious instability has prevailed in the past because of clashes among the faith militant, the current Pschent (ruler) of Karnak has cracked down on both sides through the use of the two viceroys of the river and coastal lands and the interior and northwestern desert, known as the Deshret and Hedjet, respectively.
Elam & The Eventide Islands
Known as both the Twin Realms and as the River Lands, this composite Realm's two core territories consist of the major island cities of Kobol and Kanaloa, as well as their respective environs. The twin realms are both known for their crowded city-state status. Both located on the Great River that runs through many of the most important population centers of The Hexarchy, the collectivized territory sees most of the country's domestic, internal seaborne trade that passes through its many ports. Collectively, they tend to simply be called the Eventide Islands, due to the islands' sheer importance to the country's economy for most of its history.
The Eventide Islands
The city of Kobol controls a hinterland consisting of a chain of large, rocky islands, collectively known as the Eventide Islands. The city-state serves as one of the economic and cultural capitals of the country, due to its large population, numerous tourist attractions, and strong international reputation. One of its southern islands hosts the Kobol Stadium, one of the largest in the country. The territory of the Eventide Islands is so synonymous with the city of Kobol that the names have become all but interchangeable in recent years.
The city of Kanaloa sits on the largest island that separates the Great River into its massive western branch (the Red River) and its north branch (the White River). The city controls a very small remnant hinterland consisting of large, rocky river islands in this area. This somewhat larger territory is known as Elam. Having formerly been one of the safest core territories of the Realms, Elam rapidly grew its population in Kanaloa. At its peak, it controlled territory on the shores of the Great River to include what is now the territory of New Zalae, and large parts of Eridu closest to the River. Its military also had a firm, de facto control over the East Bank, but political pressures forced the territory to focus on internal matters.
Following a protracted decline in power and prestige as the Hexarchy's territory rapidly grew and incorporated new Realms, Elam eventually lost its own seat at the table. With the rise and expansion of both Eridu and Suza at its expense, Elam was left only with its northern hinterland. In 1690, Praetor Gilgamesh II purchased personal real estate composing most of this hinterland and built the city of New Zalae on top of ruins left from Caputia and prior civilizations. Upon restoring the ruins, he outright purchased sovereignty over the territory from Elam in 1693 AN, completing the region's decline to a mere chain of river islands... as heavily populated as it was.
Due to these events, Elam the Eventide Islands, the move being fully completed in 1694. Having lost both its hinterland on the northern shore of the Great River (now the location of New Zalae and environs) and formal control east of the Great River, it also lost specific representation of its territory on the Council of Six due to its decline over the years. The city-state had little choice but to join the city-state of Kobol and its own environs for survival.
The city of Kanaloa, the city-state's capital district, is also its most largest and most populous. Nominally, Kanaloa occupies the entire island, with the government of Elam proper retaining islets in the Great River's intersection with the Red and White Rivers. However, only about half the main island (also called Kanaloa) is inhabited, despite a population of some 750,000. Much of the other half is either difficult rocky terrain, host to national sites and monuments, or the extremely busy Port of Kanaloa, which sees all sea traffic along the Great River and tributaries. The city also owns Kanaloa Stadium, which is located on the territory's second-largest island and sits some 15,000 people.
Realm of Pyrax
The Realm of Pyrax is a territory within the Hexarchy that is known for exactly three things: its unusual mashup of native cultures, its domesticated monsters (most notably its dragons), and the over-the-top hunting expeditions the natives tend to go on. The Realm holds territory south of the Red Sea, which is known for similar traits. The natives hold special rights over this territory, as well as vast stretches of land in The Green immediately south and west of Pyrax. Internationally, the place is known as a hub for the thrill seekers of Micras, who crave the excitement and danger of going on the traditional dragon riding expeditions, where anything is fair game, including the very species of beasts that took down Praetor Gilgamesh I in the Battle of the Behemoth.
Most of the territory of Pyrax is strictly off limits to travelers who stray off the roads or outside of city limits throughout this rustic territory. Known as a vast, modern day native reservation, there are endless tracts of land where modernized hunting methods are strictly forbidden due to danger, wildlife conservation, and preservation of the region's ancient heritage. The region is known for its lack of modern infrastructure outside of its few officially designated towns and cities, where the natives prefer a traditional lifestyle. Because of this, Pyrax enjoys a strict no-fly zone in its entire area, to avoid conflicts with the natives and their mounts. Furthermore, the region is famous for its lack of consequential actions due to the incredibly dangerous fauna that inhabit the vast plains and tall conifer forests south and west of the region. Plans are underway by the Council of Six to exploit this trend and annex the massive, empty stretch of land to preserve the region as a common heritage for the peoples of Micras.
Dragons of Pyrax
Pyrax is currently one of only three territories in the country (others being the Empty Quarter and Arumen) that allow private ownership of dragons and similar megafauna. In Pyrax, the few remaining domesticated dragons of various types are almost solely owned by natives, with sales of dragons, along with their eggs and hatchlings, being strictly forbidden due to their dual classification as weapons of war and as protected species. Ownership permits for non-natives are only ever given to official members of a tribe by its respective chieftain, on condition the dragon never leaves the territories of Arumen or Pyrax, or flies anywhere other than vast official Wilderness attached to it. The only other way for a dragon to successfully be given to a non-native is by the Praetor, who himself is a full native by descent from islanders from Arumen.
Capital Territory of Arumen
The Outer Realms
The Outer Realms are, simply put, nominally controlled territories without any sort of government of their own in the Hexarchy. There are several such massive regions that the people claim as their "heritage," but hard control is generally limited to regions immediately bordering such places. This is due to both the country's sparse population on the frontiers, the dangerous megafauna inhabiting much of their surroundings, and the sheer difficulty presented by clearing megaflora (especially the massive trees endemic to their jungles). However, where land is clear in the interior River Lands, the hilly terrain serves as a sharp dividing region between the rich (but narrow) rivers in the south of the country and the vast jungles of the deep Keltian interior. To the north lie an endless savanna plateau, characterized by the occasional set of mountains and vast conifer forests to the far north. To the west of the Red Sea (and Eridu to the south) are the Unknown Lands, which see near-constant military activity as the Hexarchy's outdated military struggled to keep unified control of the vast, uncharted lands to the west of Keltia (mostly due to political infighting between regional borders).
In the vast, deadly Ereshkigal Forest, actual military control of its interior is sorely limited, if not nonexistent entirely due to strict nature preserve laws that specifically govern the forest. At the close of 1695, containment of the Forest fully completed with the south passage of the Pan-Keltian Highway. Previously, the forest's security vulnerabilities allowed for creatures frequently escaping to the west, as well as having unchecked access to the coast, where they pose a threat to shipping close to Enkidu, which would be a major trading port if not for this fact. This, however, was resolved by 1695 with the fortification and encirclement of the forest with a wall and a permanent garrison meant to ensure its maintenance in perpetuity.
The Forest is used frequently as a way of circumventing strict domestic laws against murder. They do this by replacing the punishment of death with exile directly into the Forest. Not that this means much, since the two are essentially the same. Prisoners are simply shipped to a designated forest clearing some 150 km into the forest and left to fend for themselves. No person has ever made it out of the Forest alive on foot once they enter, and travel by air is rarely guaranteed unless done so with great force. Rumor has it that condemnation to the Forest frequently leads to a slow and extremely painful end more often than not, so sentences are only levied for the very worst crimes, with a life punishment being considered an act of mercy compared to that ignominious end.
At the beginning of 1690, most military efforts exerted by Eridu involved forcing this Forest of Death back from the coastlines, so that the now-massive City of Enkidu could be connected with the rest of The Hexarchy's rich, bountiful coastal regions. With internal shipping being threatened, the status of the massive city remains in doubt, with foreign shipping running more through neighboring Kobol instead, or through the massive Port of Ashtaroth to the west. This issue was, however, resolved in the mid 1690's, although Enkidu's status as a major port city was supplanted by others. However, it has instead become a massive hub of overland trade thanks to the completion of the Pan-Keltian Highway that runs along the coastline all the way to Karnak.
The Hexarchy has exactly one overseas territory: the merchant settlement of Imarru-Lugal. This territory was founded for two primary purposes: firstly, as a tool for diplomatic outreach to those nations that the country otherwise cannot reach, and secondly, as a domestically owned trading stopover between the Hexarchy and far-flung regions closer to the other end of Keltia. The colony was founded after bitter partisan infighting within the government, with the measure being finally forced through by the newly created Praetor of the Council in early 1690 AN through a tie-breaking vote, with most of the south in favor and most of the North against.
As a compromise, the dissenting members of the Council finally agreed to acquiesce to the desire of Kobol and Elam to establish this trading colony, in exchange that further expansion this far outside the mainland be met only with unanimous Council approval, as a significant portion of the Council thought of overseas colonies as a waste of resources. Additionally, it was expected that those in favor of the proposal be the only ones funding its security -- to include hiring foreign nations with blue water navies to assist in freedom of navigation in the region. Dissenting opinion grew stronger as the Council heard reports of fierce, belligerent natives that apparently practiced ritual cannibalism. Further reports that a pair of dragons along with a cluster of eggs were smuggled to the region only served to anger the Council -- despite (and some say because of) the Praetor's secret blessing on the matter.
By this time, though, the concept that Imarru-Lugal was as a sovereign, overseas possession of this country had become a fact. As such, retaining order over the colony was a paramount concern, as it was a good experiment to see if the government could successfully administer territories far removed from The Hexarchy's oldest seats of power -- such as the Unknown Lands far to the west. As such, the Council decided to retain this sole possession abroad, and continue to concentrate on handling increasingly pressing domestic concerns.
New South Caputia
The island formerly comprising the Hexarchy's neighbor Graecia had mysteriously collapsed in the territory circa 1692 AN, about the same point at which the Hexarchy had managed to complete the enforcement of its own borders against the continent's now-hostile fauna that lived to the west of the Great River. By the time the Praetor successfully organized an expedition, the as-yet unexplained temporal hemorrhaging phenomenon and nature had both done their work: the nation was long gone, with the people there reduced to a shadow of what they once were. While myths and legends persisted there, nothing else was left: settlements were but piles of dust and the people were far different than before. The land itself was changed, with the island now comprising a mountainous interior and a vast, arable plateau that sloped down to several natural harbors on a rocky coast punctuated by high cliffs, natural fjords, and gently sloping valleys leading directly to the island's interior.
The island's remaining resources were gathered, and a settlement was established on the former site of Caputian Ersoy. This the Hexarchian authorities dubbed "West Point," in honor of previous agreements and exchanges made between the two peoples. As for the island itself, it was named New South Caputia in honor of the old culture that used to inhabit what the Hexarchy now called home.
The island was developed through 1692 into an agrarian settlement divided into three settlements. The first settlement and economic center of the island was the relatively small port town of West Point, founded on what used to be Ersoy. This town also serves as the island's primary trading hub internationally, although other small towns exist (although mostly dedicated to the local fishing industries). It also served as the main thoroughfare from the country's mainland to the far-flung trading port of Imarru-Lugal, itself located on the country's only overseas territory, Dromosker Island. The second major settlement was founded not far from Graecia's old capital city. Thanks to its strategic and very central location on the island, the naturally defended settlement of Crown Point quickly became the island's administrative capital as well as the headquarters for the island's garrison (as naval assets were considered less important to national security at the time). The third settlement eventually became the island at-large. With many Hexarchians of various ethnicities moving to the island to raise more conventional crops in safety, the island was rapidly repopulated by those wishing to enjoy near-guaranteed physical security, a cooler climate, and an overabundance of local food without having to hunt or tend to the quickly growing jungles deep inland.
Despite the relative lack of valuable mineral resources, the island quickly gained importance in the wake of major new agreements allowing those of former Caputian nationality to enter the Hexarchy without a visa. Despite the island's vastly changed appearance, the location still proved popular for both tourists and immigrants to the region. The Praetor additionally started passing measures that were designed to greatly facilitate travel between mainland Wechua and the Isles of Caputia, foreseeing a boom in trade because of this action. While conservatives in the Praetorian Court objected to the move, the Port City of Ashtaroth retained its paramount importance due to trade with a vast inland interior filled with exotic and precious goods, while Kobol still facilitated trade along the Great River.
For years, the dream of the Hexarchy's government was the taming of the mighty Great, Red, and White Rivers. By the end of 1692, that national goal was made reality with the unopposed passage of merchants and troops over land. However, commercial reasons for building infrastructure on the East Bank were lacking until agreements were struck with New Alexandria that opened additional trading routes directly over land. This allowed Kobol to complete a desperate eastward scramble for real estate to the east, allowing them to occupy land that quickly connected an overland route with the port of Kobol and the city of New Zalae, which lay on the north bank across from the island town of Kanaloa. While few independent settlements exist on this strip of land, several military garrisons nonetheless keep merchant caravans safe and secure as they travel north.
Climate & Environment
|This article or section is a work in progress. The information below may be incomplete, outdated, or subject to change.|
The Hexarchy is an extremely diverse country in terms of climate and wildlife, thanks to its equally varied geography. The country's temperature ranges from well below freezing year-round in the mountain-based underground settlements of Lysstyrer's interior, to the harsh, sweltering deserts to the northern ends of Karnak. Likewise, the climate zones play host to a megadiverse country ranging from the spectacularly dangerous jungles of Ereshkigal Forest to the tundra of the northern reaches, to the wet, temperate climate of the large islands of Arumen.
The Southeast of the Hexarchy's climate zones consists of everything east of Ereshkigal Forest in the province of Eridu. Characterized in the most part by a large river floodplain, the region gives way to hill country as one travels north, where it culminates in a plateau plain to the north of where the Great River splits into the Red and White Rivers to the west and north, respectively.
The region is sparsely populated, and mostly plays host to herbivorous, bison-like animals. Farming is intensely profitable along the floodplain of the River, and annual flooding (controlled to some degree) provides nutrients for the region's famously fertile soil. There are rocky areas near the mouth of the river, remnants of an ancient mountain range. Both Kobol and New South Caputia are elements of this geography.
The South-Central climate region of the Hexarchy is dominated by the ocean to the south, the Red River to the north, the Great River to the east, and the Central Plains to the west. Most of this area is dominated by jungle or mountainous terrain, the latter of which is host to some of the Hexarchy's largest cities, including Enkidu. The center of this region is dominated by Ereshkigal Forest, a dangerous place discussed elsewhere.
The Southwest consists of three climate regions. The first is the Central Plains, which dominates the province of Asshyria and western Eridu. It is bounded by the Empty Quarter to the north and the outskirts of the Great Desert, marked by a narrow hill country near Asshyria's western border with Karnak's narrow coastal plains.
The Empty Quarter is a vast, coniferous forest dominated by huge, dinosaur-like creatures. With the exception of the mighty Behemoths, most such creatures are generally peaceful, and left alone by the natives, who consider the beasts sacred. Most of the area is completely uninhabited, and under conservation due to the unique status of this vast, untamed wilderness. The region is mountainous to the north, but generally gives way to flatlands to the south, where (in the lower altitudes and lower moistures) the terrain very slowly gives way to the Great Western Desert.
The province of Karnak is divided into two zones. The first is a fertile, river-rich coastal plain that serves as the region's breadbasket and center of much of its ancient civilization. The second is the vast, sandy desert to the north. Characterized by endless, tall dunes, the desert stretches seemingly endlessly to the interior of Keltia, ending only at the Empty Quarter eastwards, or the mountains in the interior.
The far west, near the coast of West Karnak, finally gives way to semi-temperate forest plains, which is sparsely populated by Hexarchian native peoples or Ralgonese settlers.
The Far North
The Far West
Frankly, most people are too confused with the nation as a whole to deal with them individually, so most diplomacy in this age goes through the government at Kobol, during those times that the Council holds a meeting there, instead of nowhere in Pyrax or in the middle of some crowded building in Elam (and environs). As for the rest of the country, general sentiment tends to agree with this reality of things. As such, most Council meetings in the easily accessible city of Kobol tend to revolve more around diplomatic and other external matters. Meanwhile, meetings in Azul'an and in the city-state of Elam tend to focus instead on best practices in assimilating the natives (particularly the Storish refugees the natives insist on bringing along with them) and on the country's urbanization projects, respectively.
Generally, the country as a whole enjoys a positive relationship with Adrestia, specifically. Most of the country's exports go to that country via the Bassarids, whose borders in turn are located very close to the Eventide Islands, which has the nation's GDP per capita, by far. Additionally, it was through the Adrestian government's efforts that allowed the country to establish itself on the wide open Keltian continent, where the free-roaming peoples of Pyrax and Elam could flourish without their perpetual wars with Ralgon zealots and sapient dragons on the island of Drag'os. In the heavily populated and politically influential south, the Hexarchy's people hold a positive opinion towards the Jingdao, for their ability to successfully manage their vast nation despite its variety of peoples (to include savages possessing their own strength of arms). In the north, opinion favors the Verionians and other such peoples who regularly liberate their own govenrments in favor of something that works better later on in the week.
This is a summary of those entities the Hexarchy has relations with. Note that additional visas are always required to work in the Hexarchy, and to visit the northern territories in central Eridu, specifically the thick jungle known as Ereshkigal Forest (due to dangers imposed by the local fauna). Transit through the country never requires a visa if the duration of stay is less than 24 hours and/or the passenger does not plan on leaving the train or aircraft. However, it should be noted that this only applies to coastal regions, with permits being required to transit through the northern reaches of the country.
As a rule, the country attempts to maintain strict outward neutrality out of a desire to work peaceably with as many neighbors as possible so that it can focus on internal modernization issues. As such, as of 1694 AN, the country maintains relations with the various power blocs largely on a bilateral basis. As an example, The Hexarchy's government has good economic relations established with both the nearby countries of Passio-Corum and New Alexandria. Additionally, a strong working relationship existed with Graecia before it collapsed and its lands annexed as the territory of New South Caputia.
Unfortunately, the country still suffers from a poor reputation that is mostly tied to its historical use of dragons and other massive animals as both weapons and as means of transportation, right into the present in some regions. Specifically, most casual observers may pass off the deep interior, wilderness regions as little more than a open-air zoo filled with extremely dangerous creatures that cannot seem physically exist in the same planet as civilized people. Additionally, the country's constant internal power struggles (again, until recent years) earned a long-standing distrust from more distant nations that are unaware of the stable economic situation near the coastlines.
The Council's best efforts to modernize the country did little to alleviate this poor reputation until the inauguration of Praetor Gilgamesh I in 1688 AN. Due to its recent (but rapid) modernization and industrialization, the country's foreign affairs have been largely focus on its immediate neighbors. As such, diplomatic outreach remains a key focus of the current Praetor since 1690, Praetor Gilgamesh II. As of 1694, the Hexarchy retains active treaties with New Alexandria and, locally, with Adrestia, which is a semi-sovereign component of the Holy Ralgon Empire.
The Western Peninsula Conflict
Colonial interests and the pursuit of existentially vital strategic goals in the western seaboard of Keltia eventually led to a diplomatic conflict between the Hexarchy and Hurmu, both of which saw the Western Peninsula as existentially vital to their own territorial maintenance in the region, which connected their disconnected territories in Keltia by both sea and air. For Hurmu, it formed an important link to the Arctic. For the Hexarchy, it connected the Nippuri and Lysstyrian peoples with the tropical south, allowing convoys to completely bypass the empty frontier regions and geologically treacherous routes deep in the continent during the summer, with the land routes in use only during winter, when the ground there became more stable. Thankfully, diplomatic efforts prevented an armed conflict; however, a permanent solution was never reached, and the disputed areas in the region instead see a partial mixing of Hurmudan and Hexarchian peoples going about their daily lives there in relative peace.
Politically, portions of the region are in a state of limbo, with a tacit understanding of free movement within the area, with border controls being exercised as normal outside of the area disputed between the two powers.
|Country||Stance||Formal relations||Informal relations||Visa Free Travel
(# of days)
|Working Holiday Visa
(# of months)
|Adrestia||Favorable||✓||✓||90 days||1 year||Positive relations with Adrestia. Free travel, easy access to work, and long-stay agreements already exist between the two nations. Tourist and working holiday visas are renewable, within restrictions. Despite the country being nominally a core part of the Holy Ralgon Empire, this is deliberately ignored due to Adrestia's invaluable role in ensuring The Hexarchy's survival during its earliest days.|
|Nouvelle Alexandrie||Very Favorable||✓||✓||TBA||TBA||Treaty of amity and trade with Alduria-Wechua, which recently federalized into New Alexandria. The two countries enjoy an extremely positive relation with one another. As of 1694 AN, joint construction of a Pan-Keltian Highway is in progress, being made possible by the recent expansion by The Hexarchy into the East Bank Territory.
Official relations began with the 1688 AN Treaty of Cajamarca, where, for the first time the Hexarchy opened its borders to nationals of another country. In it, visa-free and duty-free access to the Island and City of Ashtaroth and its Port were granted for 30 days. Visa-free access to the City of Kobol was also opened for diplomatic personnel and their immediate families.. Access to Enkidu, New Zalae, and other specified areas were also unilaterally added to the list of open ports until the drafting of a new treaty of friendship in 1694 AN.
|Batavia||Neutral||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Constancia||Neutral||✖||✓||✖||✖||First contact was made in 1690 AN. Events arising from this contact proved amicable for both sides. Unofficial talks attempted to open the port at Imarru-Lugal to Constancian merchants, but rumor has it that the Hexarchy's poor international reputation instantly torpedoed such efforts. Formal diplomatic and trade relations were opened on 12.VIII.1694.|
|Craitland||Neutral||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|✖||The Hexarchy has had surreptitious and friendly contact with the Court Prince of Elwynn. A detachment of the Praetor's personal bodyguard was recently sent as a gesture of support for the Prince's government during the Second Elwynnese Civil War. It is currently unknown if this gesture will bring reciprocal results.
|Florian Republic||Favorable||✖||✖||✖||✖||Although no diplomatic contact has been made, some of the Florian sports culture has been imported by a subset of the native population in Kobol and Asshyria, leading to a somewhat-favorable impression of the Florian culture. The massive Kobol Stadium was built by the late Gilgamesh I mostly to emulate what appeared (at the time) to be a national symbol of economic power. The country got a direct taste of Florian culture when it made it into the abortive Group Stages of the 2021 FMF World Cup.|
|Goëtia||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Hurmu||Favorable||✓||✓||90 days||✖||Official relations were established in late 1694. The countries agreed to cooperate in the fields of regional stability, science, and tourism, as well as working towards increased trade between the countries. Embassy and consulate general established in Azul'an and Marduk, respectively.
Attitudes towards Hurmu are considered positive, and the country is considered a benign presence by The Hexarchy, contributing greatly towards positive relations. Recently, treaties were signed that allowed greater cooperation at the official level, cutting merchants and other middlemen out of bilateral economic agreements.
|Imperial Trade Union||Favorable||✓||✓||90 days||✖||Relations between the natives and the Bassarids are most unusually friendly, thanks to the Bassarids being an early supporter during the Hexarchy's colonial days. The new government has done its utmost to maintain positive relations with the country, despite its general drift away from the USSO's Policon.|
|Inner Benacia||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Iron Cult||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact. Relations exclusively through the Imperial Trade Union.|
|Jingdao||Somewhat Favorable||✓||✓||90 days||✖||A long and rich history of cooperation from colonials and natives alike with the Jing diaspora have made travel within the Hexarchy extraordinarily easy. However, relations cooled somewhat following the decision of the Hexarchy's government to remain unaligned. The current visa policy for Jing nationals within the Hexarchy's territory is widely seen to be both unofficial and unilateral, as no records of Hexarchian citizens traveling to, or working in, Jingdao, and sparse records are seen with the sole exception of traveling merchants.
On an official level, hardly a word has been exchanged between ambassadors for almost ten years now, causing concern with those elements of the foreign affairs ministry favorable to that country.
|Mercury||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Natopia||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Norrland||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Palesmenia||No Contact||✖||✓||30 days||✖||No contact before the nation's collapse in the 1690's.|
|Phinbella||Very Unfavorable||✖||✖||✖||✖||The Hexarchy's trading fleet as well as any outgoing flights to friendly countries actively avoid Phinbellan waters due to their poor international reputation. Phinbella is considered by the Praetor's advisors to be an international pariah and tinpot, souring potential relations with the region.|
|Ralgon||Unfavorable||✖||✖||✖||✖||Unfavorable relations with Ralgon due to the violence that led to the Hexarchy's independence.
|Ransenar||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Réunion||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Senya||Somewhat Favorable||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact, but the large native population within the Hexarchy holds a generally favorable opinion due to their positive treatment of the River Warriors.|
|Shireroth||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Stormark||Contact Prohibited||✖||✖||✖||✖||No official contact before Stormark's demise. Refugees from the former Stormark are usually used as a semi-permanent labor class within the Hexarchy.|
|Tellia||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|Thracistan||Somewhat Unfavorable||✖||✓||30 days||✖||Relations through the USSO's Policon. However, outlook is generally soured due to the country's poor relationship with New Alexandria, a close ally of The Hexarchy's, and with Constancia, a potential trading partner.|
|Unified Governorates||No Contact||✖||✖||✖||✖||No prior contact.|
|USSO||Neutral||✖||✓||30 days||✖||Relations through the USSO's Policon have cooled over the past two decades due to the general animosity towards Ralgon, specifically. However, trade is still conducted with member states on an exclusively bilateral basis and diplomatic channels with the organization have always remained open.
|Raspur Pact||Neutral||✖||✖||✖||✖||The Hexarchy has no wide-ranging agreements with the Raspur Pact as a collective. It does, however, enjoy very favorable relations with New Alexandria and a working (unofficial) relationship with Elwynn. It also has treaties with the former, and enjoys considerably friendly relations with Hurmu, itself often supported by RP countries. Shared borders, consistent friendly interactions with members during the past decade, and joint operations during moments of crisis has collectively led to the Praetorian Government to consider direct involvement with (or in) the organization.