East of Menechit lies the continent of Yavhore (Ya-vor), a large landmass home to many nations and people. Though it is theoretically accessible by land from anywhere in eastern Menechit, in practice it is generally only accessed through a northeastern corridor, as to the south lies a dense forest and an imposing mountain range.
This travel route is convenient, because the collection of nation-states known in Menechit as the eastern nations are clustered in the northern portion of Yavhore. These eleven nations are, in no particular order, Penthi (Pen-thee), Sevest (Se-vest), Haveal (Have-ee-all or Have-eel), Uyea (Oo-yay-a), Neshez (Nesh-ez), Neser (Ne-sare), Tollok (Tall-ok), N’Kar (N-car), Pethid (Peth-eed), Deinland (Dine-land) and G’Ablyn (Ge-ab-len). These eleven nations are independent and distinct from one another, though the distinctions are not always as obvious to foreigners as they are to natives.
These eleven nations speak different dialects of a common language, Razth, which is the economic language of the region. There are a number of other languages spoken in the region as well, but Razth is the language of trade and government and therefore the one most people are familiar with even if it is not their first language. Razth is distantly related to both Nathnjek and Eesk—not closely enough for them to be mutually intelligible, but enough that traders from Enjon have repeatedly noted similarities. Imperial Gronnde is also spoken increasingly in the eastern nations, especially in the five nations that rely heavily on maritime trade.
Penthi, Sevest, Neshez, N’Kar and G’Ablyn all border the Maveil Ocean, and as such fishing and sea trade are major parts of their economies. N’Kar and G’Ablyn especially see a great deal of trade with the empire, which is just across the Maveil from them. Penthi and Sevest mostly trade with Enjon, and Neshez is currently maintaining equal trade relations with both nations, a fraught proposition when the empire is in the midst of colonizing Enjon. The other seven nations trade by land with each other, with the five maritime nations and with Dolovai, as well as with other peoples of Yavhore.
Two other political entities occupy Yavhore in the southern region. Aergyre has staked claim to a large portion of the southeastern continent, establishing several colonies there in the last century, and seeking to spread outwards. Out of concern over this Imperial spread, several of the independent city-states in the southern region have set aside their differences and banded together in what is called the Bet-Haren Alliance. This is not a nation in the technical sense, but there is free trade and free travel between the fourteen involved city-states, as well as a mutual agreement of military and economic support in the event of an invasion. Thus far, this has been enough to keep Aergyre from staking a claim to any further land in the region. The alliance is democratic and is in fact the only functioning democracy on the planet; each city in the alliance selects three representatives, and the representatives from all the cities meet frequently to make decisions that impact the alliance. Despite predictions that this non-monarchal system would quickly fail, it has held firm for seventy-five years and looks in no danger of collapsing, and there have been talks recently in Pethid and Deinland of trying out something similar, though whether this is legitimate talk or just irritation with the weak monarchies in those two nations is unclear.
The eastern nations are religiously syncretic, with over a dozen different traditions co-existing, especially in the eleven northern nations. The Catechism and Enjoni religions are present, as well as Imperial traditions, and all are practiced alongside several mostly related religious traditions native to the region. These traditions all have elements of ancestor worship, and in some cases the differences between them fall to whether the ancestors are worshipped as humans or deities. A number of gods are also worshipped in the region, though an exact pantheon is hard to pin down as the names of the gods change between nations. Almost everyone seems to agree that there are fourteen gods in the pantheons of the various beliefs that the Imperial colonizers group together as Gemmlin (a Gronnde word meaning ‘superstition’), but what their names and exact purviews are changes depending on where one is standing. As well, a new philosophical atheist tradition has been gaining traction lately, starting in an academy in Uyea’s capital of Barnt and spreading from there; it is now well-established in the region.
All across the continent of Yavhore stand large ziggurats, the construction of which nobody remembers. They predate all the current nations in the region and have carvings and inscriptions on them in a language nobody has been able to translate and which is not linguistically related to Razth at all as far as anyone can tell. There is a great deal of speculation about what the writing might mean and why the ziggurats might have been built, with the two most popular competing theories being that they were constructed by the gods to be their thrones, and that they were constructed by a pre-historic people who were destroyed for unknown reasons. The capital of every nation except for Deinland (a major point of contention for them) has a Great Ziggurat near its palace, which typically are used for coronations and royal funerals and weddings. The ziggurats are also tombs where the bodies of monarchs are laid to rest and their spirits are said to reside in order to protect their descendants from harm. There are eleven Great Ziggurats, one in each capital, but also hundreds of smaller ziggurats scattered across the continent, including in most of the cities in the alliance. There is a longstanding unspoken agreement among the people of Yavhore that even in times of conflict where cities might be razed, it is blasphemous and evil to destroy a ziggurat. Part of the reason Aergyre’s colonial efforts have met with such entrenched resistance in most of the region is that they are known to have torn down a ziggurat when they arrived on Yavhore’s shores.
Though in the past there have been serious conflicts on the continent, especially in the northern region, recently a strong peace has fallen across the native people of Yavhore in face of the encroachment of Aergyre. The eleven nations have a mutual nonaggression pact and a promise of military aid similar to that of the alliance, and efforts are underway to make similar pacts between the eleven nations and the alliance, further uniting the continent against Imperial aggression. In addition to the military and economic changes this is bringing to the region, cultural shifts are starting to occur as a sense of a unified Yavhore identity and culture begins to emerge in the face of colonial threat. Time will tell how effective these strategies will be, but it seems clear that the landscape of Yavhore has changed, possibly permanently, one way or the other.
From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 1: Lands and Locations,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997.
6 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Continent of Yavhore”
Really interesting to see. The “mess” of the 11 northern states reminds me in your description a bit of all those single “german” states before becoming “germany” in 1871 xD
And since your showing us all this I’m curious to see in which way this will get relevant for our beloved characters 🙂
Yes! It is kind of like that, actually! Even people from the eleven nations tend to refer to them as a collective, so the possibility that someday it will be one big nation (especially if it’s in response to the threat of Imperial colonial power).
You’ll see pretty soon why this area is important! Or at least why I’ve decided to tell you about it now. We’re going to be seeing Yavhore in person a lot sooner than you think. 🙂 Thanks!
I’m sure that ziggurat isn’t going to prove vitally important, and Aergyre didn’t fuck over themselves and an indeterminate number of others by destroying it. Violating the ruins of ancient civilizations always turns out well! It’s why Egyptian tombs and Indian burial grounds are such popular sites to demolish and build over!
Yes, I’m sure it’s not a big deal! After all, all of those ancient sites are just there taking up space that could be used for parking lots and hotels, and nothing bad ever happens! So I’m sure Aergyre will be fine, what could go wrong. 😀
Something tells me that Aergyre is in for a “pride before the fall” sort of moment. Possibly several.
What? You think that a huge, sprawling empire with an eye to global domination and a profound sense of manifest destiny is about to have a catastrophic setback? When has that ever happened???