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Istilléa

Type of Government

Totalitarian dictatorship

Ruler

Rehschte

Population

Unknown

Region

Asagari Desert

Capital

The Granite Palace

The nation of Istilia is a subterranian territory found below the sands of the Asagari Desert.

HistoryEdit

Istilia is perhaps the oldest singular nation on Ebycene, dating its founding to before the Fall and the schism between the territories of Arncora and Rivenia. Before the usurpation of the throne by Rehschte, it was ruled by a tribunal headed by a high priest. When Rehschte took power immediately following the Fracture, the tribunal and its priest were put to the sword.

GeographyEdit

Unlike most nations on Ebycene, Istilia is found almost entirely underground. The entrance to the subterranian caves are often covered by the sands of the Asagari Desert, though a few are known only to the inhabitants of the desert. As such, most people who enter the desert in hopes of finding the nation end up wandering the sand until their death, or contract Desert Lung before they have the opportunity to find one of the entrances. The nation itself is carved into the sunken mountain ranges and held together by Rehschte's magic. The only water found there is in deep wells at the hearts of smaller cities. Bioluminescent mushrooms and moulds serve as both light sources and nutrition.

GovernmentEdit

The government is controlled entirely by Rehschte, the Eternal King. He rules the territory with an iron fist from the centre of the most ancient structure in the network, the Granite Palace, which at one time was said to be carved from the heart of a volcano. While those stories are no longer told, it was true. In its prime, Istilia's capitol city was considered the jewel of Ebycene. Rehstche came to power eons before the fall of the ancient Istillari society, but his age is considered a gift from their gods rather than something to be suspicious of. Law requires a sacrifice to be given to Rehstche every fifty years, so that he may continue to live and protect the society from harm with his ancient magicks, all of which are a lost artform of the Istillari people.

SocietyEdit

The dwellers of the Asagari Desert are mistakenly called Istilliens by Arncoran/Rivenian censure methods. They call themselves the 'Istillari,' or literally 'the children of the stars' in their tongue. Use the ruins of centuries-dead civilisations as their homes, built underground (technically this information is incorrect; at the time of their construction, the ruins were built above ground. After centuries of wear and decay, the desert has reclaimed the ruins, but the King's magic protects the colonies from being swarmed by the sand). People are pale, with massive, white eyes, large pupils, and very long, white hair. Rarely, a child with darker hair is born; these children are never in the community for long. They are almost always called 'Barrani', meaning 'stranger' for their rakh, and they almost always leave. As such, the only Istilliens that the Arcoran government is familiar with is the dark-haired people who tell stories about their pale relatives.

Children are not given names until they reach the age of fifteen. They are called 'Tfal' until that day, the name being the word for 'child'. Their last name is still the name of their father's first name + ish. Names are given based on their 'rakh'--the destiny as foretold by the stars. The word for 'name' and 'destiny' are the same in the Istillari tongue. The suffix -ish denotes 'child of'. Names are chosen by a small council of Elders who are said to use magick in order to fortell the child's destiny, and are named in concordance with their fate.

StarsEdit

The stars were once a very important aspect of Istillari culture. The magick system was rooted in the peoples' pact with their gods, and were chosen by the gods themselves to act as guardians for the celestial bodies. When an Istillari is born, an Elder is sent from the Waystation with a single luminescent stone whose origins is known only to Rehschte and the Elders. The stone is taken by an acolyte, who fashion the stone into a pendant that is worn by the child until the day that they die. This stone is, according to legend, a literal manifestation of the stars, and it was once said that when the keeper died, the star would be released to the heavens to guard over the people in exchange for their dedication.

However, when Rehstche came to power, he began to demand the sacrifice of the stars to fuel his magicks. When a child reaches maturity (seventeen), they are forced to make the pilgrimage to the centre of the Granite Palace to offer their star to the king in person. Every so often, the child does not return. It is said that those children who do not return were found unworthy by the king, and their life was needed as an extra sacrifice to keep the rest of the country safe for another year.

Tattoos and PiercingsEdit

The Istillari people etch the essence of landmark moments of their life into their flesh with ink and metal. The first tattoo is the one given on their Name Day when they turn fifteen, and it is their name as spoken by the stars to the elder who gave the child their name. This tattoo is the first of many. Two years later, the child is given the Mark of Return on the back of their neck, which is a simple diamond and signifies the passage into adulthood.

Other events include marriages, notable deaths, battles, the birth of children, etc. An elder Istillari is often covered in tattoos, showing the signs of experience of a life well-lived.

Piercings are typically reserved for women as a means of improving one's desirability, though they rarely are excessive. Most women of marriable age have at least one facial piercing (though many have more), most often being the labret or an eyebrow piercing. Nearly all adult citizens (be it men or women) have upper ear cartilage piercings.

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