- Parent: Nations
- Capital: Angamij
- Population: 291,700 (Human’s 76% mustadi 19%, andra 1 %
- Government: Individual tribes
- Religions: Nine Daughters, Mustadi, Totemism
- Imports: iron, silver, gold, ores, fish, cotton
- Exports: jewelry, ivory, obsidian, livestock, wine
- Alignments: CN, LN, CG
Life and Society
The nation is crisscrossed with wide roads, remnants of the empire that ruled over this area twenty-five thousand years ago. Along these roads scores of towns and villages have grown, with larger tent cities marking larger crossroads. Immense standing stones identify the center of every village, town, and city, massive menhirs that house ancient wells and cold, shadowy places of power from the lost civilization. The settlements grow around these rocks, spiraling out and attracting the immigrants and pilgrims who no longer follow the nomadic ways of the many tribes in the land.
The nomadic tribes dominate most of the population, large trains of people called tsabil (za-BEEL) grazing livestock and collecting grains and fruits as they meander along the pathways through Kastea. Each tribe carries its own rules and customs, though all are stringent in carrying the history of their tribe with them, recorded in the written words and spoken through song and poetry. Tribes split and merge often, with conflict and disease decimating troupes and forcing them to combine, while boon times and success cause tribes to grow too large as to need to break apart. Most nomadic tribes number between fifty and one hundred members with many oxen and donkey carting their roaming meej, or tent-town, along the roads.
Where members of the meej decide to stop roaming, the towns and cities offer industry approximating typical cities, with people trading with the tsabil who gather grains, making foods and wines, trading for livestock for the slaughter, and fashioning goods for trade with other lands. Typical towns and cities are like open air markets, with very few permanent buildings and none of those taller than two stories.
Major Geographical Features
Kastea is a savannah and plains nation, a collection of tribes and cities spread across a plain that descends from the highlands along the Ziad Forest and the western foothills of the Gablemist Mountains. The Landsever River tumbles powerfully along for one hundred fifty miles to form a natural border to the east with Soullivaria. From the Citrine Sea in the south, the western border climbs north through The Giantscar to meet the northern boundary with Shoulan of the Bephalon Union. The land slopes for miles downward to the west and the cliffs and mesa of the Giantscar, a vast green and tan sea of grasses and grains leading to the renowned canyon. Yearly flooding of the Landsever fills the area and it’s aquifers with cold water and healthy soil, allowing corn, millet, wheat, and rice to grow almost unchecked throughout the region.
Most of this stretch of canyon falls within the board of Kastea, but the remoteness of its areas, the intricacies of the paths into and out of the chasms, and the sheer size of it make the Giantscar almost a dominion all to itself. Cliffs plunge thousands of feet from the plateau, with mesa, crags, and columns dispersed throughout the rift’s seven thousand square miles. The Stearehn River has carved its way through the land for countless years, leaving behind fantastic vistas and dangerous terrain where many humans and humanoids have made their home. Wolves and goats abound, rothe roam the canyon floor, fish are plentiful, and larger predators dot the cliff-sides, hunting among this diverse bounty.
The Grey Sea
The blighted area of a few dozen square miles marks the impact of some object from the sky that hurtled to earth and left a middling sized crater a quarter of a mile across. The deep bowl depression was fused to a black obsidian polish, and since the collision, nothing has grown out of the ground from the area nearby, with all vegetation taking on a pale, ashen color and becoming brittle to the touch. Wanderers bring tools and strike pieces of the black obsidian substance, which is said to have mysterious powers for increasing magic power, strength, and virility.
Heavy storms fill the Orphan Peaks with snow deep enough to hide a giant, and sporadic melts send the streams in the hills roiling to contribute to the wide, deep, and powerful Stearehn (STEER-en) River. Flowing off to the northwest, the river spills in massive falls to the bottom of the Giantscar. Miles wide at some points, and then narrowing to rapids as swift as a horse, it makes its way over three hundred miles before disappearing into the ground. Some believe it eventually empties out deep in the Opal Sea to the South, while some hope to navigate its depths to lost civilizations far from the lands of light.
Angamij (City 19,800)
What counts as the largest city in Kastea also counts as its de facto capital. Tsabils are known to bring their grievances with one another here to settle them through words or combat trials, the better to keep the peace on the plains. Kasteans all know that feuds and wars destroy the crops, and that means hungry children. Also negotiated here are many trade agreements for harvesters and shepherds. Most goods that come to Kastea from beyond the borders usually ends up here for trade. With nine separate roads leading away from the slick green stone of the one-hundred foot tall Glastine Tower, Angamij seems to sit in the middle of the turning wheel that is the plains of Kastea.
A towering yellow-stained monument to a city no more, the Forlorn Stone stands alone in the plains in the south of Kastea. The once-thriving town of Saplank stood around it for many years, before wars took the men and tremor in the ground dumped a sulfurous and salty taste to the ground water. Everyone left in the town disbanded, and scavengers have slowly removed everything in the area that once held value. Bandits sometimes meet here and spend time until pushed off by nearby authorities or the coming of a larger tsabil.
Ruiknod (Town 2,050)
Ruiknod sits on the floor of the Giantscar, dusty tents and lean-tos wrapped around the fractured monolithic stone alternately called Unilit or, simply, “The Thumb”. Worn to a nub by vandalism and centuries of winds, the soft stone monument at the center of the town is renowned for stealing bad luck from those who touch it. Locals, however, are loathe to allow this, lest the poor karma delivered visit upon the citizens of the town. Thus, the waste high stone now stands at the center of an open air guard post, generally off-limits to everyone but the most storied and ancient inhabitants of the town.
Sianod (Town 3,879)
Sianod is a town built on one of the larger plateaus on the Giantscar. Access to the town is by series of switchbacks headed up one of the cliff faces, with separate trails for ascending and descending. Mules, camels and horses are bred specifically for this type of canyon travel, as other animals can get so skittish as to plunge off the narrow trails. Sianod is famous for the breeders that supply these animals, and use the vast plateau to graze their animals on the succulents and coarse grasses that thrive here. The Gatalay monument lies at the center of this town, with odd scribbling of a foreign language all over its base. The pale and worn down stubs of an ancient road run in perpendicular lines out of this town, ending at the cliffs and suggesting roads that were built when the Giantscar did not exist.
The latticework of roads that cross the plains of Kastea, as well as the menhirs and tumbled ruins, are what remain of a civilization that historians place as far back as twenty-five thousand years. Exactly who it was that inhabited the area remains hotly debated. While artifacts have been found of unique artistic style and singular properties, what they point to, apart from something humanoid, remains disputed among the most learned scholars.
Kastea is currently populated by the migrants who first came to the eastern continental coast two to three thousand years ago. Agnethe blood heavily mixed with saunean, and the resulting population appears restless, being one with the land but still struggling with the habitual desire to settle down. The result is a migratory pattern that has been part of tradition for centuries now.
Migration, in turn, has acted as a swirling current for values, religion, history, and power. Ideas and innovations have been adopted and discarded over generations, and threats have come and gone, but the customs remain largely the same among the people of Kastea.