Atop the Shoulders of Giants
The Kingdom of Golir has a history almost as long as that of the Nada’Athi empire. Its roots tie back to the founding of a city state along the Golir river in the year Nadan 415. Throughout its long history the citizens of Golir have always seen their nation as the height of civilization, sophistication, and commerce. It is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and has one of the most developed and complex legal systems and culture structures in the world – if not, in fact, the most complex legal system and culture structure respectively.
Geographically Golir is positioned between the Merchant Sea in the south, the Yul River and border with the Kingdom of Keland in the north, the Enchi region to the east, and the lands of the Khalram in the west. Two powerful arms of the Yul River stretch across the midsection of the country, including the namesake of the nation, the river Golir on which the Capitol City is founded. The nation is divided into provinces, each ruled over by the lord or lady of its appointed provincial city.
The following are the provinces of Golir, their provincial city, and the ruling family of each.
- North West – City of Maino – Joreau
- North East – City of Lisil – Darai
- East – City of Nadai – Havek
- South West – City of Fahret – Garin
- South East – City of Tadin – Mael
- Central South – City of Zirel – Tarrison
- Central North – Capitol City – Tisid
In a very strange political arrangement, the nation of Golir is also home to two entire separate nations. The first is the Kret Lansi, or the City of the Sun. Lying just north of the Capitol City of Golir, the Kret Lansi is about the size of a very large town or very small city. It was founded by the elves of the Itchil, a group descended from crusaders who sought to wipe out the last of the cult of the Wraith King just after the devastation of the ancient Dwarven civilization that once occupied the region that is now Golir. These elves were trapped underground after raiding the Dwarven city of Ptoril Dzarfen until their descendents were finally freed in 1243 by a Golirian envoy.
Upon an agreement by Queen Selessai Tisid, the Itchil were allowed to found a sovereign city inside Golirian territory which would only be required to abide by a very small set of Golirian laws, such as those forbidding slave trade and opium use. The exact nature of the arrangement has long since changed, but the Kret Lansi remains a sovereign city ruled over by a separate queen, Queen Iyanil of the Bloody Crown. A rather old elven woman renowned for her skill at the forge, her intimidating demeanor, and her many half-human, half-elven offspring from multiple marriages.
The second nation is a less traditional nation. After the dissolution of the Goblin Nation of the Dark Woods, a very large population of goblins ended up disbursing throughout Enchi and Golir as what became the Migrant Goblin Nation – a large community of transient merchants and communities. The leader of this community is the Grand Merchant who is looked up to and respected by the goblins. In reality, though, the Grand Merchant has almost no power outside the goblin community, and while generally afforded the appropriate respect by the rulers of Golir, is thought of as a joke among most of the Golirian nobility.
Politically Golir is closely allied with – and technically co-ruled with – the Kingdom of Keland to its north. After the marriage of Saul Elward II of Keland and Helena Ariana Tisid of Golir, the two nations were simultaneously ceded to their eldest son Nathanial the Just when his mother and father wished to retire from their political lives. Nathanial, who now actively rules Golir while having appointed a steward for Keland, gained his epithet “the Just” from his service in Golirian court and his dedication as a priest of Saint Zarehkai, the patron saint of mages and nobility. Golir also holds political alliance – primarily through its ally Keland – with the elves of the Olu Lansi and with the Khalram tribe.
Culturally, Golir is a country that often focuses on appearances – leading outsiders to sometimes criticize Golirian customs as vain and vapid. Even among what might usually be called the “common folk” the most frequent subject of casual gossip tends to be the lives of the nobility, the nature of their affairs, and the many scandals they seem to stumble upon. Per capita, Golir has almost twice the number of noble families – and variety of noble titles – as any other nation. Golirian noble titles are taken – by Golirians – very seriously, are very specific, and exist in a very complex hierarchy which effects the standing of the given noble at court. A visiting Nada’Athi aristocrat once wrote of Golirian politics that “there are as many nobles in this land as there are stars in the sky, and a new and potent title for each.”
Golirians also take to public events including plays, concerts, debates, and sports. The sport of choice in Golir is Mage Blade Dueling. The sport is so popular that High King Nathanial the Just and his brother Marias Elward Tisid founded an annual event known as the Midnight Winter Duel which takes place in the Capitol City during the night of the winter solstice each year. The event is extremely expensive to attend, but has never-the-less been an enormous source of revenue for the nation of Golir.
Golir is also home to a great deal of magic users. The city of Lisil, capitol of the North-East province, is home to the Academy Arcanum, the most renowned and respected school of wizardry in the known world. In addition, every other provincial city in the nation keeps a similar, if smaller, school, and the Capitol City is said to house no less than three such institutions, including the Royal Tower of Mages which operates a formal Apprenticeship program for training promising mages who wish to dedicate their work to Golir. Furthermore, in Lisil, the Capitol City, and Telac’Qi, a town in the upper reaches of the Telac Marshes in the south-western reaches of the country, there are boarding school programs to train sorcerers in the theory of magic and the practice of controlling their powers operated by a group known as the Ephemeral Path. The Ephemeral Path, once a group focused on securing legal protections for sorcerers, now focuses its efforts on identifying sorcerers at a young age and encouraging them to enroll the aforementioned schools.
Golir is also the nation with one of the most lucrative markets for magical goods, though the Golirian buyers tend to have a very different focus than those in other markets. Outside the nation of Golir most buyers of magical goods tend either to be looking for something to fit a particular need – a potion to save a life, a scroll to help remove an obstacle, a trinket to improve a business prospect. However in Golir especially – though it is not unheard of elsewhere – many people who can afford it often look to purveyors of magical goods to secure heirlooms – items of notable strength that can be passed down for generations as a family investment. For some families this is a family sword or shield that is kept around to help defend the home or accompany one of the family members into battle if they are called to war. In other families this may be an elaborate necklace meant to be worn at parties to help ease the tensions of social affairs. Even some less lucrative families hold on to a minor magical trinket purchased with family savings that provides some benefit to the family trade or business.
What is more, Golir is known for its public works of magic. Such works, like the Lansi Clock – a giant set of amber rings and a mithril disk suspended hundreds of feet over the Capitol City which tell the date and hour – are great collaborations of magic users to establish notable public improvements or structures which exploit the use of very powerful magic in their implementation. Though not all of them are as notable or famed as the Lansi Clock – which is also purported to be the first such work in the entire world – there are no less than 8 of them around the country. Unfortunately, the quest to create these works is the same one that resulted in the All Fires Forge incident – a disaster in which a miscalculation in an attempt to create a forge that needed no fuel for its fires resulted in an explosion and a city-wide fire in Lisil where it was being made.
One last matter which tends to separate Golir from many other nations is the large number of languages commonly spoken within its borders. The most common language spoken in Golir is, in fact, Golirian. However with the high prevalence of mages in Golir, Dwarven – considered the traditional language of magical instruction – is very prevalent among those with the money to attend one of the academies or hire a tutor. Furthermore, Golsan – the form of Golirian spoken more than three hundred and fifty years ago – is often spoken among the most educated members of Golirian nobility in an attempt to boast their sophistication via demonstrating their mastery of the old tongue. Furthermore, centuries of trade have made Nada’Athi very well known in the south and the east of Golir, and the presence of the Kret Lansi and the traveling goblin merchants has resulted in some mastery of the elven and goblin languages, Quel’Lansi and Jasi respectively.