Atop the Shoulders of Giants
The City-States of Leiln – generally just called “Leiln” – is a nation of confederated city states, each occupying a separate island in the Naelic ocean. Five of these island cities form the Leilgran archipelago, about seven hundred miles east of the mouth of the Merchant Sea. The cities are thirteen in total, controlling a total of 20 islands among them.
The largest island, Hargos, lies less than seventy miles off the south-eastern coast of Kiyi-Jini-Antu near the border between the Yiji-Antu jungle and the lands of Kefran. The city of Vatrum on the island of Hargos operates as the capital of the nation. Once per year the council of 13 city governors meets in Hargos for the winter season to decide on matters of national importance. The council, called the Confederate Council, is also known to convene in times of emergency or in the event of major external developments.
Nationally, Leiln maintains very few trade restrictions or tariffs. It has a very short list of national contraband (mostly heavy narcotics) and outlaws slavery, but otherwise leaves trade regulation to the cities themselves. This, as well as the ability of Leiln to trade with the native populations of the Greenlands – the continent on the far side of the Naelic ocean – has made Leiln a common stop for trading vessels in the 150 years since its inception. Prior to the formation of the council and the alliance between the city-states the waters of the East Sea (the area of the Naelic ocean between the mouth of the Merchant Sea and the Leilgran archipelago) were plagued with pirate activity. When the council was formed about half of the pirate groups were swept up into the alliance and ceased their more antagonistic style of activities. The other half were forced out of the east sea into the Merchant Sea – ultimately resulting the Pirate War in the early 1600’s between the remaining pirate factions and the nation of Golir.
Culturally, the separate islands of Leiln have a great deal of distinction between them, but one constant throughout the nation is a close connection to the ocean and to sailing. More than 90% of the commerce of the nation is tied to sea-faring, and close to 50% of the population of most islands are descendants of Nada’Athi merchants who helped settle the major cities. The remaining population is primarily local tribes, some resembling the native population of the Yiji-Antu jungle, and others more closely resembling the population of the Greenlands.
In 1620 the council members of Leiln foresaw trouble with the growing Nada’Athi Empire and the newly united Holy States. In response they appointed an ambassador to approach the nation of Kefran with an offer of alliance. Their halfling neighbors took what the council saw as a simple and straightforward arrangement for mutual assurances and protections in the coming political climate and inadvertently turned it into a matter of political necessity. By the end of the resulting two year civil war in Kefran the institution of the East-Sea Alliance was a no longer politically optional for either party. Not only was the alliance formed, but it was forced to issue immediate notices of opposition to Nada’Athi authorities, cleanly severing all but the most tenuous ties of convenience between Leiln and its largest trade partner.