Atop the Shoulders of Giants
The Xio-Shin Monarchy, so called because it is ruled over by the Xio-Shin family, occupies the land west of the Nada’Fan, on the far side of the mountains that all but surround the Bali Desert. The Monarchy – formally called “The Glorious State” by its inhabitants – occupies a total area approximately equivalent to the area of the nation of Golir, but much more spread out than the Golirian territory.
Geography and Government
The Monarchy is often considered as having two parts, the north and the south. Each part has its own judicial capital, so called not because it passes laws but because it is tasked with enforcing them. And finally either division of the Monarchy has its own strengths in terms of what it brings to the nation as a whole.
The northern portion of the Monarchy stretches from where the territory of the nation first touches the Merchant Sea up to where it touches the southern boarders of Brok’Tad. This part of the Monarchy is generally considered to be very trade focused, and welcomes traders, investors, and entrepreneurs to its cities with enthusiasm. This is also the more fertile part of the Monarchy and provides over 80% of the food needed throughout the entire nation. The north is also the least spread out and is roughly octagonal on a map with about as many major cities as the shape has points. The judicial capital of the area is the city of Ro-Wen which lies on the western coast near the northern border.
The southern portion of the Monarchy stretches a long way down the continent between the extensive Tiel’s Bite mountain range and the western coast. The exact southern border of the Monarchy is a matter of some dispute between the local officials, who claim to control the lands all the way to the southern coast of the continent, and a number of giant tribes that claim to occupy and effectively control an area of about four hundred square miles near the southern tip of the continent. The southern portion of the Monarchy is often considered less valuable than the north because its farm land is much less fertile and it has a much lower population than the northern portion. However, in the mountains of the south are numerous valuable mines the provide precious metals, minerals, and other useful materials to the Monarchy. The judicial capital of the south is Goruna, a coastal city about even in latitude with the Huulen mountains which form the southern border of the Nada’Fan.
The Monarchy as a whole is ruled over by the “Glorious Monarch” – a position filled by a member of the Xio-Shin family. The succession of this position, however, is not always intuitive to outsiders as it relies on a number of factors. In the event of succession – i.e. the previous monarch has died as they are strictly forbidden to retire – the next in line is determined by what is called “Royal Favor”. In essence the closer in blood relation to the recently deceased monarch, the higher one’s Royal Favor is, however having been appointed to a position of power by the monarch increases ones royal favor relative to the amount of power that position came with. So, among blood children of a monarch, the one who was given the most responsibility and power is the one with the most Royal Favor. Furthermore, adopted children – generally considered to have as much Royal Favor as a grandchild – who are appointed to a high enough position relative to any positions held by blood children can surpass the blood children in Royal Favor. The methods for balancing and determining favor are so complex, in fact, that one of the express tasks of the Royal Scholar is to be an expert on the matter and maintain estimations of favor at all times to expedite succession in the event of an untimely death.
The national language of the Xio-Shin Monarchy is Weizho. All legal and political transactions are required by law to take place in Weizho, though business may be conducted in any language – the most common of which are Nada’Athi and Daenan. The Monarchy has neither a state nor a common religion in the traditional sense, but the vast majority of its citizens hold to the philosophy of Tsong Neyo. Practically this means that many outsiders find visiting the Monarchy to be an odd and uncomfortable experience as they usually have to acquire the services of a translator, and most of the people they encounter deal with them at a distance – even if the dealings are ostensible friendly in nature.
In terms of external politics, the Monarchy is on tentative terms with the vast majority of its neighbors. It trades regularly with cities in Bork’Tad, Sef, the Nada’Fan, the Obsidian Isles, and several other Merchant Sea nations, but as a nation the Monarchy refuses most offers of alliance or treaties ensuring anything other than basic precepts of peace. The reason for this stems from the Tsong Neyo philosophy which leads most people of the Monarchy to view political ties to foreign lands to be threats to the simpler, more natural order of things.
In particular, however, the Xio-Shin Monarchy is generally considered politically adverse to the Nada’Athi empire ever since the Lu Paei family came to power there. The Lu Paei family was driven into exile during the very same war that established the Xio-Shin family as sole monarchs of the entire nation. There have not been any armed conflict between the Xio-Shin Monarchy and the empire, but tensions have always been high.
Perhaps the singular neighbor which is considered truly friendly to the Xio-Shin Monarchy is Ptolzi A Brafnen which lies deep in one of the mountain ranges between the southern stretches of the Xio-Shin and Kefran. Precisely why relations between the Monarchy and the dwarven city are so good is a mystery to most of the outside world, but the fact remains that they have managed to establish relatively excellent cultural relations between the two groups.