|The Former Kingdom of Arangoth|
|Ethnic Group:||A mix, but mostly Human.|
|Current Ruler:||Duchy Sithires|
The former Kingdom of Arangoth (Arangair ul Arangoth) is a large sovereign state located in the The Midlands of the main continent, known also as Veth. Once a coalition of Grand Duchies, Arangoth eventually united into a kingdom whose military and economic might have made it one of the most influential realms in its part of the world.
The nation has a strong feudal tradition backed by mighty nobles and powerful knights. Its reign extends over many human cities and villages, along with a substantial dwarven population in the province of Ruthmarna, as well as a former protectorate over the nation of Elvendeep.
The powerful South Arangothian city of Drache recently declared itself independent from the monarch, launching a Civil War, resulting in the fragmentation of the former kingdom and a return to its coalition of Grand Duchies. The current coalition of duchies consists of Transdariania, Ruthmarna, Arania, Sresar Vale, Elgaria, Leptatarna and Minkbrantha.
Main Article: History of Arangoth
Arangoth has a long and colorful history. The Kingdom of Arangoth was first founded nearly five centuries before the present, but civil war half a century ago led to the collapse of the Old Kingdom and the flight of the royal family. Alysia "AngelSin" returned from exile in 465 and was proclaimed queen, but left the kingdom in 467. Prince Arlok ul-Dorn was proclaimed King in Northern Arangoth in 469, then later King of All Arangoth after the reconciliation of Arlok and the Regency Council.
The kingdom spans as far north as Song Deep, east to the Dragonspine Mountains and Elgaria, and as far west as Arania. Its southern coast includes Goat and Shell Island, ending at the Southland Penninsula and Assi tribal lands.
Much of Veth's southern peninsula is plagued by an oscillating, oceanic current. The cold waters that are brought up from Alesia, combined with upwelling, influence the local climate in a drastic manner. While weather systems of this particular latitude are often warm and temperate, the conditions brought up from the deep south cause climate patterns that are more continental by nature.
However, the moderating effects of the ocean ultimately keep weather conditions in the same range as a typical marine climate. In rare instances, winter storms grip the region, occasionally bringing snow. Meanwhile, the temperature contrast with the equator fuels harsh winds that have eroded most of Kahlahra's landscape to the north. Moisture is rapidly wicked from the northern borderlands, creating the grassland steppe that exists there today.
In the summer, a coastal sea fog often times affects all of the port cities, such as Drache. But after the sun rises, the stagnant moisture is rapidly burned off, leading to a spike in radiant heat.
The region as a whole enjoys a good deal of precipitation year-round, save for the north, which is plagued by a rain-shadow effect. Ruthmarna also influences the same conditions in-country with its peaks. At higher elevations, an alpine tundra persists year round.
Further south, towards the coast, heavy rains in the summertime spawn rather productive crop seasons. Meanwhile, the winter is somewhat drier, but sees its share of rain and - even sometimes - snow that leave the southern part of the country overwhelmed.
Government and Politics
Main Article: Politics of Arangoth
Arangoth was originally a confederacy of Grand Duchies before Tagran became the first king of Arangoth. Sithirel, or Dukes, have been the traditional rulers of the various Arangothian provinces for centuries. AngelSin and BLKDRAGON did not follow this tradition, preferring to rule directly from Castle Black. After their abdication, The Raven took over as Regent, though he too soon disappeared. A Regency Council rose to take on the mantle of government in the year 469, until it was disbanded late in the year 473. King Arlok has restored the traditional forms of government and appointed a new Sithire to govern the South on his behalf.
Arangoth is a traditionally feudal nation, with strong nobles that command the loyalty of their vassals and peasants living under their domain.
Society and Peoples
The Arangothian Calendar closely mirrors that used in the "real world." The Arangothian year 470 = AD 2000, and indicates that 470 years have passed since the founding of the city of Tagrana (which marked the origin of the Kingdom of Arangoth). The months and days of the week have Arangothian names, and there are a number of Arangothian holidays.
The three major ritual events in a person's life are generally the Brakerrat or rite-of-passage ceremony at age thirteen; the marriage ceremony; and the funerary rites. Each of these has a customary form in Arangoth: for example, the Arangothian wedding generally takes place at home, and the participants wear green. There are also number of popular song and dance genres in Arangoth, as well as music of the royal court. For the past seventy years or so, one of the most popular genres has been the leturek.
The most common religion among native Arangothians recognizes two supreme dualistic powers, Menxvan and Menxruk. The Royal Church in Drache, with Father Kylus Dragonsbane at its head, is by contrast open to many faiths, though Father Kylus himself follows a deity known in Arangoth as Pallodain. An extreme Menxvanic sect which has recently had some impact is the Cult of the Silver Flame, strongly opposed to magic-use.
The year AD 2000 is equivalent to the Arangothian year 470. Years are dated traditionally from the founding of the city of Tagrana on the shores of Song Deep, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Arangoth until the Civil War of the year 415. The Arangothian system of numbering years was adopted by several neighboring states at a Council on Dating held on the Isles of Myst during the reign of King Ware "Sith" of Arangoth. In fact, the council had been arranged to discuss a different kind of dating altogether: namely, how to coordinate blind dates between the youths of different royal and noble families in the region. The delegates considered this a rather thorny issue and were eager for some easy way out. The Arangothian delegate suggested that they interpret the topic of "dating" as instead meaning calendar reform, and in their gratitude the other members of the conference agreed to adopt the Arangothian year. The states involved included Rondis, Aslar, and Elvendeep, all of which observe the same year as Arangoth.
In writing, one would express the date March 25, 465 (the day that AngelSin claimed the throne of Arangoth) as, "The twenty-fifth day of First Seed in the four hundred and sixty-fifth year from the founding of Tagrana." The more common shorthand form of this date would written "25. III. 465."
The Royal Church in Drache, with Father Kylus Dragonsbane at its head, is by contrast open to many faiths, though Father Kylus himself follows a deity known in Arangoth as Pallodain. However, the most common religion among native Arangothians is Menxism, which recognizes two supreme dualistic powers, Menxvan and Menxruk.
Main Article: Arangothek
Arangothek is the native language of the kingdom. It is an inflected language of the Goxo-Limbrian language family with some vocabulary borrowed from Igmerind in the distant past. There are some nonstandard dialects, such as those spoken in the Sresar Vale and in Outer Arangoth, but over the main expanse of the Arangothian kingdom the language is fairly consistent. Arangothek is written in its own distinctive script.
Main Article: Common Arangothian Names
Kenglith, Marnuth, Alathar, Alfrith, Asproth, Dorn, Bralk, Branth, Sarnem, Ware, Sanglith, Oryan, Fenduth, Huixon, Folvaholk, Kukarek, Arduin, Amurath, Forban, Herbord, Anskar, Gerd, Rafold, Aladar, Donnovath, Sivrian, Perlim, Aritz, Marxion, Rathek, Folvatir. [Recently many parents have also been naming their sons "Kylus," "Metzen," and "Bolk," the last being the closest they can come to pronouncing "BLK."]
Delvige, Silge, Dekressa, Silmdinth, Serpessa, Sarla, Tarla, Rixte, Palandra, Perlegi, Peraldinth, Pellatgi, Nimpet, Sarlakelet, Thrinda, Lermat, Leptat, Hurnmilve, Gordge, Nistgi, Gessipir, Valknandra, Nedixe, Nepse, Neskessa, Melinxa. [Recently the names "Lex," "Lixa," and "Alysia" have also become popular.]
Aborod, Anquodire, Appodarod, Aptentrod, Arlothek, Arnak, Blanire, Bobire, Branissod, Brogod, Dabalbire, Daranek, Silad, Senketh, Sallod, Rixtire, Ruthmire, Quarflis, Pinek, Parmilod, Orgod, Pallod, Netrilod, Neserpix, Nerxod, Nelxik, Nege, Flinod, Folvad, Galebrod, Mitrod.
Note: typically a person will take his or her father's name as a middle name, preceded by the prefix ul-, for example:
Kenglith ul-Alathar Mitrod
(i.e. Kenglith Mitrod, son of Alathar Mitrod.)
Serpessa ul-Fenduth Quarflis
(i.e. Serpessa Quarflis, daughter of Fenduth Quarflis.)
Note that Arangothian on its most basic level isn't written in the Latin alphabet but in a script of its own. What that means is that there's nothing even vaguely "official" about any particular spellings of Arangothian words or names. And K can generally be replaced with C or CK.
And if people are unhappy with the sound of "Arangothian," it would do no great violence to it to substitute other sounds for those that are objectionable. For example, some individuals pronounce the sound "X" either as "sh" or "zh" whenever it appears in a word or name. It would make just as much sense to write "Menshruc" or "Mengerook" as Menxruk, or "Nadeesha" or "Nedygea" for the feminine name Nedixe. You don't have to use the names on the list for your character to be an "authentic" Arangothian; there have been plenty of characters with names that don't appear on this list.
(As a very, very rough rule, male names frequently end in -TH, and female names frequently end in -ESSA if you need to make up a name quickly.)
Customs and Rituals
Main Article: Arangothian Customs and Rituals
In Arangoth, the three major ritual events in a person's life are generally the brakerrat or rite-of-passage ceremony at age thirteen; the marriage ceremony; and the funerary rites. Each of these has a customary form in Arangoth: for example, the Arangothian wedding generally takes place at home, and the participants wear green.
There are a number of popular song and dance genres in Arangoth, as well as music of the royal court. For the past seventy years or so, one of the most popular genres has been the leturek.
All three of the following were composed by Feaster in midi format.
Main Article: Grubball
Grubball is the national sport of Arangoth, with a professional league of 16 teams from around the country and from foreign lands. The Arangothian Grubball League, or AGL, consists of 16 teams from or around Arangoth, with the Isles of Myst fielding a team in place of Goat Island which went bankrupt following the 470 season. A season consists of 30 games in which each team plays each other twice, once at home and once away. Following the 30-game regular season is a postseason playoff. Originally the top two teams played a 5-game series with the winning claiming the Season Championship as well as the Arlok Cup. The winner of the AGL championship goes on to take part in the International Grubball Association, or IGA, playing teams from the surrounding countries.
Main Page: Arangothian Currency
The coins minted in Arangoth are lurinthoons (gold coins), rixtles (silver coins), and quaspins (copper coins). Drache is a port city that thrives on commerce, so there are almost as many currencies in circulation in Drache as there are foreign visitors to the city. To make transactions easier with this baffling array of coinage, the most common financial unit in Drache is the Bank Crown, which is a banking unit used for accounting and moneychanging. Most businesses and even the government in Drache sets values in Bank Crowns, which are then either collected or paid out in various currencies. In Arangoth, the rixtle piece, a silver coin, is equivalent to the value of a Bank Crown.
The average resident of the Wharf District has a "monetary value" of 12 bank crowns; in the Red Lantern District it's 8. That's basically the amount of money these people could get if they sold everything they owned (except very basic things like the clothes off their backs) and combined that with all their cash on hand. These people don't really have *any* savings and very little property, and would probably be destitute in a week or so without working or stealing. On average the minimum cost for food and lodgings in Drache for a week is about 4-5 bank Crowns, which leaves little leftover in the way for savings.
Writing and Printing Methods
The vellum (sheepskin) scroll is still the most common form of private letter, and is generally wrapped around a thin wooden dowel with a knob on either end, and then tied shut with a string or ribbon. Most letters are sent in small leather pouches tied shut with something resembling a shoelace. However, rag paper is also used for letters, and since it comes in rectangular sheets, it is not rolled but rather folded and closed up into an 'envelope' sealed generally with either wax or wheat paste. There is no official postal service in Arangoth, but letter-carriers may be hired cheaply for cross-city communication. It costs rather more to send letters between cities, and there are a couple of companies specializing in this area, such as the Mankrastro Courier Service. Slates and wax tablets are common where reusable writing surfaces are needed.
The "book" in Arangoth does not open to the left and right, but rather to the top and bottom, with the spine oriented horizontally. Library desks thus resemble V-shaped chicken-feeding troughs. These are still mostly made from vellum, and are copied by hand. However, it is probably only a matter of time before such books will be produced using the acid-etching technique on rag paper. Bindings are made either of vellum or leather, with metallic clasps and gilding. Covers are also often painted with miniature paintings of fairly high artistic merit. Books remain extraordinarily expensive. Rumormills and political pamphlets are much cheaper, but must face both the low literacy rate in Drache and a social stigma against reading "trash" literature as opposed to the Arangothian classics. Some rag paper is manufactured locally, and there are a few distinctive Drache watermarks, such as a bull's head, and an anchor in a circle. The paper used for The Rumormill printing and political pamphlets is of very low quality.
Printing images using woodcuts has been known in Arangoth for some time now. However, the procedure of preparing such woodcuts is difficult and time-consuming, and has not been used for written texts. Mostly the technique has been used for producing religious icons, and still is. A few years ago, a new technique for producing printing blocks was developed by an artist in Arania named Nistgi Lakrak. She took zinc plates and coated them with several layers of wax. Into this wax she drew an image with a stylus, leaving the zinc surface exposed there. After she was finished, she placed the zinc into an acidic bath. The acid etched the exposed lines of the drawing into the zinc plate, but did not eat through the areas still covered with wax. Next, the wax was melted off from the plate, and a mirror-image mold was made of a semiporous material the composition of which is still not widely known. This mold was then sanded down (the etched lines were intially of uneven depth) and, once inked, could be used to produce copies on rag paper.
This technique of print-making quickly spread to Drache, where the Rumormill adopted it for reproducing plates covered with writing rather than graphic images. The Rumormill has also innovated by placing the print plates into an adapted wine-press, whereas Nistgi Lakrak had simply weighted down each print with stones. The Rumormill is said to have a dozen such presses in operation.
For a short while the Rumormill monopolized this new technology, but recently it appears that the technique has been learned by other craftsmen in the city. It is estimated that there are between three and five different establishments in the city running presses using the acid-etching technique to reproduce the written word. One such establishment, the Crowned Swan Press, is the first to use the technique to produce entire printed books and offer them for sale. Their offerings include Arangothian classics such as Quarkelet's Dream of the Nine Otherworlds, Vansilad's Bestiary, Sangliod's Compleat Herbalist, The Mirror of Nobility, and The Minstrel's Companion.