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|Estimated Land Mass||2,360,000 sq mi|
|Race Distribution||80%H, 15%W, 4.9%G, 0.1%P|
|Racial Breakdown||6.8 mil humans; 1.36 mil wicks; 416,000 galdori; 8,500 passives|
|Currency||Concord, Underworld Currency|
|Languages||Estuan, Tek, Riverword|
|Play Status||OPEN for Play|
The god of beauty, Hurte, is said to patronize the Kingdom of Bastia, and it is widely believed - for good reason. Bastia is a haven of art and intellect, with cities noted for their aesthetic design and impeccable upkeep. Florne, the capital city, is well-known for its stunning waterways and incredible sights, including a world class menagerie, many miraan parks, and rose and butterfly gardens. Bastia has been widely considered to be the technological apex of the Six Kingdoms since the mid-2400s; in the last fifty or so years, other kingdoms have slowly encroached on its prowess, although Bastia seems to have been slow to realize its relative decline.
Climate and Topography
Bastia has a temperate climate, and the majority of the country is lowlands, with mountainous regions along the border with Hesse and in the far southwestern corner. The kingdom has five very differentiated seasons: cold winters, chilly springs, a warming rainy season, a humid summer, a hot dry season, and a cool, wet autumn, all of which it shares with its neighbor Anaxas. These seasons define how produce is grown, the migratory patterns of animals and nomadic wicks, and give all races a very reliable calendar to follow with celebrations and observances.
The northeastern part of Bastia is cooler, reaching just into negative temperatures in Fahrenheit; the western region, stays slightly warmer year round in the lowlands, although temperatures drop quickly as one climbs into the mountains. The southeastern region is the warmest, and well-regarded for its temperate climate.
Bastia is largely flat, with rolling hills that lead into the two mountain ranges along the country’s southernmost border. The country has a number of rivers and lakes, including the Leirres, which runs all the way from the Cea di Vesta to Bastia’s southernmost mountain range, and which separates the eastern and western parts of the country. Bastia’s major lakes include Lake Talarma, where the Talarma river flows from into the Tincta Basta, and the series of smaller lakes off of the Golfo di Galkan, which define the boundary between Bastia and Hesse.
The southern region of Bastia is extremely fertile, with lowland and timber farms both prospering there. The northern edge of the country runs along the Cea di Vesta, where extensive ruins can be found, and has a large bay against the Quiet Sea, populated only by small fishing villages these days.
Top Cities by Population
- Florne (28%) = 2.38 million
- Anastou (20%) = 1.7 million
- Caroult (20%) = 1.7 million
- Tiv (13%) = 1.1 million
~19% of the Bastian population are scattered throughout the rest of the Kingdom in minor cities, towns, and farming villages. The majority of nomadic wicks spend their time moving between Anaxas, Bastia, and Hesse on a seasonal basis, often causing the other two kingdoms' population of wicks to grow and swell depending on the time of year and availability of wild game and trade goods.
Bastia is divided into three regions:
- Florne: The capital of Bastia, which sprawls across the small islands that make up the edge of Lake Talarma and onto the bank beyond; the lake never freezes, even in the depths of winter, and the city’s elaborate canal system is used year-round as a method of transportation; long, flat-bottomed boats with a high prow and stern known as kontoura are as popular for getting around Florne as carriages.
- Miraan Parks: Owing to their proximity with Hesse, miraan have always been an exceptionally popular pet in Bastia. A brief fashion among Florne’s elite for having flocks of Miraan roughly fifty years ago resulted in vast overpopulation of miraan within the city; the government of Florne responded by creating several designated Miraan Parks, which are areas in Florne where homes for the miraan have been set up, and where they are fed and cared for by specialized attendants. Although the miraan are not forced to stay in these areas (and, in fact, it is not uncommon to see semi-wild miraan flitting through the city), most of the city’s miraan population now lives in these parks, which are open to visitors for a small fee.
- Ambrosia’s Garden: A butterfly garden established by one of Bastia’s queens to make a home for migrating butterflies whose routes pass through Florne. There are three or four such species which stop twice per year in the gardens, in the spring and rainy season headed north, and in autumn headed south. Pronouncements are made across the city when the butterflies are expected, and tourists can pay to go and see trees covered from roots to crown in butterflies in a magnificent array of colors and to feed them (expensive, purchased) nectar.
- Garden di Rhodon: A rose garden built by one of the Kings of Bastia, whose nickname was Rhodon. Most of the roses in the garden are hardier species or more delicate blooms bred over the centuries (by secular and magical means) to be able to survive the winters of Florne. The centerpiece of the garden is a greenhouse made of rose-colored glass, where roses of exceptional delicacy are housed; the walls of the greenhouse are covered with climbing roses inside and out.
- Menagerie di Tigressa: A whole island on the northernmost edge of Florne has been dedicated to this menagerie, which houses an impressive collection of animals from across the six kingdoms. The only exception is that, in fact, the menagerie has no tigers; upon its creation, tigers were the centerpiece of the menagerie, but the Archevne came together and decided that - as tigers are sacred to Hurte - keeping them in captivity was an offense to Her. The enormous, elaborate tiger enclosure at the center of the menagerie has been left empty ever since in tribute, and is a common place where Bastian teenagers home in Florne for the summer or winter holidays sneak into for privacy.
- Palace di Anthos: The Palace di Anthos is located on the easternmost island of Florne. The entire island is surrounded by an enormous wrought iron fence with elaborate rose-thorn designs at the top of each spike. A single bridge extends from the center of the island to the rest of the city, with gates on either end guarded at all hours by a special legion of the Gen’darame Bund Di Bastia. Marble tigers guard the walkway from the gates up to the center of the enormous multistory palace. The front is a traditional Bastian architectural style with a square front facade and white marble columns capped with rose designs (known as Flornian columns, although it is not clear whether the name or the columns came first). Inside, the palace’s many halls and rooms are resplendent with decorations of gold, jewels and elaborate tapestries. The portrait hall, which is alleged to have a portrait of every Bastian King and Queen, wraps around the entire front half of the palace, and is considered a national treasure.
- Sancttedem di Hurte or "Sanctum of Beauty," the biggest temple in Florne and the home of Bastia's religious power: The Archevne. The Sancttedem di Hurte is located on its own island in the midst of the city, with ten elaborate stone walkways which connect it to the surrounding streets, each dedicated to one of the Circle Gods. The largest and most popular walkway (and the most beautiful) is Hurte’s, with elaborate marble tigers decorating both ends of it, with inlaid gold covering their backs and making stripes down their sides. Petitioners often chose their walkway deliberately depending on whether they are seeking the favor of another God as well as Hurte’s. The only exception is Naulas - it is considered extremely bad luck to cross to the temple on Naulas’s bridge. Even when maintenance is done on the bridge, the workers will never actually cross the bridge, but will work on one half coming and going from the temple, then use another bridge to cross to the other side and work from there. The temple itself is carved of pure white marble imported from Hesse. The dome of the temple is covered in fragments of tiger’s eye gemstones, intermingled sparkling veins of gold in an elaborate pattern which is said to have never once needed repair in the centuries since its creation.
- Convocation of the Archevne: The innermost section of the Sancttedem de Hurte, where the Archevne is based; only members of the Archevne and the Gidarr Hurteth are allowed to even approach the gates into the convocation, let alone enter.
- Venili: Venli is a small, poor human town, located east of Florne near the Anaxi border, which is home to several large factories and has unusually bad air quality.
- Sielan: Sielan is the fashion capital of Bastia, located in the mountains just south of Florne; Sielans, at least, claim that Sielan sets the fashion in at least the mainland, and perhaps all Six Kingdoms.
- Crocegigia: This small region formerly contained farmland, but now is one of several industrial sites in Eastern Bastia, located not far from the Leirres River.
- University of Anastou: The university, nicknamed Anastou / Anastou University, was named after one of Bastia’s founders, Zaharias Anastou. Anastou is not quite as old as Brunnhold but still one of the oldest magic schools in Vita. The intellectual and magical rivalry between Anastou and Brunnhold is near-legendary, and has been going for over two thousand years. Anastou is located between Bastia’s northern and southern mountain ranges, close to the border with Hesse.
- Tessalon: Tessalon is a port city located on the northernmost edge of the Golfo di Galkan. It is the southernmost city in Bastia today, located south of Anastou. It is known for sweeping white sand beaches, an impressive range of fish and seafood based dishes, and warm, sunny weather. Small resorts dot the long curve of land to the east of it, historically popular vacation sites for the professors of Anastou.
- Caroult: Caroult is an old city carved deep in the southwest mountains of Bastia. It is rumored to be one of the oldest cities in Bastia, and contains many temples and various natural, art and history museums. Although humans are not technically forbidden to live within the city walls, they are few and far between, and daily workers commute from settlements outside the walls, usually making the long climb up to Caroult daily.
- Temple Tigressa: A very old church in Caroult, the name is suspected to have come from the old myths of Hurte that inspired the representation as a tiger. It has never been a very active or popular church because of suspected human influence in its creation.
- Gaeon Mousene: An art museum in Caroult, named after the most beautiful planet, Gaeon. Sculptures, paintings, artwork of all kinds from famous Bastian artists.
- Mousene D’al Isacoss: A museum of natural beauty in Caroult, named after the flower Isacoss (red flowers used in dye, primarily found in Bastia). It contains various types of preserved flora and taxidermic fauna from all parts of Bastia.
- Palace di Livadi: The Palace di Livadi is a stone-carved palace tucked against the mountains in Caroult. It is rumored to have been the original seat of the Bastian government, although the capital has been in Florne since before the War of the Book. These days, it is where the King or Queen lives with their spouse and attendants after ceding the throne. It is a small, relatively humble palace, but with magnificent stonework and summer and winter gardens.
- Tiv: Tiv is known as a hub for artists of alternative mediums, where boundaries of art are pushed; it is currently taken over by an artist movement called parallaxism, in which artists make various quick, on-the-spot sketches or paintings of people or locations from a variety of angles, a considerable break from more traditional portraiture and landscape paintings. The city is more laid-back and off the wall than Florne or Sielan, with an emphasis on artistic freedom, and to say someone has lived in Tiv implies a thing or two regarding their morals. it is located on the Leirres, which is a popular subject for its artists.
- Edelagne: A farming region in the lowlands of Southeastern Bastia, famous for the Edelagne Farmer’s Revolt.
Galdori society in Bastia is unusually wealthy, due to the both their extremely fertile soil, and the fact that they industrialized slightly earlier than their neighbors. Bastia has a wealthy upper class of galdori, a culture with a focus on intellectualism and discovery, and a taste for arts and leisure. Internationally, they have a reputation for being passionate and artistic.
The people of Bastia share a common ancestry with the people of Anaxas, though they became separate kingdoms prior to the War of the Book, and have maintained a strong connection through the ease of travel between their two capitals via the Talarma River. The two countries share many physical and cultural traits to this day, though their accents differ considerably, with the Bastian accent much more flourished and pronounced.
Bastia is famous for its artistic contributions. It has a number of prominent traveling musical and confisalto tropes, including the famous Leirres orchestra of Florne. Art shows are held annually in Florne and Tiv, and Sielan’s annual fashion show is famous across the Six Kingdoms.
Manners are important in Bastian society, especially among the galdori but also among humans. Customs around address are similar to those in Anaxas. In Bastia, men and women who don't know each other very well refer to each other as sir or madam; casual acquaintances often refer to each other by Mr./Ms. and their last name. Marriage is never assumed; for women, "Ms" is used in place of "Mrs." or "Miss," unless the person's marital status is common knowledge in the social group.
Bowing is common among galdori when approaching a friend, colleague, or even a stranger, and observed by both men and women. The deeper the bow, the more respect it shows, but galdori never get on their hands and knees to bow. There are elaborate and specific customs regarding the placement of one’s hands during the bow, with some positions considered deeply offensive, and the fashions for the most gracious hand positions changes frequently. Among humans, men bow and women curtsy.
Bastian society is sharply unequal, with galdori reigning supreme over humans, wicks and passives. Attitudes among Bastians are generally are fairly similar to those in Anaxas; there is considerable tension between the races, prejudice on all sides, and power is tightly concentrated in the hands of the galdori. Like in Anaxas, humans and wicks require a writ of permission from the government to be able to read and write, and passives are gated in Anastou almost universally upon discovery.
Economics in Bastia
Bastia has always been a wealthy country, owing to its well-irrigated and fertile land and its central location. Bastia was a largely agricultural country for a long time, although it has long-since exported lumber to its neighbors for centuries, both by floating trees down the Talarma to Vienda and bringing them through the mountains to Hesse. Bastia’s mountains also have some minerals, and the country has historically had some mines, although not as many as its neighbor Hesse.
However, over the last several centuries, Bastia’s economic position relative to the other five kingdoms has increased considerably. This is because modern industrialization in Vita began in Bastia, with its origins roughly traceable to the mid-2400s. The first factories were designed in support of Bastia’s textile and lumber industries, and for a brief period in the 2500s, Bastia dominated the world textile trade.
Bastia then cemented its economic ascendancy by being the first country to discover how to refine artevium, and combined the gas with existing balloon designs to create the first aeroships (generally known today, across the Six Kingdoms, as airships). There are various rumors surrounding this scientific advancement, and at the time it was widely believed in the other Kingdoms that Bastians abused maintenance spells (or control spells outright) to make this discovery. In addition to the obvious advantage this provided in terms of trade, early airships were sold for obscene sums, and the knowledge of how to maintain them was slow to trickle to the other Kingdoms, meaning repairs were done in Bastia for a long time.
Even today, Bastia maintains a considerable portion of the world’s artevium, and the process of how it is refined is a jealously guarded secret. Airship designs, however, are increasingly done elsewhere, although most luxury airships and large passenger airships are still made in Bastia. Smaller, faster airships, however, have been developed in Mugroba, and are something of a specialty there.
However, over the last century, Bastia has been in a relative period of technological and economic stagnation. Their focus on industrialization has meant that their agricultural industry has not been as well maintained as it might have been, and the heavy taxes levied on agriculture and timber farming to support research and development, as well as the availability of factory jobs, have led many humans to shift out of farming. Bastia has, therefore, increasingly been dependent on imported food, leading to a sharply negative trade balance for the first time in several centuries, even as its galdori citizenry remain excessively wealthy.
Bastia is currently investing heavily in railroads, and Bastian investors (some backed by the government) were deeply involved in the effort that led to a train arriving at Brunnhold for the 2719 Gala of Physics. There are plans to lay down train lines in Bastia and Anaxas soon, and the Bastian government is counting on the profitability of this new form of transportation to help manage their current economic woes.
Politics in Bastia
Bastia is governed by a hereditary monarch. Bastia’s custom is that the monarch retires from the crown at a time of their choosing and moves from the Palace di Anthos in Florne to the Palace di Livadi in Caroult.
The Council of Anastou is based at the University of Anastou, governed by the Headmaster or Headmistress. They have almost no direct authority over the King and Queen, but considerable influence over Bastia’s unicameral legislature, called the Giardino di Bastia (the Garden of Bastia), which has 200 members at any given time. The division of powers in Bastia is such that the Monarch has considerable power to set temporary policy, but the laws of the country are written by the Giardino, and new permanent legislation can only be introduced in parliament, where it must pass with 50% plus one of the vote. The Monarch then has the ability to accept or reject the legislation, although a rejection can be overturned with a 70% vote in the Giardino. Therefore, as a check on the King or Queen, it generally behooves the Council of Anastou to ensure that Parliament is functioning at any given time.
The political parties of Bastia are governed by the Council of Anastou; permission from the university is required for any party to stand in an election, and the parties can be disbanded by the university at any time, which involves the forfeiture of all party assets to the university. At various times, Bastia has had as few as one political party or as many as sixteen. Currently, Bastia has two parties: the Rose and the Spruce. Each party must always have a governing body of ten members, although in practice several members are often nominal, and delegate their powers to others. Voting is done on the basis of party name only, and the governing body then selects from the party members standing for election to assign them to seats and committees in the Parliament. Legislators are formally called Gardeners, although people often disparagingly refer to them as Weeds.